By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
If you head over to the Club Fantasy Instagram page, you can stay up to speed on all the transactions as they occur, or as fast as my graphic designer can make some bomb ass pictures for you to like. Below you’ll see how I view all of the relevant NFL offseason transactions. I say relevant because, for the purposes of fantasy football, defensive signings don’t impact us as much as the offensive ones. I’ll cover the defensive signings when I do my team-by-team previews later in the summer.
I’ll identify the player, who they signed with or were traded to, and how I think it impacts their fantasy value going into 2017, positive or negative. Next up: Latavius Murray signs with Minnesota.
Transaction: Latavius Murray signs with the Minnesota Vikings
Fantasy Outlook: Murray has been the feature back in Oakland for the last two seasons. In 2015, Murray rushed for a team high 1,066 yards – his first and only 1,000 yard season to date. In 2016, Murray didn’t hit the 1,000 yard plateau, but made up for it by doubling his touchdowns from six in 2015 to 12. He also had to deal with two rookies taking some of his carries – Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington.
Despite pleas from his quarterback, Derek Carr, for the organization to bring him back, Murray found a new home in Minnesota. The downside, of course, is the quality of the offensive line in Minnesota. Bradford showed he could get rid of the ball quickly, but that didn’t exactly help the running game any. The Vikings are trying to take steps to improve the line play – they brought in former Lions OT Riley Reiff to man Bradford’s blindside – but there’s still plenty of work to do.
Changing teams is hardly ever a good thing for running backs when it comes to fantasy football. Lamar Miller is a prime example of this, despite his top 20 finish a year ago. Murray will share duties with Jerrick McKinnon, who has repeatedly shown he’s just not a great running back. One of Murray’s greatest assets is his pass blocking skills, which will certainly come in handy here. But fantasy owners don’t get points for pass blocking. They get points for yards and touchdowns.
I’d look for Murray to remain in the top 20 among running backs, but I hardly feel he scampers for 1,000 yards or even comes close to matching his 12 TDs from a year ago. I’ll say 750 yards and likely 4 TDs while providing another 300 yards and 2 TDs receiving, but unless the Vikings do some serious work on their offensive line, that’s the ceiling. And without a 1st round pick in this year’s draft, they better strike gold in the later rounds for any chance to provide Murray with room to run.