The Buffalo Bills were dealt not one, but two tough blows in Week 15 and fantasy football players may have a chance to pick up some help because of it. With starting running back LeSean McCoy dealing with a hamstring injury, his status was determined Sunday morning. Unfortunately, backup Chris Ivory is also battling his own ailment currently.
As NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport revealed, both McCoy and Ivory are expected to miss Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions.
In turn, this may prove to be a huge help to those fantasy football players who were impacted by injuries to Melvin Gordon, James Conner, McCoy or any others. While there’s always risk to using a third-string running back, it’s a big opportunity for Marcus Murphy in Week 15.
Murphy should wind up doing the bulk of the heavy lifting due to injuries, and we’re going to take a look at his outlook for this game. More specifically, whether he’s worth starting if you’re in need of an option.
Marcus Murphy’s Week 15 Fantasy Outlook
The 27-year-old running back has just 49 carries in his career, but he’s seen the most work in any single season this year with the Bills. Through 10 games he’s totaled 41 carries for 215 yards while catching 11 passes for 26 yards. It’s an incredibly small sample size but he has flashed upside, rushing 14 times for 69 yards against the New York Jets in mid-November.
There’s no question Murphy could land roughly around that 14-carry mark and also receive some passing work in this game. He also draws a solid matchup against a Lions team who’s struggled against opposing running backs. On the season, they’ve allowed 1,406 rushing yards, 551 receiving yards and 13 combined touchdowns to the position.
Murphy’s outlook for this game is solid assuming both McCoy and Ivory are unable to go. For good measure, he’s also coming off a game in which he played 53 percent of the team’s offensive snaps (per Football Outsiders). Pairing the workload with the expected touches makes him an intriguing fantasy streamer.
Should You Start or Sit Marcus Murphy?
This is a tough call, but if you’re a fantasy player who’s attempting to find a replacement for a top running back or even a solid flex option in larger leagues, you could do worse. The Bills offense is incredibly hit-or-miss and it also may hurt Murphy that Josh Allen is capable of running quite a bit as well. On the positive side, Murphy has shown the ability to catch passes (five in one game, three in another), but just hasn’t done much with them.
Regardless, I’d be willing to start Murphy in 14-team leagues or larger where you’re in need of a running back. It’d be wise to temper expectations, but he’s a boom-or-bust flex play in a good matchup. Instead of taking a complete shot on an unknown, Murphy will at least provide a solid amount of work this week.