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Fantasy football players you're drafting too early: D.J. Moore

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So you're about to have your fantasy draft. Or you're thinking about doing a fantasy draft. If you already had your draft, sorry 'bout your luck. You shoulda hit me up sooner to do this. Not that I would have ... but at least you would've asked. And that would have been nice. Sorry, where was I?

Right ... drafts. Anyway, when you're prepping for your upcoming leagues, there are probably more than a few players that you're considering adding to your board. I'm here to tell you that you might be doing it wrong. That's okay, no judgment. We've all been there. Allow me to offer some constructive criticism. Last week, I wrote about five undervalued players. This week, I'm serving up a few players that you're probably too high on. They might not kill your chances of winning a league but they might not help as much as you'd like. I'm just here to help.

Let's get started.

ADPs taken from Fantasy Football Calculator.


D.J. Moore (WR26; ADP 5.09)


Okay, because I know you're thinking it, let's just get this video out of the way.

Now that we've gotten that done, let's get down to the real business of talking about D.J. Moore. When I started thinking about this list, I saw his name and ADP and didn't think much about it. Moore had a few nice games last season and essentially took over from the disappointing Devin Funchess as the top receiver in the Panthers offense.

But I kept seeing chatter about Curtis Samuel. The ringleader of this fantasy sewing circle was my pal (and Reception Perception guru) Matt Harmon, who started the talk pretty early. Plenty of other smart people whom I respect jumped on board so I figured it was worth looking into. I know the Internet looks down upon people who change their opinion on things after listening to cogent arguments from others. Also, I don't care.

Maybe it's that we're drafting D.J. Moore too early because we're thinking about Curtis Samuel too late. Or maybe it's the other way around. Either way, we may be basing our hopes for this year based on the events of last year. That's not a completely ludicrous way of thinking but it might not be the best way to go for Carolina's wideouts this year.

Begin with the obvious. Christian McCaffrey occupied a lot of the oxygen in the Panthers' offense last year. CMC had more than three times the touches of the next closest Carolina player (Cam Newton) in 2018 and that's not expected to change in 2019. That immediately limits the rest of the pie for the remaining skill position players.

Then there's the matter of Curtis Samuel. Anecdotally, Samuel has been the talk of Panthers training camp, earning big praise from head coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Statistically, there are some keys that suggest bigger things for Samuel -- notably a greater average depth of target (12.7 vs 9.7 for Samuel) and air yards per target average (11.8 vs 9.8). While Moore had a decent advantage in target share (15 percent vs 12 percent), that gap could close this year.

Over the final seven games of last season, he averaged slightly more than seven targets and 67 receiving yards per game. The problem is that over Samuel's final seven games in 2018, he also averaged about seven targets for 53 yards per game while scoring more touchdowns. So this isn't to say that Moore is bad or will wreck your fantasy season. It's just that you might end up with comparable fantasy production while having to pay a notably higher draft price.

And if someone could show this article to Steve Smith before he has his fantasy draft, it would be much appreciated.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy analyst for NFL.com and a man who is going to eventually get around to clearing out his email inbox. Right after he empties his voicemail box. Be patient. Send him your tales of avoiding communication or fantasy questions on Twitter @MarcasG.

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