Latavius Murray Waiver Wire Week 12: Now the Top Dog in Denver

Latavius Murray was a worthwhile add before Melvin Gordon III was released. Is Murray now the top Week 12 waiver wire pickup?

Week 11 wasn’t terrible on the injury front, but we did lose a couple of big names. As a result, fantasy managers are in need of replacement players. One of those players could be Latavius Murray. How much of a priority is Murray for fantasy football managers to add off the waiver wire ahead of Week 12?

Latavius Murray Is Now the Broncos’ Clear RB1

Entering Week 11, the Denver Broncos‘ backfield was in a relatively even timeshare. Melvin Gordon III would start the first half. Murray would start the second half. Overall, the two would play similar snap shares.

We saw this exact scenario play out against the Raiders. Murray played 50% of the snaps, while Gordon played just three fewer.

On Sunday, Murray had his best game of the season, carrying the ball a season-high 17 times for 49 yards and a touchdown. He also caught all four of his targets for 23 yards. This was legitimate bell-cow usage.

Of course, Murray wasn’t the bell cow. Gordon was plenty involved with eight carries and five targets of his own. In fact, Gordon’s higher than 10.5 receiving yards was one of my top props on Underdog Fantasy, and it won easily.

MORE: James Cook Waiver Wire Week 12

However, the Broncos’ front office and coaching staff don’t care about how well Gordon does for my Underdog picks. The real problem was Gordon’s fifth fumble of the season. Although he didn’t lose the fumble, the Broncos had seen enough.

On Monday, the Broncos released Gordon. It was a clear signal they were just done with him, as the team lost Chase Edmonds for multiple weeks due to a high ankle sprain in the very same game. With Mike Boone on IR, the Broncos are down to practice-squad signee Marlon Mack behind Murray.

The team will undoubtedly sign another running back this week. However, that player is unlikely to put any sort of dent in Murray’s usage. Mack should be active this week, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Murray’s snap share push over 60%.

Note: On Tuesday, the Broncos officially placed Chase Edmonds on IR, sidelining him until at least Week 16.

How Aggressively Should Fantasy Managers Pursue Murray Off the Waiver Wire?

It’s exceedingly rare that the circumstances surrounding why a player is a quality waiver wire add on a Sunday night change dramatically less than 24 hours later. Yet, that’s exactly what we have here.

In my initial rapid reaction waiver wire column, I had Murray as an add, but not necessarily a priority one. Following Gordon’s release, Murray instantly vaults to the top position.

For just this week, I would still prefer Samaje Perine (and next week if Joe Mixon ends up missing multiple games with his concussion). However, for the rest of the season, Murray is the more valuable pickup. He has the chance to be a weekly RB2 through the fantasy playoffs.

Murray doesn’t have the same upside as someone like Rachaad White or Kenneth Walker III did in previous weeks. Nevertheless, you’re unlikely to find a higher-impact running back this late in the season.

With each successive week, FAAB becomes less and less valuable because anyone you pick up is spending fewer and fewer weeks on your roster. There are just three weeks remaining in the fantasy regular season.

If you need a running back, you can spend it all on Murray. If you want Murray, he’s going to be expensive. There’s undoubtedly someone in your league who really needs him. So, if you want him, be prepared to empty the proverbial piggy bank.

If you play in a league that still uses the continual rolling list waiver priority system, feel free to burn the top priority on Murray.

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