Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray has been a difficult fantasy football asset to judge at times in his career, but his dynamic style of play makes him an intriguing option. So far in 2023, Murray has not seen the field due to an ACL injury he suffered last season. Let’s look at Murray’s latest injury update and when fantasy managers might expect him back.
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Latest Injury Update for Kyler Murray
Murray tore his ACL back in December of last year and was never expected to be ready for the start of the season. However, the latest news from the Cardinals is that Murray is on the comeback trail. After starting the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, we saw our first signs that he could be back soon.
Murray was designated to return to practice last week and took some first-team reps in practice. That started a 21-day clock for the Cardinals to activate him to the 53-man roster or rule him out for the season. That 21-day clock means the latest Murray can be activated to the 53-man roster is Week 10.
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A real positive is that he was able to practice in a limited form all three days last week, seemingly without any setbacks.
It will be intriguing to see how Arizona plays this now. With another couple of weeks to ramp Murray up, we may see the Cardinals wait until he can fully participate in practice on consecutive days before activating him.
When Will Murray Return?
Now that the 21-day window has been opened, Murray could return at any time. He has missed the mandatory four games that being placed on the PUP leads to. The nature of an ACL injury was always likely to push that return date closer to the midway point of the season than the four-game minimum.
Reports from Sunday morning had Week 10 as the date the Cardinals are targeting for Murray to return. That fits with the timetable of the 21-day window, even though Arizona doesn’t need to use all of that window. If they feel Murray is ready in Week 9, they could move up the timetable.
Sitting at 1-6, the Cardinals are in a bit of limbo. Joshua Dobbs has done a solid job at QB, but he’s not leading this team to wins, and they are now realistically on the verge of being eliminated from playoff contention. If Arizona wins in Week 8, maybe they consider activating Murray early if they feel they can make a push.
What Is Murray’s Fantasy Value?
So much of Murray’s fantasy value historically has been tied to his ability to use his legs to make plays. His best seasons from a fantasy perspective came when he was able to combine his passing ability with his playmaking running ability. What we don’t know at this stage is how the recovery from an ACL injury will impact that.
Murray’s best fantasy season came in 2020 when he averaged 23.7 fantasy points per game. A huge driver of that was rushing for 819 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was actually a better passer on a per-game basis in 2021, but due to a decreased rushing output, averaged two fantasy points fewer per game that season.
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When Murray can use his legs effectively, he’s a top-five fantasy football option. However, in what appears to be a lost season, with injury guarantees in his deal, it’s hard to imagine the Cardinals having him run a lot down the stretch this season.
Purely as a passer, Murray is going to be much closer to a top-10 fantasy option than top five. He very well may be even lower than that if he can only average 15-ish fantasy points per game. If that’s the case, Murray would still have intriguing Superflex value but would be more of a wait-and-see streaming option in 1QB leagues.
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