Sunday’s tilt vs. the Detroit Lions is a day of many firsts for the Arizona Cardinals. It will be the first time we truly see Kliff Kingsbury run and gun, college-like offense unleashed in a real NFL game. Sunday will also be the first time that we see former Heisman Trophy Winner Kyler Murray take meaningful snaps in an NFL game.
Excitement is through the roof in Phoenix, and rightfully so, as fans will be clamoring to get their first true glimpse at what they hope is the start to a bright future. Yet, while Kyler Murray may end up becoming the franchise signal-caller that the Cardinals have been so desperately in search of, the question of whether he warrants a place in your week one lineup is still up for debate.
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Kyler Murray Fantasy Outlook vs. Detroit Lions
We all know fantasy football is where mobile quarterbacks reign supreme. It’s why players such as Tim Tebow were a viable starting option for your fantasy team, yet unreliable options for their NFL team. It’s why a quarterback like Lamar Jackson, who has shown very little as a passer in the NFL is a fringe QB1 in fantasy circles this season.
Kyler Murray, just in his short time at Oklahoma has shown to be a better passer of the football than either of the two quarterbacks listed above. Murray is the true definition of a duel threat. However, he has a few things working against him.
The talent level around Murray is as close to abysmal as it gets In the NFL. While David Johnson has had moments in the NFL, he’s coming off a season where he averaged 3.6 ypc. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is still hanging around in Arizona, and stills serves as a serviceable receiving option, however, should likely not be a WR1 for an NFL team at this point in his career. To relieve some of the stress placed on Fitzgerald’s shoulders the Cardinals will look to developing talent Christian Kirk, unproven players such as KeeSean Johnson and Damiere Byrd, and over the hill wideout Michael Crabtree.
Next on the docket is the matchup. Kyler Murray could not have been granted a worse matchup for his first career start even if he tried. The Detroit Lions front seven is arguably the nastiest in all of the NFL. Not the best news to hear when your offensive line is coming off a season where they surrendered the 5th most sacks in all of the NFL. If that’s not bad enough, it doesn’t seem as if the Cards’ offensive line has improved at all this season. In Arizona’s preseason matchup with Oakland this season, the starters played four offensive possessions, Murray totaled 12 passing yards and was sacked twice, one of which registered as a safety. This again is against the Oakland Raiders who totaled a grand total of 13 sacks as a team a year ago, which is as much or less than the number of sacks that 13 players had on their own in 2018.
Trey Flowers was signed to a huge contract this offseason to man the edge in Detroit. Flowers is joined by fellow linemen Da’Shawn Hand, Snacks Harrison, and A’Shawn Robinson. Not to mention former Packer Mike Daniels, who will serve as a backup for the Lions. When Mike Daniels is the 4th or 5th best d-lineman in the opposition’s disposal, you’re likely in for a rough day.
Should You Start or Sit Kyler Murray in Week 1?
Unless you’re in a two-quarterback league, Kyler Murray is a hard sit for me in week one. Murray will certainly have his moments in the NFL, and likely have some in Sunday’s contest. However, those moments vs. Detroit’s talented defense will likely be too few and far apart to warrant starting in most leagues.
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