Is it finally Latavius Murray week for fantasy football owners? Minnesota Vikings fans are left hoping the 28-year-old can hold down the fort in a crucial Week 5 matchup after some bad news came Saturday night. As NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport revealed, starter Dalvin Cook is not expected to play against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Cook has been incredibly underwhelming in his second season with the Vikings after his first year ended abruptly due to a torn ACL. Through the three games he’s played, the former Florida State star has totaled just 98 yards on 36 carries and is yet to find the end zone. He does have 107 receiving yards which has saved his fantasy value to some extent.
With Cook now out, it’ll be Murray’s job to navigate the tough waters of the Eagles defense, and fantasy football owners have a tough call to make on starting him.
Latavius Murray’s Week 5 Fantasy Outlook
Cook previously missed the Vikings’ Week 3 game against the Buffalo Bills and Murray’s play was disappointing. While he totaled just two carries for one yard and added five catches for 30 yards, the game flow didn’t work in his favor at all. The issue was that Minnesota fell behind immediately and spent the afternoon playing catch-up.
In the 27-6 loss to the Bills, quarterback Kirk Cousins threw 55 passes, and it’s hard to envision that being the case against the Eagles this week. There is good news for Murray fantasy owners who are considering using him, which is that even in the lopsided loss, he saw the bulk of the offensive snaps (58 percent), per Football Outsiders.
Minnesota’s No. 2 running back can be incredibly hit-or-miss, and a matchup with Philadelphia isn’t exactly enticing. The Eagles have allowed just 160 rushing yards and one touchdown on 60 attempts to running backs this season. On the (semi) bright side for fantasy owners forced to use Murray, Philly has also given up 26 receptions on the season to the position.
Should You Start or Sit Murray?
I’m not even remotely close to loving the idea of being forced to start Murray in Week 5, but in many cases, fantasy owners of Cook are likely left with very little to choose from. Based on the fact that the Eagles at least allow receptions to running backs, I’m fine using him as a RB2/flex play in 14-team leagues if you have no other options.
Aside from that, I’m having a tough time using him in 12-team leagues. If you have Murray as a handcuff for Cook and no other options worth considering, then you aren’t left with much of a choice. At the very least, Murray will get the bulk of the work and if it’s a point-per-reception league, that’ll go a long way towards helping him cover a spot in your lineup.
Even still, it’s tough to be confident rolling out the Vikings’ backup this week.