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Countdown to 2021 fantasy football drafts: Kyler Murray No. 28

Kyler Murray comes in at 28 in our fantasy football rankings countdown to the 2021 NFL season.

 Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals participates in drills during Training Camp at State Farm Stadium on July 29, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona.  Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Kyler Murray broke out as a fantasy football star in 2020 as he rushed for over 800 yards and 11 touchdowns while improving as a passer. A late season injury hampered his rushing ability and capped those numbers, which could have ended up even better. His upside for the 2021 season is as high as any quarterback in the league, if not higher.

To commemorate the 2021 NFL season, we’ll be counting down the 75 best fantasy football players in the league. Picking a Top 75 is subjective, especially when you are projecting a whole season of accumulated fantasy points, but that’s part of the fun. We’ll assume what I see as an average league, which is 12 teams, .5 PPR scoring and a roster of 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, & 1RB/WR/TE. Kickers and defenses need not apply.

Change is the nature of the NFL beast, so trades and injuries will likely impact this list as we go along, but hey, this isn’t rocket science. We’re here to have a little fun and build up some much needed anticipation for a league cast in the shadow by baseball, soccer, hockey, etc. Sarcasm aside, the NFL is addictive and we’re here to give your daily fix as we close in on the season.

The official and often updated fantasy football drafting tiers can be found here.

No. 28, Kyler Murray, Arizona

Murray’s speed is video-game like on the field, but there is still room for more fantasy points out of the passing game. He increased almost all of his fantasy stats in the passing game from 2019 to 2020, but they were incremental advances. There is still plenty of meat left on the bone for Murray this season.

Competition for touches

The Cardinals are a pass first team and when they aren’t passing, there is a good chance Murray is running with the ball. As far as fantasy floors go, Murray’s usage percentage makes his one of the highest in the league.

Team offensive expectations

For the pace and talent off the Cardinals offense, they didn’t live up to their potential last season. They added some more offensive pieces this offseason with wide receiver Ronald Moore and A.j. Green and signed running back James Conner. They ranked 19th in Football Outsiders offensive DVOA and have plenty of room to move up that list this year.

What’s his upside?

Murray’s upside is the MVP season that Lamar Jackson had in 2019 in which he dominated the fantasy football world. 30+ touchdown passes, 4,000+ passing yards, 1,000+ rushing yards and 10+ rushing touchdowns are all within his reach. If he could stay healthy and pull all of those together into a single season, he’d be a fantasy cheat code.

What’s his downside?

Murray’s downside is linked to his health, as we saw him play through a lower body injury last season which slowed down his rushing numbers. And rushing like he does in a 17 game season will put him in harm’s way. To reach his upside he’ll need to up his passing numbers into Top 10 numbers, which is achievable, but would be a big step forward.

Projection

390/570, 4,150 yards, 30 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 130 rushing attempts, 800 yards, 8 touchdowns