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Countdown to 2021 fantasy football drafts: D.J. Moore No. 47

D.J. Moore comes in at 47 in our fantasy football rankings countdown to the 2021 NFL season.

Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore (12) throws the ball back during pre-game warm ups before a game against the Arizona Cardinals at Bank of America Stadium.  Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

D.J. Moore is a talented receiver who hasn’t had a great passing quarterback so far in his career. But he has still put up good numbers in his short career. This season he’ll get yet another quarterback in Sam Darnold. His numbers have been held back due to a dearth of touchdowns. Will this be the season he finally starts finding the end zone with more regularity?

To commemorate the 2021 NFL season, we’ll be counting down the 75 best fantasy football players in the league. Picking a Top 75 is subjective, especially when you are projecting a whole season of accumulated fantasy points, but that’s part of the fun. We’ll assume what I see as an average league, which is 12 teams, .5 PPR scoring and a roster of 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, & 1RB/WR/TE. Kickers and defenses need not apply.

Change is the nature of the NFL beast, so trades and injuries will likely impact this list as we go along, but hey, this isn’t rocket science. We’re here to have a little fun and build up some much needed anticipation for a league cast in the shadow by baseball, soccer, hockey, etc. Sarcasm aside, the NFL is addictive and we’re here to give your daily fix as we close in on the season.

The official and often updated fantasy football drafting tiers can be found here.

No. 47, D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers, WR

Moore has topped 1,175 receiving yards in each of his last two seasons but got there in different ways in those seasons. Last season Moore only had 66 receptions, but averaged 18.1 yards per receptions with Teddy Bridgewater as his quarterback and Matt Rhule as his head coach. The previous season he had 87 receptions and averaged just 13.5 yards per reception with Kyle Allen as his main quarterback and Ron Rivera as his head coach.

Competition for touches

The biggest competition for targets in Carolina are Robby Anderson and Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey missed much of last season, but Mike Davis and Curtis Samuel took on the shorter receiving work. They are both gone now and a healthy McCaffrey should get those. Anderson led the way last season with 137 targets to Moore’s 118 and Samuel’s 97. Moore still led the team in receiving yards, as he was a deeper threat than Anderson. We should see those two split the bulk of the receiver targets this season.

Team offensive expectations

Expectations with Darnold coming in to take over for Bridgewater are slightly elevated, but aren’t over the moon. But there are high expectations for offensive coordinator Joe Brady and the hope is that Darnold will be an easier quarterback to help him run his offense. This seems like a possibility at least and I expect there is more upside in this offense than some think

What’s his upside?

Moore’s upside is great if Darnold can open the offense up under the guidance of Brady. Bridgewater only threw 10 touchdowns to his wide receivers last season. Bridgewater’s arm is limited compared to Darnold, while Darnold’s decision making is limited. For fantasy I’ll take the better arm so his receivers can at least get a chance to make plays and I expect that to happen in Carolina this season.

What’s his downside?

There’s plenty of downside in Carolina with Darnold coming into the fold. He just hasn’t shown enough to be 100 percent in on him turning the offense up a notch. If the offense can’t get moving, Moore will have trouble hitting his upside.

Projection

80 receptions, 120 targets, 1150 yards, 8 touchdowns