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Breakout Candidate: D.J. Moore

By Jared Smola 12:07pm EDT 7/3/19

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What You Need to Know:

  • Among 82 WRs with 50+ targets last year, Moore ranked 1st in yards-after-catch average, 15th in yards per target and 28th in yards per route run.
  • Over his final 10 games, he ranked 21st among WRs in PPR points and 24th in non-PPR.
  • Devin Funchess’ departure frees up 79 targets (14% of the team total) from last year.

A promising rookie campaign

Moore turned in a nice 55-788-2 line and 36th-place PPR finish as a rookie. But the underlying numbers were even more encouraging.

Moore ranked 36th in PPR points despite finishing just 45th among WRs with 82 targets. He was super efficient, hauling in 67.1% of his targets and averaging 14.3 yards per catch. Those marks ranked 28th and 24th, respectively, among 82 WRs with 50+ targets last year. Moore ranked 15th in that group in yards per target and 28th in yards per route run.

The rookie was especially impressive after the catch. Only 10 WRs racked up more YAC than Moore’s 427 yards. And among those 82 WRs with 50+ targets, none averaged more yards after the catch than Moore’s 7.9. He also put his open-field ability on display by taking 13 carries for 172 yards — a big 13.2 per-carry average.

Moore didn’t hit a 50% snap rate in any of his first 6 games last season. But he topped 70% in each of the last 10. Over that stretch, he averaged 4.2 catches, 59.7 yards and .1 TD per game — plus 12.6 rushing yards per game. Moore ranked 21st among WRs in PPR points during that time and 24th in non-PPR.

2019 outlook

There’s room for more in 2019. It’s fair to expect the 22-year-old Moore to take a step forward in his 2nd NFL season. The departure of Devin Funchess frees up 79 targets (14% of the team total) from last year. Moore will benefit from continuity with the return of OC Norv Turner. And he’s a virtual lock for positive TD regression after scoring on just 3.6% of his catches last year.

The only real concern is QB Cam Newton’s throwing shoulder. He had surgery in January to clean out scar tissue that was affecting his range of motion. It was his 2nd surgery on that right shoulder, following a March 2017 operation to repair a partially torn rotator cuff.

The good news is that Newton’s rehab has seemingly gone smoothly. He resumed throwing in May and is expected to be ready for the start of training camp. Hopefully for Moore’s sake we get a better Newton in 2019 than the one who struggled over the 2nd half of last season.

Draft Sharks Bottom Line:

Moore turned in a highly efficient rookie campaign, ranking 15th in yards per target and 28th in yards per route run among 82 WRs with 50+ targets. He was a monster after the catch, leading those 82 WRs with a 7.9 yards-after-catch average.

Moore ranked 21st among WRs in PPR points and 24th in non-PPR over his final 10 games last season. He could best that production in year 2, especially with Devin Funchess out of the picture.

The risk comes in the form of QB Cam Newton’s right shoulder, which has been operated on twice in the past 3 years. But if he’s healthy, Moore looks like a high-upside WR2.

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