Fast Connections, Week 13: Kirk catching on with Kyler

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This week's edition of Fast Connections focuses on several young signal-callers and the more-experienced receivers with which they've established a connection.

Kyler Murray and Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals


Despite some difficult defensive matchups, Kyler Murray has come into his own over the past three games. The rookie quarterback has played the 49ers defense twice in that span, and each time put up two passing touchdowns and zero turnovers. Murray showed off more than just his passing skills, however.

Defenses have struggled to account for Murray's legs. His 418 rushing yards rank second in the NFL among quarterbacks (behind only Lamar Jackson's historic 876). Among signal-callers with at least 20 rushes, Murray's 6.24 yards per carry comes in more than a yard and a half above the next best mark (Josh Allen's 4.66). Combined with the passing numbers, Murray has a strong case for Offensive Rookie of the Year.

But the Cardinals ultimately will build around Murray's acumen as a passer, and he has several young weapons with which to establish connections. One of those, second-year wideout Christian Kirk, made an impression two weeks ago. Kirk hauled in six passes for a career-best 138 yards and three touchdowns.

Next Gen Stats says ...

Though Kirk lacks ideal length for the position (5-foot-11), he creates separation with ease. Among wide receivers on the Cardinals with at least 25 targets, Kirk has the highest open rate (3 yards or more of separation from the nearest defender) at 50.0%. He also has the top wide-open rate (5 yards or more of separation) at 23.6%.

Mitch Trubisky and Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears


Mitch Trubisky's third season has not gone as the Bears had hoped. The former No. 2 overall pick has regressed mightily in 2019, hesitating to pull the trigger on throws he completed with ease a year ago. Worse, Trubisky's accuracy issues from college have re-emerged, with the quarterback seemingly unable to complete passes to his left for long stretches.

However, Trubisky broke out of his season-long malaise during a Thanksgiving Day matchup with the Lions thanks in part to his connection with Allen Robinson. Robinson received double-digit targets for the second straight game, posting eight catches for 86 yards and a score. Combined with his numbers from the previous week's win over the Giants, Robinson has posted 217 yards and two scores, just in time for fantasy managers looking to secure playoff seeding.

Next Gen Stats says ...

Robinson has performed at a high level throughout the season even if Trubisky hasn't always taken advantage. According to Next Gen Stats, Robinson has a yards-after-catch success rate of 33.8%, the highest mark among Bears wideouts. Robinson also accounts for nearly half of Chicago's air yards this season (1,189, 49.6%).

Dak Prescott and Randall Cobb, Dallas Cowboys


A week ago, we highlighted Dak Prescott's breakout season in this very space. He returns again for Week 13, this time with a different receiver.

Randall Cobb spent the vast majority of his career catching passes from future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. However, the Packers did not re-sign Cobb this offseason, allowing him to explore the open market for the first time in his career. Cobb landed with the Cowboys, becoming their de facto replacement for the departed Cole Beasley.

Though Prescott and Cobb had not played together previously, they established a rapport quickly. The two connected for four catches, 69 yards and a touchdown in their first regular-season game and have combined for 42 receptions, 634 yards and three scores over the first 11 games of the season. Prescott now trusts Cobb in key situations, including a must-have drive late in last week's game against the Patriots.

Next Gen Stats says ...

Cobb has always thrived as a runner after the catch, and that has continued in Dallas. Just over 41% of his yards have come after the catch, and his YAC success rate comes in at 46.3%. That mark trails only Michael Gallup among the team's wideouts with 25 or more targets.

-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is a fantasy analyst for NFL.com. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH

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