Player Round Table (Santana Moss)
By FBG Staff; Hosted by Maurile Tremblay
August 11th, 2010

Here at Footballguys.com, we have Spotlights and Faceoffs. Those features are fairly comprehensive, but they are limited to viewpoints from either one or two writers. Well some players need a little more commentary. We have decided open up the dialog and asked our staff to leave their thoughts on these players and what is expected from them in 2010. Here, discussion centers around WR Santana Moss.

Sigmund Bloom: Santana Moss is notorious around fantasy circles because of his inconsistent presence in the box score, but there's reason to think that 2010 could be his best season in a long time. I understand if people are reluctant to spend the 7th- or 8th-round pick on Moss because of the offseason news of knee surgery, which is always a bit ominous for players over 30. At his current ADP, he is probably not worth taking over the young WRs adjacent to him who have upside - Pierre Garcon, Mike Wallace, and Jeremy Maclin - but if Moss continues to drop, he becomes a gamble worth taking.

Moss has never had a QB as good as Donovan McNabb. McNabb's bread and butter is keeping plays alive and finding receivers downfield that break open when McNabb outlasts the pass rush. There are hopes that third-year wideouts Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly will emerge, but as it stands right now, Moss is the WR most likely to riff with McNabb. Moss's speed, toughness, and ball skills are all intact from his heyday. With Moss's ceiling higher than it has been in years, and his risk factor probably overestimated a bit right now, savvy owners should be open to taking him if he falls out of the top 100 players overall.

Maurile Tremblay: I'm of the opinion opposite Bloom's.

With featured WRs and RBs, their looks in the offense seem to decline a year after their skills do. I think Moss's skills started to decline last year. He still has big-play ability, and his speed and quickness are still above-average for an NFL WR; but his drops have become more frequent, and he no longer consistently separates against the better NFL corners. At his age, I believe that trend will continue instead of reversing itself.

Bloom's point about the upgraded QB play is well taken. Jason Campbell's inaccuracy was a factor that held Moss back last season.

But I believe that the improved QB play will benefit up-and-comers Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas more than Moss, as those players get a bigger share of the pie at Moss's expense.

It may take another year or two before Moss is no longer the team's WR1, but I predict that the descent will begin this season - after the decline in his skills started to become noticeable last season.

Mark Wimer: I agree with Maurile: the Santana Moss of today is far removed from the Moss of mid-decade. Over the last three years, he's averaged 13.2 yards per catch twice, and 12.9 yards per catch last season. He has broken through the 1,000 yards receiving barrier only once during that time-span, and his TD production has been disappointing in two of his last three campaigns.

The question is: how much of Moss' lackluster performance is due to the inevitable decline that comes with increasing age, and how much was due to lackluster quarterback play with Jason Campbell at the helm (learning a new offensive scheme year after year)? After all, Campbell became the full-time QB during 2007, which is when Moss' yards-per-reception average began to nose-dive. As we all know, Washington has upgraded their QB position by acquiring Donovan McNabb. Can McNabb improve Moss' fortunes?

I believe that Moss declined, in part, due to Campbell's struggles during 2007 and 2008, but that his showing during 2009 is due more to his advancing age than to the faults of his quarterback. Moss is 31 now, an age at which many players start to decline in production. His alleged attempt to buy HGH this offseason may be due to Moss striving to hold back father time with a banned substance - which in itself is a red flag for me.

Campbell actually improved dramatically during 2009, with career highs in completions, passing yardage, passing TDs and yards per attempt (7.1 last year). His paltry TD totals of years past (12 in 2007, 13 in 2008) went into the rear-view mirror, yet Moss managed only three TDs in Campbell's best season in Washington.

I think Maurile is right that Moss is starting to lose the skills that made him an explosive fantasy player earlier during the past decade. Now he's on the downside of his career.

Andy Hicks: Santana Moss vexes me this season. On the one hand, Shanahan and McNabb give him the chance to have his best season since 2008, and maybe even since his third-place fantasy season of 2005. On the other hand, Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly are in their third seasons and my gut tells me one of them will emerge significantly this year. (My money is on Thomas.)

As it stands, I have rated Moss slightly above his ADP because he is the No.1 WR for what should be a solid offense that won't have a dominant run game.

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