Latavius Murray has the chance for a huge season in 2016 based on the lack of competition for touches as well an improved offensive line in Oakland. Murray played well in 2015 with 266 carries for 1,066 yards and six touchdowns and 41 catches for 232 yards. Every stat was a career high, and we expect him to again lead the Raiders in touches, even with the addition of rookie DeAndre Washington. The best thing to happen to Murray was Oakland signing guard Kelechi Osemele and bringing back left tackle Donald Penn. Along with Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson and Austin Howard this could be one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. We hope Murray will be more consistent this season since he had five games with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in his first seven outings, but he reached that level just twice in his final nine games. We see his arrow pointing up, and he should be considered a high-end No. 2 Fantasy running back worth drafting in Round 4 or 5.
"All indications" suggest Murray will be a bell cow for the Raiders in 2016, the Raiders' official site reports. Murray assumed lead-back duties for the first time in his career during 2015, but his increased workload lead to a precipitous drop in his efficiency as his YPC fell from 5.2 in 2014 to 4.0 this past year. Nonetheless, Murray was the first Raiders tailback to top 1,000 yards on the ground since 2010, management only added competition for Murray in the form of rookie scatback DeAndre Washington, and the Oakland offensive line only became an even more formidable unit with the offseason addition of G Kelechi Osemele. Furthermore, the trajectory of the rapport between Derek Carr and stud receiver Amari Cooper appears space-bound, forcing defensive attention away from the running game in general. Simply speaking, the stars do indeed appear to be aligning for Murray in 2016.
Rookie fifth-round selection DeAndre Washington will likely compete to serve as Murray's top backup, NBC Bay Area reports. Despite being connected to an assortment of big-name free agents and rookies, the Raiders haven't done much to bolster their running back group, perhaps showing some faith in Murray. There is still some chance the team will add competition, but Murray's path to the starting job appears quite clear at the moment. DeAndre Washington, who checks in at 5-8, 200 pounds, will likely threaten Murray's receiving workload more so than his carries. Murray caught 41 of 53 targets in 2015, but he only managed 232 yards (5.7 YPR) and didn't have any receiving touchdowns.
Murray ran for 31 yards on 11 carries and caught four of six targets for 25 yards in Sunday's 23-17 loss at Kansas City. Outside of a nine-yard run at one point, Murray was completely shut down, and his receiving numbers look better because he caught a couple of passes late in the game with the Raiders in comeback mode. Despite not ripping off as many long runs as some experts predicted (just two runs of 40+ yards), Murray had a successful first year as Oakland's starting tailback. In fact, Murray finished in the top 10 in rushing, with 1,066 yards. The current roster doesn't have anyone that could seriously challenge Murray for work in 2016, so unless the Raiders decide to draft a RB, expect him to be the featured back once again next season.
Murray rushed for 79 yards and a score on 19 carries and secured all five of his targets for 38 yards in Thursday's 23-20 overtime win against the Chargers. Murray was the most productive member of the Raiders offense Thursday, and he eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards on the season in the process. He went untouched, thanks to a great lead block from Jamize Olawale, for his 22-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. The Raiders close out the season next week on the road against a Chiefs defense that surrendered 97 total yards and a score to Murray in Week 12.
Murray gained 78 yards on 21 carries and secured one of two targets for two yards in Sunday's 30-20 loss to the Packers. The second-year tailback had a solid afternoon on a wet track at the O.co Coliseum, although his carries were reduced late in the game with the Raiders in catch-up mode. Murray's 3.7 yards per carry was actually his second-best figure in that category over the last five weeks, a span that had seen him average less than two yards per tote in one contest and under three yards in two others. Now at 956 rushing yards on the season, Murray should easily surpass the 1,000-yard mark against a generous Chargers rush defense in Week 16. In doing so, he will be the franchise's first back to achieve the milestone since Darren McFadden tallied 1,157 yards in 2010.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/11||@New Orleans Saints||31||22.38|
|5||10/09||San Diego Chargers||30||21.50|
|6||10/16||Kansas City Chiefs||4||13.44|
|8||10/30||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||15||16.88|
|14||12/09||@Kansas City Chiefs||4||13.44|
|15||12/18||@San Diego Chargers||30||21.50|
|3 Year Avg||174||745||4||29||188||0||116|