NFL Season Offering Up Scary Good And Scary Bad Fantasy Options
DeMarco Murray was dead to many fantasy football owners entering drafts this summer.
That’s understandable given how poorly he performed last season for a first-round pick, totaling just over 1,000 total yards and scoring only seven touchdowns in a miscast role with the Eagles. It was an especially disappointing season because Murray was just a season removed from winning the rushing title with the Cowboys and amassing 2,261 yards and 13 TDs.
But like a zombie emerging from the grave and coming back to life possessed, Murray is back to being a fantasy force. Murray is currently second among running backs in fantasy scoring with 825 total yards and seven touchdowns in seven games for the Titans. And there’s no reason to think he’s going to slow down with the Jaguars, Chargers, Packers, Colts and Bears next up on his schedule.
In this Halloween edition of Fantasy Football Forum, we’ll discuss players who have been scary good and frighteningly bad and look into the sorcerer’s crystal ball to see what their futures hold.
¦ David Johnson of the Cardinals is carving through defenses like Leatherface of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” He’s the fifth highest-scoring player in fantasy football and the only non-quarterback among the top 13 scorers. The running back has double-digit fantasy points in all seven games he’s played this season with a low of 12 and a high of 33. He’s matchup-proof too, having sliced up Seattle, Buffalo and every other team he’s faced.
¦ Jay Ajayi of the Dolphins crept up on us like Freddy Krueger. Many fantasy owners dropped him early in the season, but he has a chance to be this season’s top waiver wire pickup. Arian Foster’s injury paved the way for Ajayi to be the lead back, and it took him a while to get going, but, boy, is he going now. Ajayi has 418 yards rushing and three touchdowns in the last two games. And Foster announced his retirement Monday, so Ajayi has a clear path to fantasy greatness for the rest of the season.
¦ Melvin Gordon of the Chargers is the Michael Myers of the NFL. Myers was shot dead in the first “Halloween” movie, only to come back again to terrorize in the sequel. Gordon had a pretty poor rookie season, scoring zero touchdowns and rushing for 641 yards. But he’s on a tear this season. Gordon has already scored 10 touchdowns in seven games. While he’s not gaining massive yards (461 yards rushing so far), he’ll continue to get the lion’s share of the Chargers’ goal-line carries since teammate Danny Woodhead is out for the season with an ACL year. As great as Gordon has been, it’s very unlikely he’ll keep up his touchdown pace, but he’s already having a better fantasy season than last year. Expect Gordon to slow down a bit as the touchdowns dry up, but he should remain a viable starter.
¦ Devonta Freeman is like a killer clown, enticing us with his tricks before doing us in. Last year’s top-scoring fantasy running back is currently 10th in points at his position. That’s not terrible unless you consider he’s getting outscored by his own backup, Tevin Coleman. Coleman did injure his hamstring Sunday and looks to be out this week against the Packers. Freeman needs to have the backfield to himself to regain last year’s value.
¦ Tavon Austin of the Rams is the Jekyl and Hyde of fantasy football. Austin has scored between 12 and 20 points three times. But he’s scored five or fewer points in three other games. If you want his highs, you have to put up with his extreme lows. He might be the most frustrating player out there.
¦ Todd Gurley has been wrapped up like a mummy this season. It’s not an indictment on him but in his pathetic offense. The Rams’ running back has yet to top 85 yards rushing in a game and has just three touchdowns. A first-round pick in most fantasy drafts, Gurley is just 16th among running backs in scoring this season. With a horrible quarterback in Case Keenum and a terrible offensive scheme, Gurley is going to struggle to live up to his potential in Los Angeles.
KEVIN AMERMAN writes a weekly column about fantasy football for Times-Shamrock Newspapers. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @kevinamerman for fantasy football news and updates.