Massive news broke in the NFL on Friday, March 10, when word leaked that the Chicago Bears had traded the #1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft to the Carolina Panthers for picks and a player. That player was star receiver, D.J. Moore. In addition to Moore, the Bears get the #10 and #61 picks in the upcoming draft and a 2024 first and 2025 second. This trade will have massive reverberations across the NFL. For fantasy and dynasty football, in particular, the most affected player has to be Moore himself. Let us dive into D.J. Moore and how this trade affects his short- and long-term outlook.
D.J. Moore has been a star receiver since his days at the University of Maryland. Moore turned his early career success into a breakout Junior year. This year saw him top 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his career. You can see his school numbers below.
During his big season at College Park, Moore drew some comparisons to former Terp Stefon Diggs. Both players have a similar build and a silky smooth style to their game. Moore showed up in Indianapolis at the NFL combine and put on a show solidifying his place as a first-round prospect. You can see his combine charts below.
Since arriving in Carolina as the 24th pick in the draft, D.J. Moore has put up some excellent numbers. Despite the Panthers struggling to find their franchise quarterback in the wake of Cam Newton’s departure, Moore has succeeded. During his five-year run, he put up over 5,000 receiving yards. You can see his Panthers stats below.
In Chicago, D.J. Moore will find the best quarterback he has played with in his professional career. While Fields still has many questions surrounding him and his passing chops, he possesses immense upside. Moore will also find some additional help on the Bears roster. While Chicago has lacked a true #1 since Allen Robinson left, the pantry is not bare. Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool are nice receivers in their own right. Adding a true X-receiver will allow Mooney and Claypool to fall into more complimentary roles enabling them to use their speed against single coverage. In addition, to help at the receiver position, Cole Kmet is an emerging tight end who has improved each year in the NFL.
D.J. Moore will be 26 years old heading into the 2023 campaign. Receivers typically enter their prime years in their late 20s. This means Moore can play his prime years with the best quarterback he has had since high school. Theoretically, his best years should be ahead of him. While Justin Fields has struggled at times in the passing game at the NFL level, he showed in college that, given the right circumstances, he is prolific as a rusher and passer. In his first season at OSU, he threw for 41 touchdowns.
Justin Fields is the biggest winner of this trade. The Bears have added a proven receiver to their team. Moore averages over 1,000 yards per season in the NFL and will be the top option Fields has lacked. He will still have the services of speedster Darnell Mooney and physical freak Chase Claypool giving him a quality set of three receivers. He will still have Kmet and his legs to boot, giving him QB1 overall upside.
Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool take the biggest hit with the addition of D.J. Moore. They were set to operate as a 1A & 1B set heading into 2023. Now they will be pushed down the pecking order. They could still be useful dynasty assets but think WR3 or flex types instead of WR2.
The addition of a true WR1 helps tight end Cole Kmet. He operated as Justin Field’s safety blanket down the stretch last season. With defensive coordinators and defenders having to devote more attention to D.J. Moore next year, it should help open up the field for Kmet. He has a nice TE1 upside for the foreseeable future in Chicago.
Finally, we come to D.J. Moore. I see this move as a positive for the former Terps star. He will be on a better offense than he has ever been a part of. He will once again operate as a focal point of the passing game. While he might not see 163 targets as he did in 2021, his touchdown numbers will increase. Justin Fields gives him a chance to post the first double-digit touchdown numbers of his career. He will be a good bet to once again top 1,000 yards and catch at least 60 to 70 passes if he stays healthy.
D.J. Moore will be an interesting commodity in the dynasty trade market. Some owners will be down on him. They may fear Fields’ struggles as a passer over the past two years. That could provide a nice opportunity to buy a quality player at a discount. Searching the Dynasty Nerds Trade Browser, part of our Dynasty GM tool, I see that the first two deals on Sleeper post-trade have Moore going for at least a first-round pick. This seems to be a fair value and actually up from his previous days, where he was paired with additional assets to get a first-round pick. Check with your league mates and see what the going rate is.
This trade was a win for the Chicago Bears. The receiver position was one of the biggest needs for the team heading into the draft. General Manager Ryan Poles was able to take care of that need and stay within the top 10 of the draft. He also picked up additional draft ammo in this and the next two classes. Rookies are always a gamble despite the immense promise they possess. D.J. Moore brings a proven profile and a team-friendly contract that only plays him over 20 million in just one of the three seasons he’s under the team’s control. To add a young, proven asset and gain additional ammunition in the draft is a win for Poles and the team.
They will now go into free agency with their need at receiver filled, the most cap space in the league, and still have a top 9 draft pick.
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