DJ Moore’s dynasty value is reaching a point in 2022 where fantasy managers need to make a decision. We know he’s good at football, but he’s yet to translate that talent into fantasy greatness through four seasons. As he enters the prime of his career, how should dynasty fantasy football managers value Moore going forward?
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DJ Moore’s dynasty profile for 2022
After a promising rookie season, Moore broke out as a sophomore in 2019. That year, he averaged 15.4 PPR fantasy points per game, finishing as the WR14 (minimum eight games played).
Moore seemingly checked all the boxes for a continued ascent. Talented. Excellent athletic measurables. Elite college dominance and production. Early collegiate breakout. Second-year NFL breakout. Naturally, fantasy managers expected Moore to continue to rise.
Unfortunately, Moore’s production has seemingly plateaued. He averaged 14.1 ppg in 2020 and 14 ppg in 2021. He’s been a low WR2/high WR3 in fantasy.
Moore’s target share actually rose in 2021. He saw a career-high 28.4% target share, good for 162 targets in 17 games. His target share was the fifth-highest in the NFL.
Despite the increase in volume and two more games played than each of his previous two seasons, Moore had fewer receiving yards (1,157) than he did in his second season (1,175) or third (1,193). He also remains a non-factor in the red zone, scoring precisely 4 touchdowns in three consecutive seasons.
Fantasy managers rightfully place a heavy percentage of the blame on Moore’s dreadful quarterbacks. With that said, the situation doesn’t seem likely to improve anytime soon. Moore is still young, but dynasty managers cannot wait forever. How should they value Moore in 2022 and beyond?
Fantasy projection for Moore
Should we just pencil Moore in for another 1,150-1,200 yards and 4 touchdowns? Moore is incredibly difficult to value in both redraft and dynasty. We know targets are an excellent indicator of talent. If a player is getting targeted at a high rate, it’s because he’s getting open. Moore’s target share suggests he’s one of the most talented wide receivers in the NFL.
In 2020, Moore proved he can be a downfield threat. He averaged 18.1 yards per reception while mainly receiving passes from a supposedly limited Teddy Bridgewater. In 2021, Moore’s yards per reception dropped all the way to 12.4. His average depth of target went from 13.3 to 10.1. That may be on Moore, but I don’t think so.
Neither Sam Darnold, P.J. Walker, nor the 2021 version of Cam Newton is a starting-caliber NFL quarterback. It should be no surprise that Moore’s 57% catch rate is primarily a product of his 70th-ranked catchable target rate.
Here’s the problem. How can we project Moore to be any better in 2022? There is exactly a 0% chance Darnold is the Panthers’ long-term answer at quarterback, and he certainly will not be their starting quarterback in 2023.
Nevertheless, he sure looks like the favorite for 2022. Can dynasty managers tolerate another lost season for Moore? Even if they can, there are no guarantees things will change in 2023.
There are two main factors at play. First, Moore needs a competent quarterback, and we have no idea when or if he will ever get one. Second, if Moore’s ever going to truly be a difference-maker in fantasy, he needs to score more touchdowns. Through four seasons, he doesn’t appear to be someone who will ever be a threat to hit double-digit touchdowns.
What is Moore’s future beyond 2022?
The Panthers extended Moore for four years just last month. He’s now locked in through his age-28 season. Barring an unexpected trade, dynasty managers know Moore’s value rests heavily on how quickly Carolina can fix their QB situation. That ship has seemingly sailed for the 2022 season.
Now, Moore may not get a capable quarterback until his age-26 campaign. The Panthers will likely have a top-five pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, which they should use on a quarterback.
Of course, there’s also a chance the Panthers draft a QB in the first round in this year’s draft. Dynasty managers need whomever the Panthers draft to pan out quickly.
There’s a real risk Moore is entering his age-27 season without an answer at quarterback. At that point, he will firmly be in the back half of his career with possibly very little to show for it from a fantasy perspective.
What can fantasy managers expect from Moore?
Dynasty managers need to think long and hard about Moore’s value. The upside is tantalizing. It’s what’s kept Moore ranked relatively high in dynasty despite just one season of quality production.
If Moore finally gets a quarterback in 2023, how valuable does that make him? Is it worth hanging onto him to see what happens? Or is it better to cut your losses and sell him now? These are the questions dynasty managers need to answer.
For me, Moore is a player I would have no attachment to. It would be a relatively simple evaluation. If I don’t have him, can I acquire him at a reasonable price? If so, I’m willing to gamble on a talented player. And if I already have Moore, is there someone out there willing to overpay?