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Should You Draft Dak Prescott or Kyler Murray in 2024

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No quarterback in the NFL ran hotter during the second half of last season than Dak Prescott. And during that same span, Kyler Murray made his long-awaited return to the Cardinals, flashing serious upside. Unless you are in a superflex format, only one player can be your starting quarterback in fantasy leagues this season. Who should it be?

Let’s get after it.

Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys

The Case For Prescott

After a slow start to the 2023 campaign, Dak Prescott absolutely went crazy during the second half of the season. From Week 8 on, Prescott averaged 36.4 pass attempts, 288.4 passing yards, 2.7 passing touchdowns and 23.6 fantasy points per game. During that span, he recorded seven top-eight fantasy finishes, including six inside the top-three quarterbacks. He was first in touchdown passes (30), yards (3,183) and 300-yard games (5), while also ranking second in success rate (55%) and fifth in fantasy points per dropback (0.59). With the Cowboys struggling to establish much of a run game last year, they heavily relied on Prescott’s arm. Dallas ranked fourth in early-down pass rate (59.3%) and seventh in neutral-script pass rate (60.4%). Entering the 2024 season, Dallas has Ezekiel Elliott and Rico Dowdle leading its rushing attack, which tells me they will once again be dropping back to pass quite often. We could also see them throw the ball a lot when in close, despite Elliott being better at converting short-yardage carries than Tony Pollard was a season ago. In 2023, Prescott comfortably led the NFL in end-zone pass attempts with 67. The ball is going to be in his hands a lot, as it should.

ARLINGTON, TX – DECEMBER 15: Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott (4) scrambles during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams on December 15, 2019 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire)

The Case Against Prescott

Volume is going to be on his side, but it is a bit disappointing that the Cowboys did essentially nothing to help Prescott this offseason. They added nothing at wide receiver alongside CeeDee Lamb, while also failing to add some juice to the run game. The Cowboys also moved on from longtime left tackle Tyron Smith, and while the offensive line still projects to be strong, it certainly isn’t what it once was. Prescott also had some pretty glaring home/road splits last year, averaging 25 fantasy points per game in the comfortable confines of AT&T Stadium, but that fell all the way to 16.3 fantasy points per game when away from home. 

Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals

The Case For Murray

Kyler Murray missed the first half of the season while he fully recovered from a torn ACL. He made his season debut in Week 10, and while he certainly didn’t post jaw-dropping numbers, Murray was still strong from a fantasy perspective. Murray averaged 18.1 fantasy points per game from Week 10 on, while also averaging 30.5 rushing yards per contest. He rushed for at least 30 yards in five of eight games during that stretch, while handling a healthy 13% of Arizona’s designed rush attempts. On a per-game basis, Murray has now been a top-10 fantasy quarterback in each of the last four seasons, as his combination of passing and rushing presents him with a very strong floor. Dating back to 2023 before his ACL tear, Murray has rushed for at least 25 yards in 14 of his last 19 games (73.6%), which essentially starts him with 2.5-3.0 fantasy points before even throwing a pass.

GLENDALE, AZ – DECEMBER 08: Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) looks downfield during the NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals on December 8, 2019 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire)

 Last season we saw tight end Trey McBride break out, and now the Cardinals added Marvin Harrison Jr. to the offense. That’s huge for Murray, especially since his top wide receiver last year, Marquise Brown, wasn’t 100% down the stretch last year and missed the final three games of the season. There is still so much upside attached to Murray, who, in his last fully healthy season, finished as the QB2 in all of fantasy. And for his career, Murray is averaging 20.8 fantasy points per game, which is actually the fourth-most among all quarterbacks all time. If that’s not upside, I don’t know what is.

The Case Against Murray

The only argument I can really make against Murray is the fact that this is a different Arizona scheme on offense. Even when Murray returned to the lineup in Week 10 last year, the Cardinals didn’t suddenly air it out and let him throw the ball 35-plus times. From Week 10 on, the Cardinals ranked just 27th in neutral-script pass rate (52.7%) and 22nd in early-down pass rate (50.2%). Arizona also isn’t the same fast-paced offense that we saw with Kliff Kingsbury. From 2019-2021, the Cardinals ranked sixth in early-down pass rate (56.5%), second in average seconds per snap (25.5) and easily first in no-huddle rate (35.5%). However, last season, Arizona ran no-huddle just 6.2% of the time, which ranked 19th in the league. Simply put, Drew Petzing’s scheme isn’t as fantasy-friendly as what Murray has been accustomed to. 

The Verdict

I know Prescott has the momentum and is coming off the huge season. But I am going for upside in my fantasy drafts, especially at a loaded quarterback position where you are looking for someone who can contend with Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes on a per-game basis. To me, Murray has a better chance, if everyone hits their true ceiling, of ascending into that tier. Although the Cardinals don’t have CeeDee Lamb, you can still make the case that Murray has just as good of a supporting cast as Prescott, if not slightly better. Prescott is going to be a safe, high-volume fantasy signal-caller, for sure. But give me the upside of Murray.

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