2011 Fantasy Football: The Dynasty Value of Randy Moss

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2011 Fantasy Football: The Dynasty Value of Randy Moss
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We at DLF pride ourselves in studying the nuances of dynasty leagues.  We study players, trends, stats and strategies in order to give the very best advice we can to our faithful group of readers.

I was asked a question by a fellow partner of DLF the other day and my own response stunned me.  I’m usually pretty set in my ways when it comes to player values and have a good idea where players should be, at least in my mind.  Now that doesn’t mean I’m always right, but I’m usually pretty decisive.  His question was pretty straight forward.  ”What do you think the value of Randy Moss is in a dynasty league?”  

My response, you ask?  After a long and drawn-out pause, I responded with a simple “I have no idea.”

I’ve been thinking about that very question the past few days, and I still don’t have the answer.  In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that nobody does.  He’s ranked #49 in our Dynasty Essentials Guide, but he’s easily one of the toughest players we had to place.

It would be easy to say he’s done.  After all, last season was a total disaster.  If you would have told me before the year that Moss would post 28 receptions, 393 yards and five touchdowns on the year, I would have assumed he tore his ACL around Week 4.  Instead, those were his totals for the Patriots, Vikings and Titans combined in a year that can only be described as bizarre.

Before we look to the future, we must look at the past.

Moss has spent 13 seasons in the league, posting 954 receptions, 14,858 yards and 153 touchdowns.  His career has to be looked at in four different stages.

The first stage in Moss’ career began in 1998, when he was passed on in the draft by multiple teams and wound up with the Vikings.  He immediately became a star with a rookie season that featured an amazing 1,313 yards and 17 touchdowns. His time in Minnesota featured multiple fantasy MVP seasons from the position, as he averaged 72 catches, 1,306 yards and 11 touchdowns over eight seasons.  

That’s right, that’s what he averaged.  Moss was a transcendent talent who showed his once-in-a-generation rookie season was no fluke, as he led owner after owner to dynasty league titles.

After wearing out his welcome in Minnesota, Moss was traded to the Raiders and began the second stage of his career. While many of the faithful in Oakland felt Moss was a missing piece to a championship puzzle, his time there was an epic disappointment.  In two seasons as a Raider, Moss posted a total of 102 catches, 1,558 yards and just 11 touchdowns.  He was known more for pouting on the sidelines and taking plays off than he was for his dynamic play.  Many thought his career was over.

They were wrong.

Moss re-emerged as one of fantasy football’s brightest stars in the third stage of his career when he was traded to New England prior to the 2007 season. He regained his focus, blended beautifully with Tom Brady and put up a monster 2007 season that featured 98 catches, 1,493 yards and 23 touchdowns.  

While many hoped for improvement in New England, nobody expected that.  Moss followed it up with two other great seasons that saw him eclipse 1,000 yards and average 12 scores in 2008 and 2009. Many thought Moss would put up a monster 2010 in what was a contract year.

Again, they were wrong.

The fourth stage in Moss’ career encompassed all of last season. The year was highlighted by him coming out publicly and saying it was his last year as a Patriot after looking disengaged through the first few weeks of the year without a new contract in his hands.  He was subsequently traded to Minnesota, where he lasted about a month before the constant incomplete ”Go” routes from Favre grew old, and he had some problems with team dinner choices.  He ended the year in Tennessee, where he was used as a decoy and caught a total of six balls in eight games.  Six!  Many think he’s done again.

Are we wrong?

It’s the $64 million question.  What we’ve learned from Moss is that you just never know.  While he’s certainly getting older, there’s no doubting his ability.  One of two things is going to happen this season.

First, he could re-sign with New England or another contender (cash money, please) and be engaged as a football player, knowing this may be his last chance.  Early reports state he’s in tremendous shape and is ready to prove yet again that he can be his dominant self.  This would create a situation where he’s the ultimate value pick in dynasty leagues, as a one- or two-year mercenary who could help bring your team a championship.  You really can’t put it past him.

Second, he could sign with a team and sulk.  If he doesn’t get the ball enough or the team begins losing, that could create yet another disaster of a fantasy season.

The two teams mentioned most often for Moss, ironically, are the rival Jets and Patriots.  If the Jets lose Holmes and Edwards, he could be a key piece to Rex Ryan’s developing offense.  One thing’s for sure, though.  Mark Sanchez better be ready and better have that locker room under his command sooner rather than later if Moss is added.  With the Pats, he could re-emerge as the old Moss who terrorized the AFC East for the better part of three seasons.

If you’re a rebuilding team, it’s easy.  You want nothing to do with him.  There’s really no reason to go out of your way to acquire him since he won’t be around in the long term.  For a contending team, it’s much more difficult.  You could roll the dice and give up some young, mid-tier prospects for him.  You’d be assuming a lot of risk, but holding a lottery ticket as well.

One thing is for sure: There will be no middle ground for Moss.  He’s either going to be spectacular or a disaster.

To me, Moss is the most intriguing player on the free-agent market.  He may not be the most talented or coveted any longer, but he’s always “must see TV.”

So, the question is out there.  ”What do you think the value of Randy Moss is in a dynasty league?”  There’s only one thing I can promise everyone out there, no matter what your opinion is.

You could be wrong.

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