Popular Features

  • 2020 Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings
    March 9, 2020
    2020 Post-Combine Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings

    2020 Post-Combine Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings After getting through the process of ranking the incoming rookies, it is time to start more seriously thinking about how the incoming players change the construction of dynasty fantasy football rankings. The QB carousel is not quite done spinning yet and won’t until Tom Brady, Philip Rivers and Jameis…

  • 2020 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Justin Jefferson, LSU
    March 16, 2020
    The Top Machine Learning WR Prospect Will Surprise You

    What Can Machine Learning Tell Us About WR Prospects? One of my favorite parts of draft season is trying to model the incoming prospects. This year, I wanted to try something new, so I dove into the world of machine learning models. Using machine learning to detail the value of a WR prospect is very…

  • NFL RB Prospect Machine Learning
    March 23, 2020
    The 2020 Machine Learning NFL RB Prospect Model

    What Can Machine Learning Tell Us About NFL RB Prospects? Last week, I released some machine learning model results that attempted to predict WR success. This week, I wanted to do the same for NFL RB Prospects. Evaluating an RB prospect before the NFL draft requires careful examination as draft capital is a huge part…

  • Three Quarterbacks To Target In ALL Superflex Fantasy Football Formats
    March 13, 2020
    Three Quarterbacks To Target In ALL Superflex Fantasy Football Formats

    Three Quarterbacks To Target In ALL Superflex Fantasy Football Formats The lifeblood of Superflex fantasy football leagues are cheap(er) secondary quarterbacks that are essentially an afterthought in “standard” leagues. We have talked often on the SportsGrid Fantasy Football podcast and in articles here on RX about how fun we believe Superflex fantasy football dynasty leagues…

  • 2020 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Michael Pittman Jr.
    March 11, 2020
    2020 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Michael Pittman Jr.

    2020 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Michael Pittman Jr. In a star-studded wide receiver class, Michael Pittman Jr. is not even amongst the 10 most recognizable names despite attending the University Of Southern California. Generally, USC wide receivers are held in high regard when they come out of school. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquise Lee, Nelson Agholor, and…

  • Is Will Fuller Still A Fantasy Football Buy At Increased Cost?
    April 1, 2020
    Is Will Fuller Still A Fantasy Football Buy At Increased Cost?

    Is Will Fuller Still A Fantasy Football Buy At Increased Cost? With the news that DeAndre Hopkins was traded to the Arizona Cardinals, Will Fuller’s dynasty fantasy football value got a nice little boost. The Texans also do not have a first-round pick and actually do not select all the way until the 57th pick.…

  • 2019 NFL Draft Prospect Profiles: David Montgomery, Iowa State
    April 3, 2020
    David Montgomery: Mediocre Talent, Solid Seasonal Target

    David Montgomery: Mediocre Talent, Solid Seasonal Target On Feb. 25, Bears General Manager (GM) Ryan Pace told reporters that the team believes David Montgomery (CHI) can be the team’s featured back and carry a heavier load, “if the team opts to run more in 2020.” Bears GM Ryan Pace believes David Montgomery can be the…

  • Fantasy Football Impact: Todd Gurley Signs With Atlanta Falcons
    March 20, 2020
    Fantasy Football Impact: Todd Gurley Signs With Atlanta Falcons

    Fantasy Football Impact: Todd Gurley Signs With Atlanta Falcons With the news that Todd Gurley was released from the Los Angeles Rams for salary cap (and let us be honest, performance) reasons, Twitter immediately lit up with the speculation of where Gurley might go. Even if Gurley was at his worst last season, averaging 3.8…

  • Kenyan Drake Fantasy Football
    March 26, 2020
    Kenyan Drake, ADP And Markets In Motion

    Kenyan Drake, ADP And Markets In Motion The trade of David Johnson (HOU) to the Texans left Kenyan Drake (HOU), whom the team placed a transition tag on, as the clear lead man in the Cardinals backfield. In eight game with the Cardinals last year, Drake averaged 80.4 yards rushing yards per game on 5.2…

  • Fantasy Football Impact: Stefon Diggs Traded To Buffalo Bills
    March 17, 2020
    Fantasy Football Impact: Stefon Diggs Traded To Buffalo Bills

    Fantasy Football Impact: Stefon Diggs Traded To Buffalo Bills The fireworks have been fast and furious as the NFL has begun its’ free agency/legal tampering period. The Minnesota Vikings traded wide receiver Stefon Diggs and a 2021 seventh-round pick to the Buffalo Bills for the 22nd pick in this year’s draft, along with a fifth- and…

Don’t Draft Lamar Jackson: Draft The NEXT Lamar Jackson

Don’t Draft Lamar Jackson: Draft The NEXT Lamar Jackson
Davis Mattek February 20, 2020 3:04PM EDT

Don’t Draft Lamar Jackson: Draft The NEXT Lamar Jackson

Owning Lamar Jackson in 2019 was a great experience; he was the main player we told you last year to draft to win your league! Owning Patrick Mahomes in 2018 was an equally joyous experience. Finding breakout quarterback seasons in the later round of your redraft fantasy football leagues is an almost unparalleled feeling in fantasy sports. Some are tempted to keep those good times rolling and simply draft that amazing quarterback again the next year, which, well, is just a horrible idea. QB regression in terms of TD ratio, YPA and other factors are some of the easiest regression projections in the world.

