Moss still has plenty left in the tank for fantasy owners

Should Randy Moss still be considered an elite fantasy wide receiver?

The fall can come quickly and precipitously for a superstar NFL wideout. One minute he's the apple of every fantasy owner's eye, and the next minute he's waiver-wire fodder.

Just ask Terrell Owens.

Such an over-the-cliff drop is usually a direct result of a pass catcher's change in team, change in quarterback, or advancing age. So where does that leave Moss for 2010?

Team? Well, Moss is back for his fourth season with the Patriots -- even if it turns out to be (as he has suggested in the offseason) his last with the team.

Quarterback? Tom Brady will continue to throw him the football. He passed for 4,398 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2009 and by Kickoff Weekend will be nearly two full calendar years removed from a major knee injury. That ailment should no longer be anything more than a blip on his Hall-of-Fame resume.

Age? Okay, this one could be a problem. At 33, it is tempting to consider Moss a candidate to break down. Torry Holt, now Moss' teammate, was 33 when he completely fell off the fantasy radar screen in Jacksonville. While the latter part of Moss' 2009 season was not nearly as good as the early part, remember that he did suffer a separated shoulder against the Broncos in Week 5.

To his credit, Moss played through the injury and never used it as a crutch, as easy as it would have been. He still finished with 1,264 receiving yards, tied for the league lead with 13 touchdown catches and was second in fantasy points at his position on NFL.com.

Now, Moss is presumably healthy while teammate Wes Welker isn't at full strength, rehabbing his injured knee. If Welker is out, there are still enough weapons in the Patriots' arsenal to take some of the attention away from Moss -- but few to take away his touchdowns.

We all know Moss' reputation for giving, well, less than maximum effort when his head is not in the right place. But that hasn't been as much of an issue with the Patriots as it was during his forgettable tenure in Oakland. Oh, and don't forget that Moss will also be motivated to produce to earn a potential contract extension.

Bottom line: Until he proves otherwise, Moss is still one of the best wide receivers in fantasy football.

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