The Carolina Panthers took D.J. Moore with the #24 overall pick in the 1st round of the 2018 NFL draft, and he came through last season with his first 1,000+ yard campaign. The Panthers will transition to Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback this season, and they added Robby Anderson at quarterback. However, D.J. Moore is still the clear-cut number one passing weapon (non-Christian McCaffrey category). Is Moore primed for a third-year breakout with a new guy under center?
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The fact that D.J. Moore was able to finish as a top-16 wide receiver in fantasy football despite suffering from inconsistent play from Cam Newton, Kyle Allen, and Will Grier at quarterback is incredibly impressive. Moore had a massive target share – 135 total – and had eight games with 10+ targets. He had four games with 100+ receiving yards and was particularly impressive during November when he had 30 catches for 442 yards and two touchdowns in 4 games. Moore was the first receiver off the board in 2018, and he proved his talent last season with awesome production despite an inconsistent offense around him.
D.J Moore 2019-2020 Highlights pic.twitter.com/AyKguxmYGm
— Luke (@lukettrev) April 13, 2020
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Carolina quarterbacks had a total completion percentage of just 60.3% and a passer rating of 74.7. Teddy Bridgewater will immediately be an upgrade on the production they got last season, as he has a career 65.2% completion and 88.3 passer rating. The Panthers defense is going to struggle this year, putting them in a lot of real game scripts to feature the passing game. Joe Brady, the former LSU passing game coordinator, is now the offensive coordinator in Carolina and should improve their offensive production. These are all factors that should lend themselves to a heavy dose of D.J. Moore in 2020, and with improved play under center, he should put together substantial numbers. His targets could decrease with the addition of Robby Anderson, and Christian McCaffrey is still the offensive focal point, but with increased efficiency, he could perform even better this season.
Average Draft Position
Auction Value: $29
D.J. Moore is currently being drafted in the middle of the third round, which feels about right for his potential. He isn’t quite a high-end WR1 due to the limited downfield passing ability of Teddy Bridgewater and the number of touches CMC will undoubtedly receive, but he’s a safe bet to return low-end WR1, high-end WR2 numbers.
D.J. Moore saw 135 targets last year, which I have a hard time projecting him to repeat. His baseline for targets is likely around the 110-120 range, as Anderson should do more damage cutting into Curtis Samuel’s receptions as well as Greg Olsen’s vacated targets. With 110 targets, Moore would likely still be good for about 75 receptions and just over 1,000 yards. He’s probably due for some positive touchdown regression this season, but McCaffrey’s involvement in the red zone likely keeps him at around five touchdowns.
Could D.J. Moore finish as a top-five receiver in 2020? 1,175 yards with the pupu platter of mediocre quarterbacking the Panthers featured showed that he might just be quarterback-proof. With increased efficiency expected from Bridgewater and an offense that only produced the best college season out of a quarterback of all time, the Panthers could improve offensively in a big way next year. If Moore can garner the same target share (135) and increase his catch percentage to 70%, he could be set for 95 receptions and close to 1,500 yards. Regardless of his touchdown output, those numbers would place him among the top ten receivers from last season. Moore should be a safe bet to return top-15 value at receiver, with the upside for so much more.
D.J. Moore has some touchdown regression coming his way – Of all NFL players within their first two seasons that have accumulated at least 140 receptions and 1900 receiving yards no player has scored fewer touchdowns (6) than Moore. Next closest player was Jarvis Landry (9) pic.twitter.com/BuI99Avz1G
— Andrew Erickson™ (@AndrewErickson_) April 16, 2020
Carolina Panthers Offense
The Panthers’ offense lives and dies by Christian McCaffrey’s explosiveness, and his dominance last season inspired defenses to put eight men in the box on almost 25% of the team’s plays. With Robby Anderson now providing an over-the-top home run threat (career 14.8 yards per reception), the defense will be even further stretched out in 2020. The Panthers’ offensive line needs some serious help, though, as they allowed the most sacks in the NFL in 2019. Matt Rhule and Joe Brady should wildly improve this team’s offensive schematics, and if Moore can produce in the crapshoot of last year’s team, then he should be just fine in this offense.
Strength Of Schedule
The NFC South should be a division of lots of offense and little defense. The Panthers will match up with the Falcons, Buccaneers, and Saints each twice and all of those games figure to feature explosive, high-scoring potential. Outside their division, the Panthers will also take on the Cardinals, Raiders, and Lions, who ranked among the top-ten in most fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. The Broncos, Chargers, and Bears figure to have among the best pass defenses in the league, but outside of those teams, the Panthers’ schedule doesn’t look too intimidating. The Vikings just lost their three top corners, and the Packers ranked middle-of-the-pack in just about every defensive metric last year. The NFC South matchups should be among the highest-scoring division rivalry games in 2020, and D.J. Moore figures to be a big part of that.
The Panthers are going to be a gross team in 2020, as their defense is reeling after allowing the 2nd-most points in the league and losing about half of their starters. Teddy Bridgewater is a serviceable player, but he’s not the type of explosive threat that carries a team on his own. And yet, with Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore in tow, the organization may have two top ten options at their respective positions for fantasy. Moore should benefit from a better offensive scheme, increased efficiency from Bridgewater, and a worse defense, all providing positive game scripts for him to showcase his dynamic receiving ability. He’s a safe bet to return top-15 value and could end up a top-five receiver in 2020.
— RotoUnderworld (@rotounderworld) April 17, 2020
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