Lamar Jackson had a touchdown rate of 9.6% last season, while the league average was closer to 5%. His 36 touchdown passes are more likely to be something closer to 25 or 26 in 2020. His rushing rates will probably remain the same and he is going to be an awesome fantasy asset but you’ll also have to pay through the nose for him. As of February 20th (very early), Lamar has an ADP of 22nd overall. It is simply not mathematically prudent to take quarterbacks that early. You know it, I know it and every good fantasy football player knows it.

The solution to this problem? Draft the next fantasy football version of Lamar Jackson.

Enter: Kyler Murray

Despite negative reviews of the Arizona Cardinals offense last year, Kyler was a lot better than you remember. He scored the eighth-most fantasy points at the quarterback position but only recorded 93 rushing attempts. Of those 93 rushing attempts, 29 of them were graded as “scrambles” by Pro Football Focus which means that 25% of his rushing attempts weren’t even really rushes in the traditional sense. Compare that to Lamar who scrambled 41 times on 176 attempts. Kyler actually ran fewer times as a rookie NFL quarterback in 16 games than he did in his final, Heisman-winning season at Oklahoma.

While Lamar started only seven games a rookie, the per-game numbers make them in the same bucket as prospects. Lamar averaged 7.1 adjusted yards per attempt; Kyler averaged 6.9. Lamar had a Passer Rating Index of 92; Kyler had a Passer Rating Index of 94. Holistically, you would reasonably say that Lamar was a better runner and Kyler was a better passer.

These are Kyler and Lamar’s rookie numbers, in totality:

Don't Draft Lamar Jackson: Draft The NEXT Lamar Jackson 1

 

 

 

 

The point of comparing the two isn’t to say “Kyler and Lamar are the exact same quarterback”. Both the #EyeTest and the numbers would suggest that Kyler is more accurate and better at straight-up throwing the football. The two also play in very different passing offenses. Comparing the 2018 Ravens passing offense to the Cardinals 2019 is very apple to oranges but the comparison puts in a helpful spot. This demonstrates that 1) Kyler was a better passer than you thought and so was Lamar on a per attempt basis and 2) that while Kyler Murray wasn’t a “running quarterback”, he was still very good at running when did run.

Another useful tidbit on Kyler is that his rushing attempts picked up in competitive games and later on in the season. In the first month of the season, Kyler topped four rushing attempts only once. Then in wins against the Bengals, Falcons and Giants, he rushed for 10 or more times in each game. This should be a pretty logical sequence. There isn’t much reason for the coaching staff, or Kyler himself, to put him at risk of injury in games where the outcome is determined already (or not important). NFL coaches probably don’t think that way on a 1-to-1 level but there was a clear trend in Kyler’s rookie season of him rushing more in games that the Cardinals won or were competitive in (the 49ers games for example).

So after one year of NFL football, this is what we know for sure about Kyler Murray: he performed above average for his age with subpar wide receivers and pass blocking. He ran for 1,000 yards in college and over 500 yards as a pro, becoming the first QB to ever pass for 3,500 or more yards and rush for 500 or more yards. The history of first-round quarterbacks who immediately performed well is full of mostly positive fantasy football indicators. Most importantly, we know that quarterbacks who run acquire a disproportinate amount of fantasy points relevant to their non-rushing peers.

We can establish a few things about Kyler and his early 82nd overall ADP: it doesn’t reflect the ceiling of what he can become if the Cardinals loosen the reigns and let him run in the neighborhood of what we just saw Lamar Jackson do. Is it nearly as much of a layup as what Lamar was last year? Of course not. We don’t have as much trust in Kliff Kingsbury and as much organizational buy-in and the cost isn’t free the way that Lamar was to begin the offseason. Markets are smarter than ever and more importantly, even the most casual of fantasy football players knows that running quarterbacks are the best way to gain advantages at the position.

Trade for Kyler in dynasty fantasy football. Bet on him to win the NFL MVP at 44/1 or better (as I just did this morning, which prompted the writing of this article). I really kicked myself last season for not being invested in Lamar in every way possible. I don’t own him in EVERY dynasty league. I did not bet ENOUGH on his player props at various sportsbooks. If Kyler’s 2020 season goes along a normal development curb, in which the Cardinals surround him with better players, he marginally improves as a passer and the team calls more designed running plays, this is going to be the “cheapest”  you will be able to acquire various Kyler Murray shares (redraft, dynasty, sports betting) for the rest of his career. One of our primary goals of the 2020 football season is to be LONG Kyler Murray.

