The 49ers are taking a chance with Randy Moss, but will fantasy owners? Of course. For every questionable move an NFL team makes, fantasy owners will exponentially follow. Moss is a household fantasy name, but the key is to determine his true value. Perception is truth and the Niners supposedly have a weak-armed QB on a team built around the run.
Moss has a career stat line of 954 receptions for 14,858 yards and 153 TDs in 13 seasons. While impressive, his final season in 2010 wasn't. Starting the season with the Patriots, he was traded to the Vikings and then got caught in a game of egos with Brad Childress. His season ended without fanfare in Tennessee. His 2010 stats? A meager 28-393-5 on 63 targets. A far cry from expectations. The previous three seasons, he posted 47 TDs. But they say when a receiver goes, he goes quickly — and that's the issue with Moss. Is he done physically, or is he done physically because he doesn't want to do what it takes to remain at an elite level like Jerry Rice did? With his talent, I believe it's the latter.
Many believe the Niners can't go vertical. But take a step back. We haven't seen a good enough receiving corp in S.F. to say Smith can't get the job done with a vertical weapon in place. Coming out of college, PFW draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki noted Smith had good, but not great, arm strength.
Teams don't throw deep every other pass and only go deep a few times a game at most. It's not like Moss has one job; to run fast and run far. He has a career average of 15.6 yards — not 50.6. Smith is also accurate, as we saw with a great throw and catch to TE Vernon Davis against the Saints in the playoffs, and he's good with his feet, which will buy extra time to find his receivers. Don't sell him short yet.
The 49ers may be a run-first team, but they learned firsthand they can't sustain that effectively all season without improving the passing attack. Moss will help open up the offense and should help Michael Crabtree, who finally showed some of his talent in 2011. Bringing Moss in helps, as teams will have to respect his deep threat, which could put Crabtree in favorable matchups. Look for his value to jump, but don't overvalue him, as Crabtree has yet to post and show the talent that made him the 10th overall pick in the 2009 draft. View him as a low-end No. 2 with upside right now.
While others may say he has no value, I will gladly take a chance on him as a No. 3 fantasy WR with upside and will look for him in the late middle-rounds. Make sure you keep an eye on his ADP (average draft position) and do not overreach for him and temper expectations. We do need to be practical, as there are legitimate reasons to believe he's done based on age and attitude on the field — he's been known not to give 100 percent. My point is simply not to write him off and ignore him on draft day. Every player eventually has value depending where they fall in a draft.
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