Saints WR Lance Moore - The Ultimate Handcuff?
WR Lance Moore, PIT - Solid/Safe Pick
During a recent FFToolbox podcast, our very own Scott Atkins explored the idea of using New Orleans Saints wide receiver Lance Moore as the "ultimate handcuff." Securing a receiver as a handcuff is a unique strategy. Pairing a backup RB with an elite starter is a tried and true fantasy football tactic and the same principle applies with WRs. Few offenses in the league support such a formidable aerial arsenal where you might want that kind of insurance policy; however, the Saints are one of those teams. They have a couple of top-flight players who would be best served when tethered to Moore.
Recently over at 4for4.com, fantasy football writer John Paulsen noted that Moore's excellent 2012 season (105 targets, 65 receptions, 1041 yards and six touchdowns) was relatively predictable given his fantasy points per target (FP/T). This advanced metric may be unfamiliar to many, but it serves as an excellent barometer of what a receiver can contribute statistically per target. Players often targeted in the red zone, like Moore, would obviously see more opportunities for big points. For example, Moore finished in the Top 20 in this category in both 2010 and 2011, so it would have been safe to assume last offseason that a target increase would lead to more points. That's precisely how it played out.
Moore could see even more playing time as the team's No. 2 receiver behind Marques Colston due to the departure of Devery Henderson. Speaking of Colston, while he has been more or less durable over his last few seasons, he does have a history of knee problems. Moore's average draft position is roughly near Rounds 8 and 9, which is where he went in FFToolbox's recent Expert Mock Draft. At this spot, you could handcuff him to Colston, Darren Sproles or Jimmy Graham. Perhaps even injuries to Pierre Thomas or Mark Ingram would add to Moore's value since if either back goes down, Sproles could be forced into more carries and therefore, fewer pass plays.
In the red zone, Moore had 14 targets, seven receptions for 58 yards and four TDs. It is safe to presume there will be a small increase here given his expanded role which would only add to his WR3 value. Don't forget that defenses have no choice but to single cover Moore every snap due to the presence of Graham, Sproles and Colston. With his shifty speed and quickness, especially out of the slot, Moore could surprise and make another big leap in production. A major concern with Moore is his health. He is usually able to see the field, but spends much of the season with a red-letter P or Q beside his name on your roster page. Protect yourself by making Moore your No. 3 fantasy receiver, or better yet, a flex. He has more value in PPR formats and is poised for a fantastic season.