Can D.J. Moore be a number one fantasy receiver in 2020?

Despite a new head coach and QB, Phillip Caldwell takes advanced metrics to show how D.J. Moore is going to be a WR1 in fantasy for 2020.

Despite a hodgepodge of backup quarterbacks and a struggling offense in 2019, D.J. Moore’s consistency was a soothing balm for many fantasy GM’s. But with a new head coach, a new quarterback under center, and speedster Robby Anderson added to the mix, there have been a lot of questions this offseason as to how Moore is going to perform for fantasy football in 2020. Can Moore be a true number one on your roster?

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Moore’s Sophomore Season

In his second year in the NFL, Moore took the step forward he needed to cement himself in the lead role for the Carolina Panthers. Logging 53 more targets than his rookie year, Moore commanded 135 total targets, pulled in 87 receptions for 1,175 yards, four receiving touchdowns, and racked up 66 first downs. Add to that a handful of carries for an additional 40 yards on the ground, and you have the 18th ranked receiver in half-point PPR scoring formats at year-end.

With the additional volume, from 5.13 targets per game to nine, there was the expected dip in efficiency as his yards per reception dropped from 14.3 to 13.5. He also suffered in catch percentage, sliding from 67.1% to 64.4%. Whereas both of these decreases were slight, we also cannot discount the fact that he had Kyle Allen throwing the majority of those passes, a hobbled Cam Newton, and someone they seemingly pulled off the street named Will Grier. Considering the quarterback woes for the Panthers in 2019, Moore’s performance and consistency should be applauded.

Moore’s Fantasy Analytics

Relative Athletic Score

Coming out of Maryland in 2018, expectations were high for Moore. After racking up 146 receptions, 2,027 yards, and 18 total touchdowns in the Big Ten, Moore showed out at the NFL Combine. He showed “Elite” explosion numbers, “Great” speed numbers, and “Good” in both size and agility, earning him a Relative Athletic Score (RAS) score of 9.65 out of 10. Since 1987, this score ranks 71 out of 2,028 receivers and has Moore in the 97th percentile among receivers. As a result, the Panthers selected Moore with the 24th overall pick.

Consistency Score

Moore scored an impressive 5.69 Consistency Score (CS), which ranked fifth among all receivers and was nearly two points higher than his rookie campaign. Finishing as a top-24 receiver in 60% of games played, while averaging 12.47 fantasy points per game, made Moore one of the safest plays in all of fantasy last season, and that should continue in 2020.

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While typically an extreme change in an offensive system would have me concerned for a player’s CS moving forward, that’s not the case for Moore in 2020. Between the way new head coach Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Joe Brady call plays, and with improved quarterback play from Teddy Bridgewater who excels at the quick release, I expect Moore’s workload and production to stay at the same level, if not increase this year.

What can D.J. Moore produce for fantasy in 2020?

Bridgewater seems like the quarterback to propel Moore into PPR stardom. Moore made much of his production close to the line of scrimmage, as his 11.1 average depth of target (aDOT) ranked 43rd out of all receivers with 50 or more targets last year. All the while, he made most of that production on his own, racking up 403 yards after the catch, which ranked eighth among all receivers and 22nd overall among all position players. His Receiver Air Conversion Ratio (RACR), which measures how efficient a receiver is, at his depth of target, was 0.78, or 28th among all receivers.

Meanwhile, Bridgewater’s 6.2 average intended air yards ranked dead last among all quarterbacks with a minimum of 128 pass attempts. He also holds the last-place ranking in the Next Gen Stat “Air Yards to the Sticks” with a -3.3. This stat measures the number of air yards ahead or behind the first down marker, indicating if the quarterback is pushing the ball past the first down marker, or letting his receivers catch the ball and then getting yards after the catch. This all points to the fact that Bridgewater is going to get the ball out of his hands fast and Moore is going to be his six-foot, 210-pound security blanket.

I have Moore projected for 145 targets, 95 receptions, 1,300 yards, and six touchdowns for 261 fantasy points in 2020. That would have made him the seventh-best wide receiver in fantasy last season and clearly a number one for your roster.

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