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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 15, 2012

Fantasy football: DeMarco Murray injury analysis

Maybe we overvalued DeMarco Murray all along.

Sure, the Cowboys' running back was electric at times as a rookie in 2011 -- rushing for 897 yards, catching 26 passes for 183 yards and averaging 5.5 yards per carry and 5.7 yards per touch -- but he also managed only two TDs all season, and he fractured his ankle in Week 13.

You might also remember that he wasn't exactly the most durable running back in Oklahoma history.

That didn't stop many of us from considering Murray a late first-round pick in fantasy.

Now we're left with the possibility of not trusting Murray after he suffered ligament damage in his left foot in Sunday's loss to the Ravens. Prior to getting hurt, Murray was on track to have his best game of the season -- he had 90 rushing yards in the first half at Baltimore.

The Cowboys' website reported Monday that Murray could be out this week and possible longer.

In about 4 1/2 games this season, Murray has rushed for 330 yards, is averaging 4.4 yards per carry and has 17 receptions for 118 yards. The bad: Murray has one TD on 92 touches, and now has all of three TDs in two seasons.

If you own Murray, you have no choice but to hold on to him and hope for the best when he returns.

While owning and hoping, you should also make a bid to acquire Felix Jones via the waiver wire or trade.

Jones is available in almost 49 percent of the leagues on -- a figure that seems low to me, since he isn't on a roster in any of the leagues in which I compete. (OK, that's certainly not scientific, but wouldn't it stand to reason that Jones, who had three carries in Dallas' first four games, would be on the waiver wire in a vast majority of leagues?)

Jones ran for 92 yards on 18 carries Sunday, and he's been productive when given the opportunity in his five-year career.

In a loss to the Giants on Dec. 11, 2011, the game in which Murray broke his ankle, Jones rushed for 106 yards on 16 carries and caught six passes for 31 yards. The next week, Jones had 22 carries for 108 yards and three receptions for 23 yards.

In 2010, Jones rushed for 800 yards and caught 52 passes for 450 yards. In his career, he's averaged 5.1 yards per carry.

The problem, as is the case with Murray, is Jones is injury-prone and out-of-the-end-zone-prone. He had two touchdowns in his otherwise-impressive 2010, and he has 10 TDs in 53 career games.

But you won't be acquiring Jones for anything other than a short-term fix. In that case, he should be a bargain.

Sunday, the Cowboys will play at the Panthers, who rank 23rd against the run. Carolina is allowing an average of 127.4 rushing yards per game and 4.4 yards per carry.

The following week, the Cowboys will play host to the Giants, who rank 16th against the run, a figure that is deceiving since New York is giving up 4.6 yards per carry.

If Murray is out, as expected, this week, Jones should be considered a decent No. 2 running back, especially in point-per-reception leagues -- and especially in Week 7, when six teams are on a bye.

Don't expect Jones to score a couple of touchdowns.

In hindsight, we shouldn't have expected that from Murray, either.

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