Why Lance Moore is Undervalued...Again

After a solid performance in 2012, is Lance Moore still a bargain in 2013?

The proven, middle-tiered commodities in fantasy football are often bargains on draft day. I suppose everyone wants upside picks, but most of the time, the players with high hopes typically have little room for true improvement given their average draft positions.

Lance Moore seems to always be one of those proven commodities. He certainly was solid last year, taking on a bigger role with New Orleans after Robert Meachem left for the beach in San Diego. Moore saw over 100 targets in 2012 for the first time in four years and made the most of it, posting over 1,000 receiving yards and six scores on 65 catches. And those numbers came from just 15 games played.

It’s somewhat of a crime – and I think it actually is one in New Orleans – to have Moore ranked as the 41st best receiver in standard leagues. It makes little sense to me, but alas, that's where his current ADP rests. I understand the allure may not be there and you probably won't be complimented by a league mate when you take the Saints pass catcher, but he's one of the safest options you'll find as you approach the double-digit rounds of your draft. And sometimes, especially if you've picked riskier guys, that's a good thing.

Without much dissection, I can tell you that Moore will moore (see what I did there?) than likely outperform his current cost. After all, in terms of fantasy success, Moore has finished at or below the 41 spot just once since 2008. With a larger role than he had in his early years, why think things will be different?

Lance Moore in 2012

Let’s first take a look at Lance Moore’s receiving expected points data to see how well he contributed to his team’s scoring. This can help us gauge just how good he is as a receiver.

Rec NEPRankRec NEP / TargetRank

In terms of receiving net expected points per target, Moore ranked only behind Chargers Danario Alexander last year (minimum 50 targets). He was adding nearly a full point to the Saints scoring output each time he was targeted through the air. Pretty solid for a dude being drafted around questionable wideouts like Emmanuel Sanders and DeAndre Hopkins.

Comparing Moore to His 2013 Competition

Let’s use the same analytics and look at players being drafted around Lance Moore, shall we?

PlayerRec NEPRec NEP / Target
Denarius Moore66.72.59
Emmanuel Sanders51.52.70
Jeremy Maclin66.92.55
Josh Gordon64.99.68
Kenny Britt42.43.47
Justin Blackmon86.27.65
Sidney Rice77.15.94
Lance Moore101.62.98

First off, why is Justin Blackmon’s name on this list? I understand he has upside, but people do realize he's missing the first four games of the season, right? Like, he's going to be riding your bench for over a quarter of the fantasy season, and you're willing to spend a ninth rounder on him? Alright. [Blackmon rant over]

Second, as you can see, Moore scores better in these categories compared to the wideouts being selected around him. Some of that has to do with Drew Brees, but it's not as though Brees won't be quarterbacking the Saints next season. I mean, Marques Colston has the exact same quarterback and his receiving NEP per target number was 0.1 less than Moore's. Net: Lance Moore has been productive, even though it's been with a good quarterback, and that's important for projection purposes.

Now, if we look at these players’ projections, we see that these NEP scores coincide pretty nicely to fantasy output:

PlayerReceptionsYardsTouchdownsFantasy Points
Denarius Moore58.40847.056.20121.60
Emmanuel Sanders59.17807.774.12103.74
Jeremy Maclin70.97807.016.15116.69
Kenny Britt67.15800.032.9895.74
Sidney Rice52.37801.636.70120.42
Lance Moore61.94926.576.39130.22

Imagine that, Moore is projected to score about 10 more points than anyone around his ADP, and he’s supposed be significantly better than a few guys on the list. Another reason to snag him.

Really, if you want even moore (there it is again) reason to take Moore, take a look at the guys who are closest to him in terms of projected fantasy point output: Denarius Moore and Sidney Rice. Both of them look to have riskier prospects in 2013, and each has been less reliable than Moore throughout their careers. Rice is now involved in an offense full of playmakers, limiting his probable targets and potential performance in the offense. I have no doubt his efficiency will remain the same, but his raw numbers could easily dip. And Denarius Moore doesn’t even know if his quarterback, Matt Flynn, will be the starter entering the season. Even if he is, don't you see the risk in putting stock in an Oakland receiver when someone like Lance Moore is available to draft?

Lance Moore is a Value Pick

Here at numberFire, we have Lance Moore listed as our 26th-best receiver entering the season. Given his WR41 status, he’s a safe value choice in the middle- to late-rounds of your fantasy draft.