The Minnesota Vikings left fantasy football owners scrambling on Friday afternoon when news of Dalvin Cook’s injury was updated. As NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport first reported, the Vikings have ruled out Cook for Week 3.
This means backup running back Latavius Murray will take over, making him a very interesting fantasy football streaming option against the Buffalo Bills. While Cook had a huge role entering the season while returning from a torn ACL, he tweaked his hamstring in Week 2, which led to Murray receiving a large role.
Latavius Murray’s Week 3 Fantasy Value
Murray rushed 11 times for 42 yards against the San Francisco 49ers last week and showed flashes of solid upside. But the Vikings had matchups with the Green Bay Packers ahead of that, meaning their backfield was bound to have a tough go of it regardless. This week, though, things get a whole lot easier as Murray finds himself in an exceptional matchup with the Bills.
Through two games, Buffalo has allowed 179 rushing yards and four touchdowns along with 15 receptions for 80 yards and two additional scores to opposing running backs. In short, Murray has the potential to be a huge spot starter for fantasy football owners, even if he hasn’t had the best start to the 2018 season.
The Bills haven’t been able to slow down running backs this year and Murray’s versatility makes him a great option. With Cook’s emergence, it’s easy to forget that the Vikings signed Murray to a three-year, $15 million deal ahead of the 2017 season.
Should You Start Latavius Murray?
The short answer is yes, but obviously, every fantasy player’s situation is different. If you’re a Dalvin Cook fantasy owner and have Murray as a handcuff for him, then it’s a beautiful spot and you should pat yourself on the back.
Realistically, I’d be open to starting Murray in any 12-plus team league which features two running back spots and/or a flex. Barring you currently sitting with two stud running backs already on your roster and a flex player you refuse to take out, Murray is a fantasy football starter this week.
The tough call may come in 10-team fantasy leagues. For the most part, rosters are loaded in 10-team leagues and you almost certainly have two strong running backs. I’d consider using Murray over a handful of solid running backs if you don’t have a flex spot (or potentially two).
Names like LeSean McCoy, Adrian Peterson, and Marshawn Lynch are a few of the players Murray should be far better than from a fantasy perspective this week.