Is DJ Moore a fantasy must-start against the Falcons on Thursday?


The sound you hear is the collective sigh of relief for those in fantasy football who had enough patience to hold on to Carolina Panthers wide receiver DJ Moore as their patience has been rewarded. After three-straight solid performances, is Moore now a weekly must-start in fantasy? Should he be started in his Week 8 divisional battle against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night? And more importantly, beyond this week, what is DJ Moore’s fantasy outlook for the remainder of the 2020 season?

Perhaps it was just a slow start for Moore and us having lofty expectations. Maybe the lack of a typical offseason was a factor when adding a new head coach, offensive coordinator, and quarterback. Personally, I think it was all three that combined to cause Moore’s slow start, but we have seen over the last three weeks the player that we expected coming into the season. Currently, the WR13 in PPR scoring formats, how high can Moore get in Week 8 against a vulnerable Falcons’ defense?

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Panthers WR DJ Moore’s fantasy outlook explodes after his best game of the season in Week 7

For the third straight week, former Maryland Terrapin wide receiver DJ Moore tallied exactly 93 receiving yards in a game. That’s right – he has had 93 in three straight games.

  • Week 5 – Five targets, four catches for 93 yards, and one touchdown
  • Week 6 – 11 targets, five catches, 93 yards
  • Week 7 – Five targets, four catches for 93 yards, and two touchdowns

Resulting in 21.3 PPR fantasy points, it was Moores’s best finish of the season as WR6. In a previous article, I had mentioned that it seemed like Moore and Bridgewater were just slightly off, and once they got it figured out, he would take off. That seems to have finally happened.

It is worth mentioning that of his 93 yards in Week 7, 74 came on a 74-yard touchdown catch, the second-longest of his career. However, I don’t want that to come off as negative because it shows the big-play ability he brings to the field and your fantasy roster every week. 

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His two touchdowns were the first multi-score game for DJ Moore since Week 12 of 2019. He’s caught 31 of his 53 targets this season for 567 yards for an average of 18.3 yards per reception, both of which rank seventh across the entire NFL. Just seven games into the 2020 season, Moore is already one touchdown shy of tying his total of four from last year. This is also one of Moore’s drawbacks and his chance to get into that elite upper-echelon conversation. 

The lack of touchdowns he scores limits his opportunity to have massive performances (Week 7 Davante Adams, for example). While touchdown upside is always there with Moore, I’ll take the consistent targets as it increases his floor, which is the bigger factor in fantasy as it builds in a safety net to every roster decision you make. 

What is amazing is that we have talked about DJ Moore as if he has been having an awful year, but if you look at the pace he is on, it paints a different story. In 2019, he had 135 targets, 87 receptions, 1,175 yards, and four touchdowns. It was a fantastic season. Here is Moore’s pace right now: 121 targets, 81 receptions, 1,296 yards, and seven touchdowns. Averaging 4.5 receptions per game, Moore is on track to outperform his breakout season of 2019, thanks in large part to his absurd 18.29 yards per reception.

In Week 8, DJ Moore will be one of the safer plays as he matches up against a Falcons’ defense that struggles to stop the pass.

Expect DJ Moore to continue his hot streak against a porous Falcon’s secondary 

You don’t need me to tell you that the Atlanta Falcons are not a good football team, but here is a quick refresher for those unsure. 

Atlanta’s secondary has been getting burned all year; they have allowed six wide receivers to reach 100 yards and have given up the second-most receiving yards to wideouts (1,561). They are also 28th in fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers at 43.93 PPR points per game.

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The Falcons cornerback most likely to take on DJ Moore is Kendall Sheffield, who has allowed a league-high 2.77 yards of separation (no other cornerback is above 2.39) and 75% of his covered routes to be caught. This is a perfect matchup for a player like Moore, who specializes in creating separation using his 4.42 speed.

There have been 12 receivers who have scored more than 12 PPR points against the Falcons so far this year, and I expect that to be 14 by the end of Thursday, with both Moore and Robby Anderson surpassing that number.

Even with a lack of targets, DJ Moore is a locked-in starter for Week 8 in fantasy

Fantasy football can be hard enough; we don’t need to overthink this matchup as DJ Moore could end up being a top-five receiver on the week when all is said and done.

Going back to Week 5 when these teams matched up the first time, Moore and Anderson combined for 12 catches on 17 targets for 205 yards and a touchdown. This was the start of Moore’s 93 yards streak and one that he can end this week but breaking the 100 yards barrier for the first tie since Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders.

It looks like Christian McCaffrey will miss the game on Thursday, so it is all systems go for the offense to revolve around the passing game with Moore leading the way. DJ Moore’s fantasy outlook for this week is quite promising.

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Be sure to follow us on Twitter: @PFN365 to stay up to date with all things around the NFL and the 2020 fantasy football season. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis while also visiting our fantasy football section for more coverage and up-to-date rankings.

Tommy Garrett is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football. You can read more of his work here and follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.

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