Kliff Kingsbury’s offense will feature elite pass volume and highlight QB rushing ability. Even if it fails, Kyler Murray is still going to score a lot of fantasy points. Don’t worry that he’s a rookie and buy at his current ADP.
Close your eyes. Erase everything you know about the Arizona Cardinals from 2018. Stare into the void. Now, open your mind to new possibilities that may challenge your grasp on reality. There is a lot of chatter on the internet about the 2019 Cardinals offense and people seem to be generally optimistic. Much has been made about the bold move to hire Kliff Kingsbury, who essentially failed at the collegiate level, to his first NFL gig. To be clear, he failed at winning enough games, which is generally frowned upon. However, he certainly did not fail to create drool-inducing offenses.
Kingsbury has run an offense either as an offensive coordinator (OC) or head coach (HC) since 2011, so there is plenty of data to work with. Below is a table displaying the passing production of his offenses:
|Games||Pass attempts||Attempts/ game||Pass yards||Yards/ attempt||Pass TD|
That is a lot of offense! An average Kingsbury offense would have 2018 NFL rankings as follows: 7th in pass attempts, 4th in pass yards, tied for 6th in yards/attempt (Y/A) and 3rd in pass TD… in 13 games! Those numbers extrapolated to a 16 game NFL season would come to an astronomical 752 attempts for 6091 yards and 57 TDs. Of course, this offense is moving from the Big12 to the NFC West so it shouldn’t be assumed that it will directly carry over. No one has ever attempted 752 passes in a season, although Matt Stafford came close with 727 in 2012. Tempering projections down to a mere 600 attempts (37/game) seems prudent for this exercise.
Consider now Chip Kelly’s jump from the Pac12 to the NFC East in 2013: Kelly’s offense averaged about 8 Y/A at Oregon in 2011 and 2012 then in 2013 the Eagles’ offense had a Y/A of 8.7. Now, by all means sound the small sample size alert, but this shows it is possible for a creative college offense to find success in the NFL.
What To Expect
Kyler Murray can be reasonably projected to heave approximately 600 balls into the air in 2019. This is significant, and more will be said on the topic later but it is also notable that Kingsbury has let his quarterback run if said quarterback has shown this ability. In 2012 Johnny Manziel ran 201 times for 1410 yards and 21 TDs. In Patrick Mahomes’ 2 years as a starter for Kingsbury, he ran a total of 262 times for 741 yards and 22 scores. Kyler Murray can run, as evidenced by his 140 rushes for 1001 yards and 12 scores in 2018 as well as a recent clip where he appears to sprint to a draw with fellow rookie and 4.3 speedster Andy Isabella. Putting it all together, Murray has a very acceptable range of outcomes as a quarterback in a Kingsbury offense:
|Pass attempts||Pass yards||Yards/ attempt||Pass TD||Int||Rush att||Rush yards||Standard points||Hypothetical final rank|
There are some assumptions made for Murray’s projections:
1) Pass attempts should remain stable regardless of outcome because that it how the offense is designed.
2) Y/A is the important variable and the “high” end is exact Kingsbury production from CFB data while the “low” is a 15% drop off from collegiate Y/A.
3) Pass TD are adjusted as well, albeit somewhat subjectively in this case.
4) The interception total was chosen based off historical rookie QB performances. Since 2008 the average first round rookie QB has thrown 18.8 INT for every 600 attempts. Narrowing the pool to the 11 QBs drafted in the top 10 who threw over 400 times in their rookie year, the number drops to 18.2 INT/600 att.
5) Rush attempts and yards were chosen based on typical seasons from NFL “rushing” QBs Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson and Cam Newton who have regularly carried over 100 times a season with an average of 5.4 yards per carry (YPC). It should be concerning for NFL defenses that Murray averaged more YPC than Wilson, Watson, and Newton did in college.
6) Rush TDs were not accounted for because that is very difficult to project, but by not including rushing TDs the total points projections gain more stability assuming he does score on the ground a few times.
Unless something goes horribly and unreasonably wrong it appears that Kyler Murray will at worst be a weekly option in single QB leagues, with as much upside as any QB drafted in fantasy football. With an ADP of QB10-12 this offseason, he offers value being drafted at his probable floor.
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