The New York Jets were busy this week. No, it wasn’t the Aaron Rodgers trade everyone has been waiting for. First, they signed former Chiefs speedster wide receiver Mecole Hardman and then, about an hour later, traded wide receiver Elijah Moore to the Cleveland Browns. In exchange for Moore and the 74th pick overall, the Jets received pick 42 overall. This gives the Jets back-to-back picks in the second round at 42 and 43 overall. The move set the Jets up with another high pick in the top 50. They might now have the right ammunition to get their quarterback. How does Moore moving to the Browns affect his and the others on the team’s fantasy value?
Elijah Moore- Small Stock UP
We all saw what Elijah Moore could do in 2021. That season in only 11 games, he had 538 yards and five touchdowns on just 77 targets and 43 receptions. His production dipped in 2022. The Jets drafted Garrett Wilson out of Ohio State and didn’t have a quarterback worth his contract.
Now Moore finds himself on the Browns catching passes from Deshaun Watson. While Watson did not look great once he returned to the NFL after two years off, he started to shake off the rust down the stretch. Moore instantly becomes a solid two on the Browns behind Amari Cooper. Donovan Peoples-Jones filled that role last season and put up a stat line of 96 targets, 61 receptions, 839 yards, and three touchdowns. Both Moore and D.P.J. are known as speed guys, but Moore is almost five inches shorter. Despite the height difference, Moore is a better receiver than Peoples-Jones. We are comparing a second-round pick in Moore to a sixth-round pick in D.P.J.
Moore’s stock had been dropping all offseason. The signing of Allen Lazard was the first hit, and then the Hardman signing. Now his value is back to where it was at the end of last season. For Dynasty, he is a clear buy candidate. He catches passes from Watson for at least the next two seasons. Cooper is 28 years old but is going into his ninth season. He has a lot of wear on his body. Moore could become the focal point of that offense for the next seven to ten years.
Deshaun Watson- Stock up
Everyone was somewhat surprised at how bad Watson looked last season. He had only one game over 250 yards and threw seven touchdowns and five interceptions over his six games. He did start to look better in the last two games of the season. In those weeks, he had five touchdowns and only two interceptions.
With Moore in the fold, it gives him another weapon. The Browns have also let pass-catching back Kareem Hunt explore his free agency options, which would vacate some targets. The Browns are known as a rushing team, but this could be the final move in their morph into a more pass-heavy team. They decided that Watson would be their quarterback for the foreseeable future with the contract they gave him. This is a step in putting weapons around him. The Browns won’t pick until the third draft round, but they used that second-round pick to get a proven talent over an unknown question mark of a rookie.
David Njoku- Stock Down
The biggest loser in this deal is tight end David Njoku. He signed with the Browns last offseason to be the Browns’ tight end for the foreseeable future. Dynasty managers were excited about what he could be in that offense when they traded for Watson.
Njoku has been hit or miss so far. He is coming off back-to-back seasons of four touchdowns and hovering right around the 500-yard mark. In 2022 he was third on the team in targets, and had he played all 17 games, he would have just beaten out Peoples-Jones for the second spot on the team.
He now sees the team bring in another talented wideout to command targets. It’s a drastic hit to Njoku’s dynasty value. In our fantasy tight ends, we want a guy who can be second on his team in targets, and the former Miami Hurricane could end up being fourth on the team. He was feed targets by Watson. Njoku saw five or more targets in all but one game in the five games they played together. He also caught 10 of his 20 red zone targets in those games.
At 6’4″, he is the biggest target currently on the roster. He still has value, but he certainly takes a dip in volume which will hurt his overall production. He could end up being a touchdown-dependent play and highly efficient in his touchdown production.
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