As our good pal Michael Buffer would say: “It’s time!!! This is the moment NFL fans watching around the world have been waiting for!!!” And now that you have read that sentence with his voice and will have it stuck in your brain all day long, let’s discuss Murray and Jones.
First of all, the No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray. We were promised a never seen, full-air raid display on offense from the Cardinals in the preseason. Those were exciting times. And then the Cardinals went and couldn’t do anything with the hype, finishing their first game in a tie—a tie!—and losing the next three. But things have changed as of late. Arizona—and Murray by extension—is looking better each passing day. In fact, Murray is looking historically good, as he became the only rookie to complete at least 20 passes in each of his first six games. In his past two games, Murray has thrown for 593 yards and three touchdowns with a 68.1 completion rate and up to 11 passes of 20-plus yards downfield. He’s also unleashed his legs, rushing for 125 combined yards and one score on 21 carries. It’s time to start getting scared of what Murray can become with time.
And now, Daniel Jones, the only man capable of benching Eli Manning. Since he took the reins of an 0-2 Giants team, Jones has an even 2-2 record to his name. And he deserves more consideration than he’s probably getting as he’s had to play without multiple receivers (notably Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard) or the team’s no. 1 weapon (Saquon Barkley) lately. The problem for Jones, though, is that he’s trending in the opposite direction of Murray. He’s gone from scoring 39.6 fantasy points to 18.6 to 14.3 to 12.9, and although he’s thrown at least a touchdown in every game he’s started he has also thrown six interceptions in his last three games.
Fantasy football analysis, Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray, New York Giants QB Daniel Jones
Jones’ performances have been strictly linked to the strength of the defenses he’s faced. He won against Tampa Bay (fourth-worst against QBs in fantasy points per game allowed to the position) and Washington (seventh-worst), while he lost against Minnesota (10th-best) and New England (league-best). Arizona enters this weekend’s game ranked dead-last allowing 28.1 points per game to QBs and having given up 16 passing touchdowns already. They’re plain bad and even with CB Patrick Peterson back things don’t look much more promising. If we attain to Jones’s past games (small sample, mind you), he should be good this weekend.
Murray, on the other hand, has been trending upwards no matter the opposition since day one. He has faced average defenses and completed good or great games against all of them (he’s passed for at least 241 yards or scored a touchdown in every game so far, with three 300-plus yards performances). The Giants defense ranks as the fifth-worst against QBs, and Murray just torched Atlanta (third-worst) last week to the tune of 340 yards and two touchdowns, with an extra 32 yards on the ground.
Both Arizona and New York rank above-average in offensive plays per game, so there will be opportunities for both quarterbacks to throw the ball quite a few times. Adding wood to the fire, this match has the second-highest total of the slate at 50.5, and while Saquon Barkley might be back that could even help Jones giving him more leverage and keeping Arizona’s defense honest.
Kyler Murray: Start
Daniel Jones: Start