NY Jets rookie wide receiver Elijah Moore enters his fantasy football career with a tempting 2021 outlook and long-term viability.
The New York Jets went into the 2021 offseason with a massive hole at the wide receiver position. Thankfully, for Zach Wilson specifically, they managed to address that glaring need.
To go along with the free-agent acquisitions of Corey Davis and Keelan Cole, the Jets selected Ole Miss weapon Elijah Moore with the 34th overall pick in the NFL draft.
In three years at Ole Miss, Moore showcased outstanding ability as a wide receiver. He had his best season in 2020 when he only played in eight games but accumulated 86 catches for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns.
Something that’ll come in handy under Mike LaFleur, Moore also showcased his versatility throughout his college career, flashing the ability to run the football on offense and be a return man when called upon.
Fit with the Jets
Moore primarily played in the slot at Ole Miss. So, when it initially appeared that the Jets’ previous slot starter Jamison Crowder wouldn’t be on the team, the sky was the limit for Moore (funny enough, he may actually have projected better from a fantasy standpoint with Adam Gase at the helm).
Now, with Crowder set to remain on the team after a contract restructure, Moore’s role isn’t as clear as it once was.
Long-term, the expectation is to be the primary slot receiver for the Jets going forward. But unlike Crowder, Moore does seem to have the ability to play consistently outside as well. In fact, the team had already started giving him multiple reps as an outside receiver during minicamp earlier this year and excelled, as Robby Sabo previously noted.
There have been reports that Moore has also taken some return duties with the Jets and that the team may figure to use him similarly to how the San Francisco 49ers use Deebo Samuel—a do-it-all-type player with a smaller frame who can play inside and out. Given the Jets’ connections to that 49ers team, this should loom large in the realm of possibilities.
Fantasy Football Outlook
When looking at other wide receivers drafted in the same round as Moore, history isn’t favorable regarding his fantasy football outlook.
There have been 50 wide receivers selected in the second round of the NFL draft since 2010. Only six (12%) posted a top-24 season by fantasy football standards during their rookie season. Thirty-five of them (70%) didn’t finish in the top-50, including three Jets who didn’t finish in the top-90 (Devin Smith, Stephen Hill and Denzel Mims).
Breaking it down further, only two (4%) players achieved a top-12 fantasy football season, though Michael Thomas was the only one to achieve this in all three major formats (PPR, half-PPR, and standard). The other wide receiver was A.J. Brown, who finished as the WR10 in PPR but a top-24 WR in half-PPR and standard leagues. (This is the same Brown who recently worked out with his fellow Ole Miss alumn in Brooklyn.)
Of course, when it comes to fantasy football, things become more contextual when analyzing a player’s future potential.
The presence of Crowder (for the time being) on the team severely caps Elijah’s ceiling this year. And, although Moore has the ability to be used in a variety of ways, there will be a learning curve for the Jets coaching staff as they attempt to figure out what exactly he excels at the most at the NFL level.
Currently, Moore has a redraft ADP (average draft position) of 140th overall (which is the middle of round 11 in 12-team leagues) and is the WR43 off the board.
This ranking isn’t egregious, but it is generous when looking at the history as disclosed above. Moore is going ahead of players like Jarvis Landry and Brandin Cooks, who both have been consistent top-24 WRs for years and should do so again this season.
At that cost, I’m not buying Moore in redraft leagues. Yes, there’s a likelihood the Jets will play from behind and therefore pass the ball more, but there are plenty of mouths to feed on the team.
When you are playing in fantasy football redraft leagues, a player’s age matters significantly less to the success of your overall team.
So, in a similar fashion to Michael Carter, I love Elijah’s potential in dynasty leagues and his future in the NFL, but I am not selecting him in my redraft leagues this season at his current cost.