What Is The Ceiling For A Healthy Kyler Murray With Marvin Harrison Jr. & Trey McBride? | 2024 Arizona Cardinals Fantasy Football Draft Guide

by Keith Lott
What Is The Ceiling For A Healthy Kyler Murray With Marvin Harrison Jr. & Trey McBride? | 2024 Arizona Cardinals Fantasy Football Draft Guide

The latest ADP data from Sleeper (July 2nd) shows Marvin Harrison Jr. being drafted as the WR9 (13.2 ADP), Trey McBride as the TE3 (46.8), James Conner as the RB19 (61.1) and Kyler Murray as QB8 (73.4). The consensus is that Fantasy Football managers are buying the Arizona Cardinals as a potential Fantasy Football powerhouse in 2024.

The only other teams with four or more players being drafted in the top 80 are the Houston Texans (5), Kansas City Chiefs (5), Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers.

Are we overvaluing the budding Cardinals?

Drafting a rookie wide receiver 13th overall as the WR9 is undeniably a bold move, one that carries its fair share of uncertainty.

Taking the third tight end off the board in the fourth-round is certainly a risky pick.

James Conner, at RB19, in the fifth- round, feels about right as a potential RB1 for those who waited or an RB2 for those who prefer to load up on pass catchers in the middle rounds and wait on QB/TE.

The upside of Kyler Murray picking up Fantasy points via the ground game is intriguing. But is it enough to ignore his recent injury history and select him over Dak Prescott or Jordan Love?

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What is the Ceiling for a Healthy Kyler Murray?

Since the 2000 NFL season, a quarterback has rushed for 500 yards with 500 pass attempts just 12 times. Only six quarterbacks have recorded one of these seasons and Josh Allen accounts for three of them! Russell Wilson has done it twice, with Jalen Hurts, Deshaun Watson, Cam Newton, Daunte Culpepper and Donovan McNabb each hitting those milestones once.

In both seasons that Kyler Murray played 16 games, he rushed for 500+ yards and had 500 pass attempts. This is no longer a Kliff Kingsbury offense, but under Head Coach Jonathan Gannon and Offensive Coordinator Drew Petzing, Murray averaged 33.8 pass attempts per game while rushing for 30 yards per game. Over a 17-game season, that's 574.6 pass attempts and 510 rushing yards. A healthy Kyler Murray could have another one of these rare seasons.

Murray played the final seven games of the season. He targeted tight end Trey McBride on 24.6% of his 268 pass attempts. That led to 53 receptions and 538 yards with two touchdown passes to McBride.

Greg Dortch and Rondale Moore combined for another 25% of Murray's targets, totaling 43 receptions, 502 yards and three touchdowns. You can safely assume that all of those targets now belong to Marvin Harrison Jr.

After Murray returned, Moore (5) and Dortch combined for six deep targets 20+ yards, with Hollywood Brown (now with the Kansas City Chiefs) seeing 8 such targets. Four of those 14 passes were completed for 132 yards and one touchdown. Again, all of those targets now belong to Marvin Harrison Jr. and then some.

According to PFF, rookie wide receivers Zay Flowers and Jordan Addison saw 20+ deep targets last season. In the last three years, rookies Chris Olave (32), DeVonta Smith, Garrett Wilson, George Pickens, Nico Collins, Rashid Shaheed and Ja'Marr Chase all saw 20+ deep targets. There is precedent here.

The interesting thing will be to see if Harrison Jr. is converting deep targets into touchdowns. Otherwise, we might see Washington Commanders rookie QB Jayden Daniels putting up similar Fantasy stats despite being drafted as the QB15, nearly 60 picks later!

Is James Conner the Most Valuable Cardinal to Draft?

According to PFF, James Conner earned the highest Elusive Rating among all running backs with 200+ rushing attempts. De'Von Achane and Jaylen Warren were the only RBs with at least 100 attempts to score a rating! Conner forced 60 missed tackles, tied with Christian McCaffrey. Travis Etienne led the position with 64. Despite entering his year 29 season, Conner has proven that he still has gas in the tank and thrived in this Cardinals offense.

The only concern for Conner was the 66th pick in the 2024 NFL Draft - Trey Benson. However, given the running backs similar builds, Benson is more likely the future replacement for James Conner, who is entering the final year of his contract. Conner does have some injury history and Benson might lighten his load in 2024, but Conner still has value as the 19th running back selected in Fantasy Football drafts.

Will Marvin Harrison Have the Greatest Rookie WR Season Ever?

According to JJ Zachariason's Late Round Prospect Guide, Marvin Harrison Jr. is just the third prospect since 2011 to declare early, be a top-10 pick and have a Breakout Score of 90+, " while having multiple seasons with at least a 3.0 yards per team pass attempt".

The other two were A.J. Green and Amari Cooper.

Marvin Harrison Jr. is exactly what the Arizona Cardinals offense has been missing.

Drafting Marvin Harrison Jr. at the 1/2 turn requires you to potentially pass on two of Garrett Wilson, Jonathan Taylor and Saquon Barkley. More aggressive Fantasy managers will have no problem making this pick, while those who build around the RB position will want to pass on a rookie wide receiver.

Only time will tell which strategy was the winning strategy!

data via Stathead

Randy Moss306.712469131317199821MIN1619.17
Ja'Marr Chase304.612881145513202121CIN1717.92
Puka Nacua298.516010514866202322LAR1717.56
Odell Beckham Jr.29513091130512201422NYG1224.58
Bill Groman293.472147312196024HOU1420.96
Anquan Boldin282.716510113778200323ARI1617.67
Justin Jefferson274.21258814007202021MIN1617.14
Michael Thomas255.71219211379201623NOR1517.05
Billy Howton253.153123113195222GNB1221.09
Jaylen Waddle245.814010410156202123MIA1615.36
Mike Evans245.112268105112201421TAM1516.34
Michael Clayton244.31228011937200422TAM1615.27
Terry Glenn243.41679011326199622NWE1516.23
Joey Galloway238.31336710397199524SEA1614.89
John Jefferson234.856100113197822SDG1416.77

Does Marvin Harrison Cap Trey McBride's Upside?

In order to draft Trey McBride, you have to spend your fourth-round pick on a tight end ahead of Mark Andrews and Dalton Kincaid. This is less than ideal if you started your draft with a first-round wide receiver and didn't (couldn't) grab a running back at the 2/3 turn.

You are either committing to Isiah Pacheco as your RB1 in the third or going zero-RB, passing on James Cook, Joe Mixon or Kenneth Walker for McBride.

I completely understand the desire to draft McBride, but Jake Ferguson is going nearly four rounds later, he saw 100 targets last year and his situation did not change. Ferguson also has a pocket QB in Dak Prescott, who could potentially lead the NFL in pass attempts.

Instead of McBride and Diontae Johnson/Deandre Hopkins (or rookies Ladd McConkey/Brian Thomas Jr.) you could pair D.K. Metcalf/Zay Flowers with Ferguson.

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