Last Man Standig: Jennings vs. Moore
Schauf: I like Jennings fine as a player, but there's a lot to dislike about his 2013 outlook. First of all, the durability issue. Jennings missed 11 games over the past 2 years with knee and groin injuries. Perhaps neither area will be a problem in 2013, but the guy will turn 30 in September. He very well might be wearing down.
The bigger issue, of course, is his serious downgrade in situation. I won't bother comparing Christian Ponder to Aaron Rodgers or the Packers' passing game to the Vikings' because it would be a waste of time. But the biggest problem for Jennings' fantasy outlook might be losing the downfield production. From 2008-2011, he scored 14 of his 34 TDs (about 41%) on passes thrown 20+ yards down the field. According to Pro Football Focus, Ponder graded out worst in the league in deep-ball passing last year.
Can Jennings make up for this by hogging targets? Well, he goes to a team that ranked 28th in the league in pass attempts last year and 24th in 2011. Plus, rookie WR Cordarrelle Patterson looks like the guy they hope will deliver Percy Harvin-type versatility. Drafting Jennings 26th among WRs clearly doesn't mean you expect similar numbers to what he delivered with the Packers, but I see a bunch of wideouts still on the board that I like a lot better.
I'll focus on WR Lance Moore here, because I see that FF Toolbox ranks the perennially underrated Saint fantasy all the way down at #48. Moore finished 4 of the past 5 years among the top 35 fantasy WRs across formats. He finished 3 of those seasons inside the top 26, including a #21 fantasy ranking last year. The only season he didn't score like a starter within that span came in 2009, a season basically lost to injury.
I'd take this guy ahead of Jennings without hesitation and cannot understand why people continue to undervalue him.
Standig: Lance Moore, the un-sexy pick. I get it; he's fine, plays with Drew Brees and so on. If I'm looking for a WR3 after taking perhaps a couple of sketchy options like Jordy Nelson and Hakeem Nicks, I can wrap my head around the safe and solid play. And I'm not saying "solid" with any hint of sarcasm, but I'm not saying it with much excitement either. Last year was his best ever from a yardage standpoint and he barely cracked 1,000 yards. Considering he's the Saints' fourth passing game option* behind Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston and Darren Sproles, assuming another 1,000-yard season is no lock even if Brees throws for a billion yards. Fine, if he reaches a billion, Moore will do fine.
(*No mention of Kenny Stills because at the time he was and perhaps still is a non-factor at the top level of the Saints' passing game plans. However, he's jumped onto my draft radar)
If I'm already feeling good with my receivers (and in this league I am with Roddy White and Danny Amendola), then I'm willing to go for more potential as either my third receiver or trade bait. Also, I know more receiver help can come later in the draft (I ended up adding Emmanuel Sanders and Golden Tate) and throughout the season.
Let's circle back to Jennings, the No. 1 receiver for the Vikings (considering the track record for rookie receivers, let's slow the roll on the Patterson hype in this context). I'd agree Jennings is the riskier pick of the two, but I'd argue strongly that he's more likely to end the season top-15 than Moore is. I'm willing to make that tradeoff here. The receiver position is so deep this year that shooting for potential in this scenario is an appropriate course of action.
If Jennings hits, that's a dynamic three-receiver set. If Moore maxes out, we're talking about another top-25 season. That's fine, but just fine.
Schauf: Fair enough. I just don't see the upside with Jennings -- certainly not anything near the top 15. But I guess we'll see what happens.
Standig: As the kids say, that's why they play the game. Even the kind where those heavily invested aren't playing playing...
End, scene. Thoughts? Ideas for another point-counterpoint? Let me know on Twitter (@benstandig) or at email@example.com