“People keep asking if I’m back, and I haven’t really had an answer, but now, yeah, I’m thinking I’m back!” — John Wick, 2014
It never fails. The seasons shift, and when the snow begins to melt, I get the itch for producing content again. But this time, I’m thinking “I’m back” … for good. 👀
As we continue to progress through free agency, and approach the NFL Draft, the want to trade is only going to get hotter and hotter. Now is the time to cash in those unproven assets for established core pieces that will help you win next fall and beyond.
This article will serve as not only an appreciation post for D.J. Moore, but also an argument that he’s the number one dynasty buy at his position.
Strike while the iron is hot! With rumors of Deshaun Watson potentially granting permission to be traded to the Carolina Panthers coming closer and closer to fruition, one could argue that Moore’s value has never been higher. While those rumors have been compiling since January, the buying window has slowly been closing because making a play for Moore has looked smarter with each piece of news that comes out about Watson. However, the buying window is about to re-open if Watson doesn’t end up a Panther.
Without a quarterback upgrade before the NFL Draft, dynasty managers will see D.J. Moore as a has-been or expired breakout candidate and want to move onto the next flashy, shiny toy.
The proof is in the pudding — Moore’s absolute floor is nearly 1,200 yards and 4 touchdowns on great volume. In three straight seasons, he has basically refused to do anything else despite wildly incompetent quarterback play.
2019 — 135 targets, 87 receptions, 1,175 yards, 4 TD’s
2020 — 118 targets, 66 receptions, 1,193 yards, 4 TD’s
2021 — 163 targets, 93 receptions, 1,157 yards, 4 TD’s
When you consider who Moore’s signal callers have been – the corpse of Cam Newton, Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen, Will Grier, Teddy Bridgewater, P.J. Walker, and Sam Darnold — the receiving statistics seem even more impressive. In fact, Moore is only behind Moss, Evans, Fitzgerald, Hopkins, and Beckham Jr. in terms of career receiving yards before turning 25-years-old.
In addition to that list of horrific passers, it should also be noted that several of the quarterbacks have been cycled in-and-out of the starting spot because of unwelcoming performances (obviously), injuries, and several coaching changes, which has made it even more challenging for Moore to flash the consistency that he has. From Moore’s perspective, it has essentially been professional quarterback whack-a-mole. The lackluster quarterback play he has experienced directly correlates to them winning no more than 7 games (7, 5, 5, 5) and an above average scoring offense once (14, 20, 24, 29).
Each season that Moore has grown, his offense has lowered his ceiling further and further.
So what’s different? Why trade for him now? Why will he breakout now?
It goes without saying what the benefits would be if the franchise traded for Watson, or even a quarterback a tier below. It would be incredible if you could buy-low on Moore now, and reap the benefits of a franchise-altering quarterback before a decision is made tonight or tomorrow.
However, realistically speaking, just about anything available would be an upgrade from what Carolina currently has, and yes, that includes drafting a rookie from an “underwhelming” class. What this offense needs, and particularly Moore, is a level of stability to compliment the output he has been giving. Having someone steady in place that the organization is truly committed to will help push the ceiling of the offense. For Moore, that would mean reaching the top 10 ceiling that fantasy football managers have been praying for the last two seasons.
Last season, D.J. Moore ranked in the top 10 in each of the following statistics, according to PlayerProfiler.com – targets (6th), target share (5th), routes run (6th), route participation (7th), air yards (5th), air yards share (5th), receiving yards (10th), and unrealized air yards (4th).
Last season, D.J. Moore ranked in the top 20 in each of the following statistics, according to PlayerProfiler.com – snap share (12th), team pass plays per game (17th), hog rate (18th), receptions (11th), yards after catch (12th), completed air yards (15th), and dominator rating (12th).
Last season, despite D.J. Moore’s awesomeness, he still ranked really poorly in the following statistics, according to PlayerProfiler.com – QB rating per target (97th), target accuracy (98th), catchable target rate (76th), and target quality rating (80th).
Nobody in the league overcomes inept quarterback play to the level that Moore does. Nobody.
While the rankings from above can feel overwhelming to read or make it seem like we’re turning football into #numbers, or even just reciting PlayerProfiler.com, it’s quite easy to see that Moore’s talent is really, really high. He has overcome abysmal quarterback play because of his athleticism, great to elite volume, and steady progression in his improvement as a wide receiver.
The long, awaited journey of finding D.J. Moore a quarterback is unlikely to end with a trade that grants him a big fish like Watson. In fact, it’s more than likely that they’re looking toward the draft to select their guy. But that means you have a little over a month to trade for a very safe, reliable WR1 with huge upside if anything breaks right. Once a young, hot commodity is on their way to Carolina, the hype train is going to well down the tracks, and your window of opportunity will be in the past.
Why not? Worst case scenario? You have a 1,200 yard receiver who is boxed in as a top 20 play and is a 25-year-old unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2022 season. There’s also additional built-in upside if he isn’t underwhelming in the touchdown category for the FOURTH straight season.
I’d be looking to flip a first for him and any reserve(s) you’re comfortable departing with (if needed). I’m confident there are fantasy managers out there who would let him out of their grip for a mid-first and a depth piece. Moore managers have become disgruntled when talking about his upside. If there’s one thing that’s common in the dynasty community, it’s that many players love the idea of potential instead of established players.