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Old-school fantasy commitment to 49ers' Moss could pay off

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Dan Arkush
Executive editor

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Posted Aug. 02, 2012 @ 3:57 p.m. ET
By Dan Arkush

Wondering about what the reasonable fantasy expectations are for Randy Moss, who certainly has wasted no time taking Niners Nation by storm, despite his one-year hiatus from the NFL?

Me, too.

And the more I wonder about the surefire future Hall of Fame wideout’s fantasy value in 2012, the more intrigued I become.

At the very least, I’m thinking, an old-school fantasy flier on Moss would net me a very serviceable third or fourth wide receiver who, according to multiple daily observers, has played well enough so far this offseason to get a pretty decent shot to strut whatever stuff he might have left in his 35-year-old tank (he turns 36 in February).

As for the best-case scenario, Moss becomes far more than an occasional big-play threat in spot situations and firmly establishes himself as the Niners’ No. 1 wideout — a scenario that could result in him becoming a solid No. 1 or No. 2 fantasy WR target with double-digit TD potential.

You know, like the old Randy Moss, the guy who is tied for second in league history with 153 TDs over 13 often-brilliant seasons with four different teams. After excelling in a personal audition with Niners head coach and former NFL QB Jim Harbaugh, he signed a one-year deal with the Niners last March.

It’s worth noting that Michael Crabtree, the Niners’ No. 1 WR in 2011 who has had big problems staying on the field in each of his four offseasons, had missed four consecutive practices with an unspecified leg injury at this writing.

Which is not to say Crabtree would otherwise be ahead of Moss on the depth chart.

Entering August, Moss sure was looking like QB Alex Smith’s top target, making eye-turning catches downfield on a regular basis in early training-camp action, in addition to wasting no time becoming the revered leader of the Niners’ impressionable WR corps (Moss is eight years older than any of the team’s other wideouts).

That Moss has been such a class act in his new surroundings, setting a stellar example, sitting in the front row at team meetings, attentively taking notes, is not normally a noteworthy point worth making in a fantasy column.

But considering all the well-documented mental meltdowns that were more often than not on display his last couple of seasons in the NFL before his 2011 vanishing act, Moss’ latest attitude adjustment could indeed have genuine fantasy significance.

Clearly, he’s a very happy camper, perhaps never happier. Could that really make a difference fantasy-wise this coming season?

The more I think about it, and keep hearing about all the highlight-reel catches he’s been making in practice sessions this summer, I’d have to say the answer is probably in the affirmative.

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