In this weekly column, I typically explore some young players who haven’t made much of a consistent impact to date on their fantasy football teams. Some players may be available on your waiver wire, some may be available via a cheap or moderate trade. Acquiring or not acquiring one of these players could decide how well your dynasty or keeper team does for the next few years. This week I take a look at two young running backs, Kansas City’s Knile Davis and Oakland’s Latavius Murray.
RB-Knile Davis,KC- This second year running back overcame several knee surgeries from his time in college to become one of the most important handcuffs for fantasy owners. When Jamaal Charles is fully healthy, Davis plays mostly as a kickoff return specialist and a change of pace back. He has quick feet, but dances a bit too much. The young runner does not have the elusiveness that Charles possesses and usually has to lower his shoulders, using his low center of gravity, then power thru tackles instead of trying to avoid them.
His pass blocking is a bit suspect and got yanked out of the game when he missed a block causing Alex Smith to hurry a throw. Davis has decent hands and looks good running an occasional wheel route by getting behind the defense. He sees the field well and has decent wiggle getting away from defenders when he is returning kicks. Considering the amount of touches Charles gets every season, Davis is a solid RB4 who might put up a top ten week once or twice a season when Charles is out of the lineup. He has solid value in leagues that reward return yardage. I’m not convinced that Davis will be a featured 25+ touch back long-term.
RB-Latavius Murray, DAL- It’s amazing how the second year back flashed against the Chiefs. His stat line is quite impressive with four carries for 112 yards and two touchdowns. He is an upright runner with good balance and lean. Murray lowers his shoulders, smashes thru the line of scrimmage, and always falls forward. The young back is more quick, than fast with the tendency to bounce the play outside. This worked for him on his first touchdown run of the night. His most memorable run (the 90 yard scoring play) was an inside counter play where the offensive line caught an inside backer out of position. Murray uses his fluid hips, good vision, and makes three defenders miss within five yards of the line to race down the field for the score.
The Oakland coaches promised that Murray would be more involved in this game plan and looked great playing before Maurice Jones-Drew, but after Darren McFadden. On his fourth carry of the night, the big back took a helmet to helmet hit, appeared to get knocked out, falling forward in the rain, and fumbled the ball. The Raiders coaching staff seem to be souring on MJD and DMac as Marcel Reese got the majority of the carries after Murray left the field. Reese is the closest to Murray in terms of size and power. The price of Murray just went up exponentially, but keep in mind that he is still a very injury prone back. I would love to have him as a RB4-5, but after that effort on Thursday Night Football you would be hard pressed to get him for less than a RB3 price. I might sell high if I owned him anywhere.
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