by Alex Kurpeski
This part of the series is not so much an indictment of D.J Moore’s talent, as the former Maryland standout is one of the most explosive receivers in the NFL and a true No. 1 wideout for the Panthers. My biggest issue with Moore relates to the quarterback position, where he will be relying on the historically sterile arm of Teddy Bridgewater to produce fantasy points. Moore’s 2019 campaign was a truly underrated breakout, shadowed by the historically great season of Moore’s teammate Christian McCaffrey. Moore caught 87/135 targets for 1,175 yards and four touchdown receptions, despite seeing the bulk of his targets from undrafted free agent Kyle Allen.
Now I know what you’re going to say here. How is Teddy Bridgewater a downgrade from Kyle Allen, Alex? Here’s the thing: He’s not. However, Allen’s advanced passing metrics show that he was a more aggressive passer than Bridgewater last season, something that typically leads to a more favorable situation for receivers in fantasy (ask Amari Cooper how he felt trying to produce WR1 numbers with Derek Carr). Here’s a brief look at some categories that standout when comparing Allen and Bridgewater:
- 8.1 intended air yards per-attempt
- 11.0 yards per-completion
- 3,965 intended air yards
- 6.2 intended air yards per-attempt
- 10.4 yards per-completion
- 1,384 air yards (in five games)
Considering we’ve only seen Bridgewater operate as a dink-and-dunk game manager type at the QB position, it’s hard for me to trust him as an aggressive (and desperate) enough passer to buoy Moore to another WR16 finish. Now, I am aware that Bridgewater was working with a Saints offense that relied heavily on short, quick throws to move the ball. This is a bit of a catch-22, as I think this system masked Bridgewater’s flaws while simultaneously leaving some room to debate whether he would succeed outside of the system.
Many Bridgewater supporters have hyped the veteran’s upside up using new Panthers OC Joe Brady as a justification, as Brady was the play-caller for one of the greatest offenses in college football history at LSU last season while working with a passer who was perceived to be similarly limited (Joe Burrow). However, a one-year sample size isn’t enough to crown Brady as one of the league’s best offensive minds. We’ve seen many great college coaches fail to translate their success to the NFL with much longer resumes. It’s more likely than not that this offense will hit some really rough patches this season, with Moore likely taking the biggest hit of any incumbent playmakers.
Interestingly enough, 70.5% of Moore’s receptions came with 10+ yards to go on downs, which tells me that he will only be relied upon when the team finds themselves on 1st and 10’s and on longer yardage downs. Considering Bridgewater is a passer who tends to chip away at yardage with shorter throws, my takeaway is that Brady will need to figure out some new ways to get Moore involved in the passing game if the team hopes to improve his numbers once again. Operating from a glass half-empty perspective, I’m going to assume that this will not happen and Moore will become a casualty of inconvenience. The addition of Robby Anderson should also factor into Moore’s diminished target share this season.
- 70 receptions (-17 from 2019)
- 112 targets (-23 from 2019)
- 965 receiving yards (-190 from 2019)
- 3 receiving TDs (-1 from 2019)
- 184.5 fantasy points ~WR27 (-11 spots from 2019)
While Moore is an excellent player, I think he may hit a bump in the road this season.