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Fantasy football player profile: D.J. Moore

NFL Fantasy



(As fantasy football dives headlong into draft season, some players warrant a little extra attention. All August, Dom Cintorino and Adam Pfeifer will do deep dives into some of the notable names. Follow along with our player profiles series. Today’s profile: D.J. Moore)

Fantasy football value 2021 – D.J. Moore

D.J. Moore is really, really good at football. And he hasn’t even scratched the surface yet.

Despite catching 21 fewer passes in 2020 than in 2019, Moore still recorded 1,193 receiving yards, up from 1,175; he’s been 11th and ninth in receiving yards over the last two seasons. The touchdowns, however, have been very underwhelming — he has just 10 receiving touchdowns through his first three seasons. There is room to grow in that department, and assuming he improves there, Moore has massive potential.

In 2020, he was used a bit differently than he had been in the past, as Moore was used way more down the field in Joe Brady’s offense. Two years ago, Moore averaged 9.1 yards before the catch per reception, a number that jumped up to 12.3 this past season. Meanwhile, his average depth of target jumped from 11.7 yards to 13.6, while his 10.1 yards per target ranked ninth among all wide receivers. That gave him a strong yardage floor — Moore recorded at least 70 yards in eight different games last year — but the catch rate dropped from 64% to 55%. Teddy Bridgewater struggled with the deep ball at times, while his first read was actually Robby Anderson more often than it was Moore, as Anderson sported a 27% first read share, eighth in all of football. Meanwhile, 7.1% of Bridgewater’s pass attempts were to the deep left portion of the field, which was a bottom-eight rate among all quarterbacks. That is where Moore ran a high percentage of his routes.

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Now in 2021, there are reasons to be hopeful for a true breakout season from Moore. For starters, I think we see him play more in the slot, which could be massive. Moore operated out of the slot around 20% of the time, an absurdly low number. Curtis Samuel, now in Washington, lined up in the slot around 60% of the time. Rookie receiver Terrace Marshall played inside a lot last year at LSU, but I don’t think he lines up in the slot nearly as much in the NFL, which should push Moore inside more often. And because Moore is dangerous after the catch, getting him higher-percentage targets is important and should easily improve that catch rate from last year. Moore averaged a strong 6.02 yards after the catch per reception last year, ninth among all receivers with at least 50 targets. If Moore can play in the slot closer to 40-45% of the time, it could do wonders or his overall potential.

Of course, what Moore might really need to unlock that full ceiling is to find the end zone more often. Last season, Moore was responsible for 37.5% of Carolina’s end zone targets, the second-highest rate in the league (per FTN’s advanced receiving stats). However, he failed to catch a single pass in the end zone, while the Panthers entire offense struggled from in close, scoring touchdowns on just 50% of their red zone trips, which was a bottom-five rate in football. Given his tremendous yardage totals every year, if Moore can just improve a little bit on his touchdowns, the sky is truly the limit.

Per FTN’s projections, Moore is expected to catch 77 passes, 11 more than he did in 2020. Again, the targets should be better, with more coming closer to the line of scrimmage, which will naturally improve the catch percentage. The 6.0 projected touchdowns certainly aren’t anything to write home about but considering he’s found the end zone four times in each of the last two seasons, those additional two touchdowns would be very welcoming. Moore is also projected to finish with the ninth-most receiving yards, which is pretty much where he’s been over the past few seasons. 

Fantasy football ADP stock watch – D.J. Moore

At the moment, Moore is being drafted anywhere between WR15 and WR20. Personally, I am drafting him well before that range, as I expect him to have a very good season. He is someone I am very comfortable drafting higher than his ADP suggests and in leagues where I select running backs with each of my first two selections, I have zero issue with Moore as my WR1. But if you go with a receiver-heavy approach, it is possible to select Moore as your WR3, which is just absurd. Moore is coming off the board right around receivers such as Cooper Kupp, Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, and after that trio, I do believe there is a dropoff in terms of receiver tiers. I have Moore closer to the WR12 than the WR20, placing him firmly on my radar.

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NFL fantasy football ranking – D.J. Moore

(Check out Jeff Ratcliffe’s top 100 0.5 PPR rankings.)

Our consensus rankings have Moore slotted in as the WR15, with Jeff Ratcliffe and me ranking him the highest, WR12 and WR13, respectively. And while I may be alone here, I have Moore ahead of both high-end Dallas wide receivers and also ahead of both Tampa Bay and Los Angeles Rams wideouts. It may seem aggressive but after looking at the advanced numbers, on top of how already talented Moore is, I truly believe there is a path to a top-10 finish at the receiver position that isn’t quite there with other receivers around him. 

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