Popular Features

  • 2020 Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings
    March 9, 2020
    2020 Post-Combine Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings

    2020 Post-Combine Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings After getting through the process of ranking the incoming rookies, it is time to start more seriously thinking about how the incoming players change the construction of dynasty fantasy football rankings. The QB carousel is not quite done spinning yet and won’t until Tom Brady, Philip Rivers and Jameis…

  • 2020 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Justin Jefferson, LSU
    March 16, 2020
    The Top Machine Learning WR Prospect Will Surprise You

    What Can Machine Learning Tell Us About WR Prospects? One of my favorite parts of draft season is trying to model the incoming prospects. This year, I wanted to try something new, so I dove into the world of machine learning models. Using machine learning to detail the value of a WR prospect is very…

  • NFL RB Prospect Machine Learning
    March 23, 2020
    The 2020 Machine Learning NFL RB Prospect Model

    What Can Machine Learning Tell Us About NFL RB Prospects? Last week, I released some machine learning model results that attempted to predict WR success. This week, I wanted to do the same for NFL RB Prospects. Evaluating an RB prospect before the NFL draft requires careful examination as draft capital is a huge part…

  • Three Quarterbacks To Target In ALL Superflex Fantasy Football Formats
    March 13, 2020
    Three Quarterbacks To Target In ALL Superflex Fantasy Football Formats

    Three Quarterbacks To Target In ALL Superflex Fantasy Football Formats The lifeblood of Superflex fantasy football leagues are cheap(er) secondary quarterbacks that are essentially an afterthought in “standard” leagues. We have talked often on the SportsGrid Fantasy Football podcast and in articles here on RX about how fun we believe Superflex fantasy football dynasty leagues…

  • 2020 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Michael Pittman Jr.
    March 11, 2020
    2020 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Michael Pittman Jr.

    2020 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Michael Pittman Jr. In a star-studded wide receiver class, Michael Pittman Jr. is not even amongst the 10 most recognizable names despite attending the University Of Southern California. Generally, USC wide receivers are held in high regard when they come out of school. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquise Lee, Nelson Agholor, and…

  • Is Will Fuller Still A Fantasy Football Buy At Increased Cost?
    April 1, 2020
    Is Will Fuller Still A Fantasy Football Buy At Increased Cost?

    Is Will Fuller Still A Fantasy Football Buy At Increased Cost? With the news that DeAndre Hopkins was traded to the Arizona Cardinals, Will Fuller’s dynasty fantasy football value got a nice little boost. The Texans also do not have a first-round pick and actually do not select all the way until the 57th pick.…

  • 2019 NFL Draft Prospect Profiles: David Montgomery, Iowa State
    April 3, 2020
    David Montgomery: Mediocre Talent, Solid Seasonal Target

    David Montgomery: Mediocre Talent, Solid Seasonal Target On Feb. 25, Bears General Manager (GM) Ryan Pace told reporters that the team believes David Montgomery (CHI) can be the team’s featured back and carry a heavier load, “if the team opts to run more in 2020.” Bears GM Ryan Pace believes David Montgomery can be the…

  • Fantasy Football Impact: Todd Gurley Signs With Atlanta Falcons
    March 20, 2020
    Fantasy Football Impact: Todd Gurley Signs With Atlanta Falcons

    Fantasy Football Impact: Todd Gurley Signs With Atlanta Falcons With the news that Todd Gurley was released from the Los Angeles Rams for salary cap (and let us be honest, performance) reasons, Twitter immediately lit up with the speculation of where Gurley might go. Even if Gurley was at his worst last season, averaging 3.8…

  • Kenyan Drake Fantasy Football
    March 26, 2020
    Kenyan Drake, ADP And Markets In Motion

    Kenyan Drake, ADP And Markets In Motion The trade of David Johnson (HOU) to the Texans left Kenyan Drake (HOU), whom the team placed a transition tag on, as the clear lead man in the Cardinals backfield. In eight game with the Cardinals last year, Drake averaged 80.4 yards rushing yards per game on 5.2…

  • Fantasy Football Impact: Stefon Diggs Traded To Buffalo Bills
    March 17, 2020
    Fantasy Football Impact: Stefon Diggs Traded To Buffalo Bills

    Fantasy Football Impact: Stefon Diggs Traded To Buffalo Bills The fireworks have been fast and furious as the NFL has begun its’ free agency/legal tampering period. The Minnesota Vikings traded wide receiver Stefon Diggs and a 2021 seventh-round pick to the Buffalo Bills for the 22nd pick in this year’s draft, along with a fifth- and…