ESPN fantasy football: Murray a top-5 QB? Drake a fringe top-10 pick?

Aug 22, 2020, 12:33 PM

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) hands off to running back Kenyan Drake, right, for a...

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) hands off to running back Kenyan Drake, right, for an 80-yard touchdown run during the first half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The Arizona Cardinals had an improved offense in 2019, one that was generally respectable and could challenge teams.

If newly released ESPN fantasy football rankings are any indication, it could be explosive this coming season.

Mike Clay and Matthew Berry released their updated fantasy football draft rankings Saturday.

The biggest takeaways:

  • Kyler Murray was listed as the fourth quarterback by both analysts.
  • Clay has running back Kenyan Drake as his No. 10 player on the board.

Let’s start with Drake. Can he really be worthy of a late first-round pick in the fantasy draft?

Because of the importance of securing a strong top running back, Clay thinks so. Fourteen of the top 15 players on his board are ball carriers.

“There are 14 running backs I truly feel comfortable with in my Week 1 starting lineup. Because of the impending drop-off at the position, I’m very much trying to get two of these 14 backs with my first two picks.”

Berry was not as high on Drake, listing him as the No. 20 player overall in his PPR rankings.

Drake was very up and down over his eight games as a Cardinal last season. In three games he broke 100 yards and twice he had multiple touchdowns, but in three other games he had fewer than 40 yards.

In general, his 5.8 yards per carry with the Cardinals is very promising. In a more established role that he has had a full offseason to get used to — not just thrown onto the team halfway through the season — there’s reason to believe Drake can be a beneficial member to a fantasy team.

He certainly thinks so, too.

Meanwhile, Murray as the No. 4 quarterback furthers offseason hype surrounding the second-year pro.

Both writers had reigning MVP Lamar Jackson and 2018 MVP Patrick Mahomes as the top two quarterbacks. Berry listed Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson ahead of Murray, while Clay had Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott in the No. 3 spot.

Either way, being a consensus top-four quarterback is a good look for Murray.

With a quarterback that good comes promising fantasy options on offense.

DeAndre Hopkins is unsurprisingly a top-20 player for both analysts.

Berry had Hopkins at No. 19, as the No. 5 receiver. Clay had him at No. 17 as the third-best receiver.

Christian Kirk, Larry Fitzgerald, Chase Edmonds and Zane Gonzalez were also on both rankings.

Clay had Kirk at No. 94, Edmonds at No. 143, Fitzgerald at No. 149 and Gonzalez as the No. 9 kicker.

Berry had Kirk at No. 99, Edmonds at No. 119 and Fitzgerald as a fringe pick at No. 193 out of 200. Gonzalez was the No. 8 kicker.

Just three weeks (!!!) away from Week 1 of the NFL season, it’s time to start getting your drafts in order.

There’s a better chance that you’ll be targeting Cardinals than in years past.

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ESPN fantasy football: Murray a top-5 QB? Drake a fringe top-10 pick?