Trade to Titans boosts DeMarco Murray's fantasy value

Fantasy fans, start your engines ... because the NFL's offseason has blasted out of the gates.

On the same day that fantasy superstar Peyton Manning announced his retirement, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports that the Philadelphia Eagles have agreed to trade DeMarco Murray to the Tennessee Titans.

Murray was the best running back in fantasy football in 2014, as he led the league with 1,845 rushing yards and scored 13 touchdowns in what would be his final season with the Dallas Cowboys. He turned that production into a $40 million contract with the Eagles, but the Oklahoma product was unable to duplicate his previous success. In fact, Murray finished 18th at his position and scored around 150 fewer fantasy points last season.

His lack of production was due in large part to the fact that he went from a featured role in Dallas to a committee alongside Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles in Philadelphia. That shouldn't be the case in Tennessee, as Murray should be the bell cow for coach Mike Mularkey and his "exotic smash mouth" attack. Assuming the Titans use the NFL draft (and their No. 1 overall pick) to improve their offensive line, Murray should see a small increase in fantasy value.

That doesn't mean he'll return to elite status because that's a long shot, but Murray (3.6 YPC in 2015) will be in the RB2 conversation. As for Antonio Andrews, Bishop Sankey and David Cobb, no one will hold much seasonal draft value as long as Murray is at 100 percent and out on the field.

On the flip side, Mathews looks like he'll become the top running back for the Eagles (unless the team continues to wheel and deal). He looked better than Murray for parts of last season, averaging over five yards per attempt and rushing for six touchdowns. If he can avoid injuries, which has been a problem in the past, Mathews figures to join Murray as a viable No. 2 fantasy runner.

Overall, this should be considered a good move for the running back position. Before the trade, we had potential committee messes in Philadelphia and Tennessee. Now we have a pair of featured backs, at least on the surface, who both have RB2 value. The trade also means that the Titans won't pick a runner in the first few rounds of the NFL draft, so a back like Alabama's Derrick Henry could fall to the Cowboys at the top of the second round.

Stay tuned ...

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Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

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