News & Analysis

Saints’ Latavius Murray could enter RB1 status in fantasy football if Alvin Kamara is traded

The NFL season is right around the corner and things are already getting crazy in fantasy land. Josina Anderson reports that the Saints are open to trading RB Alvin Kamara as the rising fourth-year back continues to rack up unexcused absences from training camp. Such a transaction would shake the fantasy football world.

Uncertainty in drafting Kamara will linger up until some sort of conclusion is reached, meaning he’ll be a risky pick in the top-half of first rounds. Prioritizing the likes of Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kenyan Drake, Derrick Henry and Joe Mixon ahead of Kamara and Dalvin Cook makes sense considering their respective situations. And yet, one certainty remains regardless of how the Kamara situation pans out: Draft Latavius Murray.

The Saints’ No. 2 RB has been in the RB3-4 range throughout the offseason. Murray carries a relatively modest weekly role when Kamara is healthy; he had double-digit touches in just four of 15 games with Kamara healthy last season.

The real fantasy value from Murray comes from his status as one of the league’s few proven three-down handcuffs. Kamara missed two games in 2019, and the Saints proceeded to feed Murray a true Christian McCaffrey-esque workload:

  • Week 7: 27-119-2 rushing, 6-31-0 receiving, 84% snaps, PPR RB2
  • Week 8: 21-102-1, 9-55-1, 82%, RB3

Once viewed as merely an early-down committee back, Murray caught 34 of 43 targets for 235 yards and a score during his first season with the Saints. True workhorse backs who spend more than four-fifths of their offense’s snaps on the field are rare, and that’s exactly what fantasy investors have in Murray.

Recent discussion on Fantasy Twitter surrounding the idea that drafting your RB’s handcuff limits your team’s upside makes sense; there’s no way both Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison will each have an amazing 2020 season, so Cook investors are better off targeting other handcuffs to raise their best-case scenario ceiling. Still, there are seemingly only four locked-in handcuffs across the entire league:

Target these players ahead of lower-upside one-dimensional talents in fantasy formats of all shapes and sizes, particularly Murray as long as the Saints’ backfield remains a state of chaos.

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