Patrick Daugherty

The Morning After

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DeMarco's Dream Season

Monday, October 13, 2014


Becoming just the second team to beat the Seahawks in Seattle in three years? That’s how you improve to the league’s most surprising 5-1 record. How are the Cowboys, a team most thought would be closer to laughingstock than contender, doing it? It helps no longer being historically bad on defense. But the real reason is the team’s change at quarterback — Tony Romo has been benched for DeMarco Murray.


That is not a knock on Romo’s play. Aside from a disastrous first half in Week 1, Romo has been playing his role to perfection. But that role is no longer leading man. Now it’s Murray being called upon to carry the team on his back, and he’s responded in a way Romo hadn’t in years. Murray entered Sunday’s game in the league’s most-imposing stadium averaging 5.2 yards per carry — exactly twice as much as the Seahawks had been surrendering. He exited it the first back since Jim Brown to reel off six straight 100-yard rushing performances to begin a season.


Murray’s 785 yards on the ground are 243 more than anyone else in football. He’s the owner of a 4.93 YPC despite literally being on pace to set the single-season record for carries with 424. Five players have had 400-carry seasons. Larry Johnson in 2006, Jamal Anderson in 1998, James Wilder in 1984, Eric Dickerson in 1986 and Eddie George in 2000. None of them posted a YPC better than 4.5. As a collective, they averaged 4.17 yards on their 2,040 totes.


Murray isn’t just in rarefied workload air, but rarefied effectiveness air. The million dollar question is if a player with Murray’s injury history and upright running style can stay healthy averaging 26.5 carries per game. It would seem unlikely. But are the Cowboys, a team so desperate to not only be relevant, but win championships, seriously going to take the foot off the gas with their ticket to the promised land? It’s not going to happen. Murray probably won’t break Larry Johnson’s single-season record of 416 carries, and he’s probably not going to rush for over 2,000 yards despite currently being on pace for 2,093. But he is going to keep carrying the load, keeping it off Romo’s back and on a new pair of shoulders in Big D.


Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $500,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 7's games. It's only $10 to join and first prize is $40,000. Starts Sunday, October 19th at 1pm ET. Here's the link.


Five Things That Went According To Plan In Week 6


Andre Holmes’ production with a bigger workload. Playing 62-of-67 snaps in Week 4, Holmes caught five passes for 74 yards and a touchdown. He upped the ante against the Chargers on Sunday, exploding for 4/121/2. Holmes’ scores went for 77 and six yards, and unlike most of his past production, did not come in garbage time. A 6-foot-4, 210-pound giant with 4.50 speed, Holmes has always had the measurables to succeed, and usually done so when given the opportunity. So why has it taken this long for the Raiders to give him his close up? No one knows, but it’s finally here, and Holmes is making the most of it. He needs to be 100 percent owned in 12-team leagues.


Jerick McKinnon’s talent winning out over Matt Asiata’s competence. It was a bloodless coup. Amidst the Vikings getting slaughtered at home by a team without its best player, McKinnon, without warning, out-touched Asiata 17-3. He out-gained him 82-13. Asiata has been a constant source of humor in these parts, but it’s impossible to deny that he’s done everything the Vikings could have hoped for and more. But at a certain point, reality sets in. Asiata is a 27-year-old former undrafted free agent who’s averaged 3.61 yards per carry for his career. McKinnon is a freak athlete the Vikings invested a third-round pick in. With Adrian Peterson looking done in Minnesota, the rebuilding Vikes need to find out what they have in their raw rookie back. There’s no time like the present for a team going nowhere fast in the NFC North.


Cam Newton’s fantasy production taking off once he was allowed to start running again. Newton had a solid game as a passer Sunday — 29-of-46 for 284 yards, two touchdowns and a pick — but it was his 17 carries for 107 yards and a third score that lifted him back to the fantasy heights we’re used to seeing, and kept the Panthers in a game they tied 37-37. Newton’s rush attempts and yards were both more than his first four games combined. One game isn’t enough to declare things smooth sailing for Newton on the ground, but it definitely appears that the Panthers have deemed him ready to be unleashed.


The rejuvenation of the Cardinals’ offense with Carson Palmer back under center. The Birds didn’t exactly blow the lid off the building, but Palmer’s 250 yards passing were Arizona’s most since his last start in Week 1, while he revived both Michael Floyd (4/47/1) and Larry Fitzgerald (6/98/1). Appearing to have avoided setbacks, Palmer and the Cards can now hit the gas as they drive into an unusually soft portion of the schedule for an NFC West team. Palmer could get on a roll against Oakland in Week 7.


Eddie Lacy’s apparent committee with James Starks. Lacy out-touched Starks 14-10, but Starks out-gained him 42-40 as the duo rotated series and played a near even amount of snaps (39 for Lacy, 38 for Starks). More than likely, Lacy could have quashed the committee had he run better against the Dolphins’ stout run defense, but he didn’t, and is now averaging just 3.82 yards per carry. Lacy is probably still going to get the Packers’ benefit of the doubt, but with touchdowns in just 2-of-6 games and only one 15-carry performance, it’s pretty clear Lacy isn’t going to just under-perform his draft position, but severely under-perform it.       


Don't forget, for the latest on everything NFL, check out Rotoworld's Player News, or follow @Rotoworld_FB or @RotoPat on Twitter.      



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Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Patrick Daugherty



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