If you’re looking for a locked-in, take it to the bank fantasy WR2, then look no further than Charlotte, NC, and D.J. Moore. In the three seasons following his rookie year, Moore has put up PPR point totals of 230.5, 211.5, and 237.5, finishing within the Top 24 at his position each time. While subpar quarterback play has capped his upside, Moore’s consistency has value, and that makes him an enticing option on draft day.
Note: No Punt Intended aired on Wednesday, June 1st, with Special Guest Howard Bender from Fantasy Alarm! We covered the Jets, Giants, and Panthers!
DJ Moore in Fantasy Football
2021 – What Happened?
Cam Newton, Kyle Allen, Teddy Bridgewater. Not exactly a list of future Hall of Fame passers, but enough to make D.J. Moore a high-end fantasy option and real-life star. It took Sam Darnold taking over as the primary starter to make Moore a below-average player. Though, Newton and P.J. Walker chipped in when Darnold was injured.
Per Football Outsiders, Moore ranked 38th, 25th, and 20th in DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) in his first three years in the league. Last year, with Darnold primarily under center, he fell to 71st. The production was there, but the efficiency cratered.
With Christian McCaffrey missing most of the season, the Panthers couldn’t field playmakers alongside Moore and scored only 31 offensive touchdowns as a team. Hardly an environment conducive to improving on Moore’s consecutive four TD seasons. That streak would continue, as Moore has now scored just four TDs in the past three seasons.
2022 – What’s Next?
The question that needs to be answered is: Who will be the Panthers’ primary QB? Sam Darnold is back to try and convince everyone that he’s a good NFL QB. However, Carolina also drafted Matt Corral in the 3rd Round. Corral is not an NFL-caliber QB prospect and will struggle to move from Lane Kiffin’s highly manufactured spread offense at Ole Miss to an NFL offense. Though, new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s offense isn’t complicated by NFL standards.
If you’re head coach Matt Rhule and GM Scott Fitterer, and your owner is getting impatient for your squad actually to win, are you OK with this QB room? I’m guessing once training camp rolls around and Jimmy Garoppolo’s shoulder is healed, Fitterer and John Lynch may have a conversation. A healthy Jimmy G would instantly become the best passer D.J. Moore has played with in his illustrious NFL career and could unlock his true WR1 ceiling.
An improved Sam Darnold could theoretically unlock that upside, too, but I’m not holding my breath for that. Moore currently has a WR16 ADP in Underdog Fantasy Best Ball drafts. Some say that’s undeserved since it’s a higher ranking than he’s ever finished with, but, again, his consistency has value. Getting guaranteed WR2 production at any draft position past WR12 has value. D.J. Moore has a safe floor and a QB upgrade would only provide additional upside.
A Look Inside the Carolina Panthers
Editor’s Note: While we asked our writers to focus on one player, we don’t want to leave you hanging on the rest of the team. While Joel focuses on DJ Moore in fantasy football, here is a quick look at the rest of the Giants, prepared by either Josh Hudson or Ryan Weisse
Sam Darnold – Kenny Pickett’s spirit animal is the current nominal starter. Maybe we shouldn’t have said that. (Joel) Darnold flashed fantasy value early in 2021, but that flash quickly fizzled. His success was mainly due to a rushing upside, and you cannot trust or bet on a repeat. Even in 2-leagues, your goal is to draft QBs that won’t lose their job. That is not Darnold. – Ryan Weisse
Christian McCaffrey – Schroedinger’s Superstar. He exists as all possibilities at once. He’s simultaneously the RB1 and injured & out for the year. The only way to collapse the wave function is to draft him and open the box. (Joel) The real question surrounding CMC is what price you are willing to pay. In 99% of leagues, Jonathan Taylor will be the first pick, but happens at number 2? McCaffrey should still probably be that pick, as his scoring upside rivals most QBs. – Ryan Weisse
Chuba Hubbard – Handcuffing is only worthwhile if the replacement is actually good. Hubbard wasn’t. (Joel) Hubbard’s fantasy value primarily comes down to your belief in CMC’s health. If you’re banking on 17 games from McCaffrey, Hubbard holds no value. If CMC misses time, Hubbard will again be involved in the passing game and was an RB3 last year. – Ryan Weisse
D’onta Foreman – Unless Cam Akers regains his old form, Foreman will be the best-case scenario for RBs who suffer Achilles tears. (Joel) Signs are pointing towards Foreman being McCaffrey’s relief, which could provide TD upside for the big back. He may be the safer handcuff for McCaffrey managers at the end of your fantasy draft, as his role, even if CMC is healthy, and it expands if he gets hurt. – Ryan Weisse
Robby Anderson – It’s incorrect to call him a disappointment. You have to have been actually good at some point to be disappointing. (Joel) Fantasy managers set themselves up for failure last season with a flawed narrative. We accepted that Darnold’s pre-existing relationship with Anderson would bare fantasy fruit…just like it did in New York…oh, wait. Anderson is a boom or bust or bust or bust guy and is only worth a late pick in best ball. – Ryan Weisse
Terrace Marshall – Rookie WRs who do nothing in year one aren’t good bets to be long-term contributors. He needs a QB upgrade as much as anyone. (Joel) There just aren’t enough targets to go around. The team will throw the ball to DJ Moore and Christian McCaffrey over 100 times. Robby Anderson will also approach 100. The tight ends and secondary backs get another 100. That’s 400 off the top and very little for Terrace Marshall and the backup wideouts. The team also added Rashard Higgins, who may put Marshall out of a job. – Ryan Weisse
Tommy Tremble, Ian Thomas – Nope. (Joel and Ryan)
We hope you enjoyed our look at DJ Moore for fantasy football this season. You can find all of our A Look Inside articles here!
If you’re prepping for your dynasty drafts, you can also find our rookie consensus rankings here if you’re preparing for your dynasty drafts!