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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fantasy football: DeMarco Murray, Tebow and more Week 7 reactions

According to's ownership percentages, DeMarco Murray is available in more than 64 percent of the fantasy leagues run by the Worldwide Leader.

That number seems way too high, but the stat I'm more curious about is the percentage of owners who left Murray on their bench in Week 7 against the Rams, owners of the league's worst run defense.

Maybe I'm one of the few knuckleheads who did -- in my defense, I started Chris Johnson, Matt Forte and Darren McFadden (my top three draft picks). I watched in horror as McFadden was injured early, Johnson had another unproductive game and Murray ran for a Cowboys franchise-record 253 yards on 25 carries -- in a game he didn't even start.

Murray, Dallas' third-round pick in 2011, missed most of training camp because of a hamstring injury and was getting his chance only because of a high ankle sprain suffered by Felix Jones.

We should also keep in mind that the Rams have been AWFUL against the run (183.8 yards allowed per game and 5.5 yards allowed per carry).

Will Murray deserve to be a fantasy starter the rest of the way? We have no way of knowing.

What we do know is if the Cowboys decide to make him their featured back over Jones once the latter is healthy, it will be an easy decision. Take a look at Dallas' schedule in Weeks 8 through 13: at Philadelphia (No. 23 vs. the run), vs. Seattle (No. 10), vs. Buffalo (No. 30), at Washington (No. 17), vs. Miami (No. 20) and at Arizona (No. 13).

We already are certain Murray is much more valuable than Tashard Choice, who received only two carries as Dallas' starter Sunday. The guess here is he will be a better play than Jones the rest of the way, too.

The problem: If the Cowboys don't agree and go to the dreaded backfield-by-committee plan when Jones returns, Murray will be a No. 3 fantasy back at best.

Take your time getting healthy, Felix. Seriously, take a long time.

Tebow time

I understand why Tim Tebow annoys fans. I get that the experts question his accuracy, his mechanics and whatever else the film shows.

What I don't understand is any skepticism that he's a fantasy starter at quarterback -- assuming, of course, he continues to hold the Broncos' job over Kyle Orton.

As we outlined on Oct. 11, Tebow produces when he plays. Sunday at Miami, he was awful for 54 minutes and 37 seconds (4-for-14 for 40 yards, and the Broncos were 0-for-10 on third down), and great from that point forward.

Tebow finished with 161 yards passing, two touchdowns, eight carries for 65 yards and a two-point conversion. He led Denver to 15 points in the last 2:44 of regulation and an overtime win -- albeit over a winless team.

Again, he produces. He's a top-10 or top-12 fantasy quarterback.

The endless debates, ESPN roundtables and everything else does get to be too much. But that doesn't mean he should be on your bench.

A few more quick takes from Week 7:

-- Until Jahvid Best returns from a concussion (and there is some speculation he won't this season), the Lions appear to have decided on a timeshare between Maurice Morris (nine carries for 50 yards and two catches for 13 yards on Sunday) and Keiland Williams (nine carries for 44 yards). Hint: Stay away.

-- Jackie Battle appears to be the Chiefs' choice as their featured back, though Dexter McCluster and Thomas Jones did receive a combined 19 carries on Sunday. Battle had 16 carries for 76 yards at Oakland, giving him 35 rushes for 195 yards in his last two contests. The presence of McCluster and Jones makes Battle more of a flex play, but he's still a decent option, depending on the matchup (and this week, it's a good one, since the Chargers rank 21st against the run).

-- Mike Shanahan, Fantasy Tormentor, returned to Tim Hightower as his featured back on Sunday, and the latter was productive until he suffered a torn ACL on Sunday. Next up, we can only assume (which is dangerous when Shanahan is involved), in Washington is Ryan Torain, who had 19 carries for 135 yards and a touchdown on Oct. 2 against the (you guessed it) Rams but has received all of 12 attempts since. Don't discount rookie Roy Helu as an option, though, since the 2011 fourth-round pick has averaged 4.9 yards on 27 carries this season.

On second thought, maybe we should all just avoid Washington running backs.

We'll be back Tuesday with waiver-wire picks for Week 8. Until then, enjoy Jon Gruden tonight.

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