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Second-Year Scouting Report: Elijah Moore

NFL Fantasy



Nick Makowitz

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Rookies get all the attention. They’re the flashy new piece that could be anything. And then a class of rookies comes through and they’re old news, replaced by the next flashy, new thing. But last year’s rookies aren’t gone, and in many cases, they’re going to be even better than the exciting new pieces that are just showing up.


Of course, sometimes they won’t be, and that matters too. So as we head toward training camp, preseason and then the start of the 2022 NFL season, we’re taking a look at last year’s rookie class. What did we think about last year’s rookie class? What worked? What didn’t? And what’s the prognosis for them going forward?

Elijah Moore, WR, New York Jets

Elijah Moore played three seasons at Ole Miss, and the moment that put him on the map for casual football fans actually had nothing to do with his receiving ability. In 2019, against rival Mississippi State, Moore scored a late touchdown, and his celebration was…interesting (and costly).

Ultimately, Moore redeemed himself during his junior year by dominating with 86 receptions, 1,193 yards and 8 touchdowns in just eight games. The New York Jets liked his impressive speed and ability to create separation so much that they spent the 34th overall pick in the draft on him.

He was limited by injury and caught passes from a trio of subpar quarterbacks, but Moore managed to finish as the WR31 in half-PPR points per game in his rookie season.


What Went Right

Elijah Moore played 11 games as a rookie, and if we could eliminate the first five, he would’ve finished as the WR5 in half-PPR points per game. Some rookies, and plenty of wide receivers, take a boom-or-bust path to gaudy numbers. Moore, however, recorded at least 6 catches and 67 yards or a touchdown in five of his final six games. In other words, he was startable every week except for one in that span.

Over the course of the season, Moore was targeted on 24% of his routes and led the Jets with a 19% target share. In Weeks 8-13, though, he was targeted on 27% of his routes – seventh among WRs with at least 25 targets – and he commanded a team-leading 23% target share for New York.

What was even better about his frequent targets is that they often came on his quarterback’s first read. Per FTNBets advanced receiving stats and PFF, Moore was targeted as the first read on 19.5% of his total routes in 2021, good for 15th in the NFL and a higher rate than Stefon Diggs, Ja’Marr Chase and CeeDee Lamb.

It’s clear that Moore established himself as the alpha and forced the Jets to design plays for him before his season came to a halt due to a quad injury.

Elijah Moore 2022 Fantasy Football Second-Year Scouting Report

What Went Wrong

We started with the end of the season, so now we’ll backtrack to the beginning. As good as Moore was in Weeks 8-13, he was as bad or worse in Weeks 1-7 (maybe not the Week 6 bye). He played five games in that span and accumulated a mind-numbing 82 receiving yards. His 0.81 yards per route run would have ranked third worst among all NFL receivers with at least 50 targets if it were applied to the full season. 

Perhaps what’s more concerning about Moore’s first two months is that all of those games came with Zach Wilson under center. In seven total games with Wilson, Moore averaged 2.7 receptions, 29 receiving yards and 0.14 touchdowns per game. In four games without Wilson, he averaged 6 receptions, 84 yards and 1 touchdown per game.

He did put up a 6-77-1 line on 12 targets in his last game with Wilson before the season-ending injury, but the Jets surely would’ve liked their franchise quarterback and most talented wide receiver to have a better connection.

Prognosis Entering 2022

Heading into 2022, the fantasy community is torn on Elijah Moore, and rightfully so. On one hand, Moore is an awesome talent, proved he can be a fantasy star for an elongated stretch and will have a full offseason under his belt. 

On the other hand, he mustered up one good performance in seven tries with the Jets’ franchise QB, and now he faces more competition for targets. New York spent a top-10 draft pick on Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson and added Iowa State standout Breece Hall at running back. Is there really enough to go around for everyone in this offense?

Probably not, but that’s why Moore’s ADP sits in the seventh or eighth round. The offense should improve considering the influx of talent, but Zach Wilson ultimately caps any Jets receiver’s upside. A bet on Moore is a bet that his skill and ability can overcome a murky situation. A bet against Moore is a bet that he can’t establish himself as the one or that Zach Wilson is so bad that he can’t consistently support any receiving options.

I’m not a fan of Zach Wilson, but I love Elijah Moore as a real-life football player. He’s already flashed top-five fantasy upside with Mike White and Joe Flacco under center, so it’s not as if he and Wilson can’t do it together. As late as he’s being drafted, he doesn’t have to be a weekly starter, either. That’s a great spot to take a chance on a young player who has already proven he can produce regardless of the situation.

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