With fellow running back Alvin Kamara hobbled with injury over the past two weeks, Latavius Murray has taken the helm of the backfield duties for the New Orleans Saints and ran with it. Murray is coming off of a monster Week 7 performance in which he put up 32 fantasy points.
Murray will once again be in-line for an extended workload, as it has officially been announce that Kamara will not be active for the team’s Week 8 matchup vs. the Arizona Cardinals. Can Murray sustain RB1 fantasy numbers with Kamara out of the lineup? Let’s discuss.
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Latavius Murray’s Fantasy Outlook vs. Arizona Cardinals
Latavius Murray was brought in to New Orleans in what many believed to be a role similar to the one Mark Ingram had manned in years past. However, Murray saw less than five carries per game over his first five contests as a member of the Saints. Then, just when all seemed lost for Murray’s fantasy worth this season, A hobbled, yet active Kamara in Week 7 foresaw Murray produce arguably his best performance in a Saints uniform. In fact, the day would have been even better, had it not been for a Murray touchdown called back due to a holding penalty.
However, Week 8’s performance put Murray’s past showings this season to shame. New Orleans featured their big-bodied running back with Kamara out of the lineup. All the former UCF Knight did was rack up 150 total yards and two touchdowns on his way to the second-most prolific fantasy output by a player at his position for the week.
With those two rushing touchdowns, Murray currently has 35 rushing touchdowns since 2015, placing him in some very special company.
If that’s not enough to get Murray’s fantasy owners’ juices flowing, their running back will also be welcoming quarterback Drew Brees back under center this week. Brees, who hasn’t played since Week 2, will keep the Arizona safeties honest, in return giving more running lanes for Murray to run through.
Speaking of Arizona, the Cardinals have fared pretty well against running backs this season overall, actually ranking as the ninth-best fantasy unit against the position in 2019. However, those numbers are greatly skewed due to early-season success. Over the past five weeks, they’ve surrendered 19 points per game to opposing starting running backs as well as five touchdowns to the position.
Should You Start or Sit Latavius Murray in Week 8?
With Kamara out of the Saints lineup, Murray becomes a locked-in fantasy starter on Sunday. Murray will once again dominate the backfield touches for New Orleans, as is evident by him playing 83% of the team’s offensive snaps last week. Zach Zenner, the Saints backup from a week ago, was recently cut, leaving Dwayne Washington and his meager one snap from Week 7 as the lone back capable of vulturing touches away from Murray, a highly-unlikely scenario.
Murray is a homerun RB2 vs. the Cardinals and can work his way all the way up to a low-end RB1 by game’s end.