Four Downs: What to do with Randy Moss?
So much for Randy Moss returning to elite wide receiver status with the Minnesota Vikings. Head coach Brad Childress said Monday the future Hall of Famer is no longer with the team. This came one day after yet another loss, another underachieving Moss performance and more off-field issues that just didn't seem worth it commensurate with the player's production.
Fantasy owners couldn't have been pleased with how the second Moss era in Minnesota worked out. It concluded with Sunday's goose egg for fantasy points. Moss caught one pass for 8 yards, and was targeted on two passes. Of course, since this is a player owned in 100 percent of ESPN leagues, there's a lot to discuss. What better place to do so than here in Four Downs.
First of all, don't release Moss in fantasy football yet (remember, the Vikings haven't yet as of Monday evening, either). I think he remains talented enough to produce valuable statistics for some team, and even while he was loafing his way through a pair of Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Tom Brady and Brett Favre, Moss wasn't invisible. He can play. Whether another NFL team wants to deal with the immaturity and occasional lapses in effort is another thing, not to mention the hefty price tag. If a team claims Moss this week, it's on the hook for more than $3 million in salary. Can't imagine the Buffalo Bills would be interested, for example. It might take a week or more, but if/when Moss shows up on another team, we'll discuss, but it seems premature to guess the teams that would have interest. Just don't call him a top-10 wide receiver anymore.
As for the Vikings, while Moss managed a paltry 13 receptions in four games (with two touchdowns), his value in deflecting attention from Percy Harvin was immeasurable. Want more proof? Check out what Wes Welker has done, or make that hasn't done, since Moss was dealt to the Vikings. Moss wasn't delivering big stats, but opposing defenses had something to do with that. It's not a coincidence Harvin averaged 15 points in the four games he played with Moss. I'm not overly confident Harvin can do this with Bernard Berrian being pulled out of the doghouse to start. Then again, Harvin is talented and he's capable of producing like a WR3 no matter his teammates. I wasn't ranking Harvin in the top 20 with Moss. I won't be ranking him there without him, but certainly his value takes some hit.
Favre actually played well Sunday, completing 22 of 32 passes for 259 yards and an interception that can hardly be blamed on him. Moss ran around somewhat aimlessly against a team, and more critically, a struggling secondary, he should have been motivated to skewer. Favre wasn't producing much for fantasy owners before Moss got there, or after. He's not a top-10 quarterback, but he wasn't when Moss was one of his targets anyway.
An obvious angle to take on the Moss release for the Vikings is that last year's hero, Sidney Rice, must be close to returning to the team after hip surgery. Sorry, but I don't buy it. Yes, Rice is eligible to be activated from the physically unable to perform list for the Week 9 game, but there haven't been indications that his health will allow it. I don't expect to see Rice playing a role on active fantasy rosters before Thanksgiving, but like Vincent Jackson and now Randy Moss, all are worth owning.
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