Latavius Murray Needs More Touches for the Saints to Secure a First-Round Bye

Latavius Murray celebrates against the Panthers in Week 12.
Latavius Murray celebrates against the Panthers in Week 12. / Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Losing Mark Ingram to free agency last summer didn't mean the New Orleans Saints were moving ahead without a potent two-RB combination in the backfield. They signed free agent Latavius Murray to complement Alvin Kamara, and that depth has proven crucial.

Murray wasn't getting much work early in the year, but Kamara went down with an ankle injury, missing Week 7 and Week 8, and Murray absolutely dominated in relief.

The Saints won those two games by a combined score of 67 to 34, and Murray played a massive role in that offensive success. He ran the ball 48 times for 221 yards and turned 18 targets into 86 yards through the air, racking up a combined four TDs.

Since Kamara returned (five games), Murray has seen his workload fall to 6.6 carries and 1.6 targets per game. Kamara, on the other hand, has averaged 10.4 carries plus 8.6 targets, despite the fact that his recent inefficiency suggests he's still hobbled by the ankle injury.

The Saints have dropped two of those last five games, including one to the now 4-9 Atlanta Falcons. Competition for a first-round bye in the NFC is stiff this year, with the Saints, Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks all sitting with at least 10 wins.

There's no margin for error, and while there's not a definitive correlation between New Orleans' offensive success and Murray's role, he's simply too effective to be playing as sparsely as he has been – especially with Kamara having been held below 80 rushing yards in five consecutive games.

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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.