Last Updated: Oct 06, 2010 2:00 PM
After spending three full seasons with the New England Patriots, Randy Moss was traded to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for a 3rd Round Draft Pick in 2011. During Moss's tenure with the Patriots, he had a combined 50 TDs (including the 4 games this season) and at least 1,000 yards each year. In 2007 Moss scored 23 TDs and broke the NFL's single season TD receiving record and helped QB Tom Brady set the record for most passing TDs (50) in a season.
But now Moss will head back to the franchise that drafted him in 1998 after 20 other teams passed up the notorious “problem child.” Moss rewarded the Vikings with 17 TDs (the most by any rookie) and 1,313 yards. He would go on to produce 6 straight seasons with at least 1,300 yards, scoring double digit TDs in 6-out-of-7 seasons while playing for the Vikings.
Disregard his time with the Raiders, and Moss has been one of the best, if not the best, Fantasy Wide Receiver in the NFL for over 10 years. It's amazing how much trading just one player can affect his new and former teammates in the world of Fantasy Football. The good thing about this trade is it looks like players from both team's will get a boost in Fantasy Stock .
Brett Favre-MIN: When Moss was put on the trading block by the Raiders in 2007, Brett Favre begged the Packers' Front Office to acquire the superstar Wide Receiver (so we know Favre was a big advocate of bringing Moss to Minnesota). The Packers didn't listen and instead Moss went to the Patriots where he and Brady torched opposing Defenses.
With Sidney Rice not expected back for another 4-5 weeks and Percy Harvin frequently suffering from migraines, the Vikings needed a play-maker in the passing game who can stretch the field and utilize Favre's deep-ball. Favre is barely averaging 200 passing yards per game and has just 2 TDs this season, expect both stats to sky-rocket with Moss back in purple.
Tom Brady-NEP: Moss may have been the best play-maker and deep threat for Tom Brady and the Pats the last few years, but Brady has performed admirably this season without involving Moss a whole lot in the passing game. Moss is only averaging 35 yards-per-game, while Brady is holding strong at 227 ypg. But Moss has accounted for 30% of Brady's 9 TD passes. Luckily the Pats are on a bye this week so they can start planning to involve their other playmakers on Offense (see below) who will have to step up in Moss' absence. We are confident Brady will still finish among the elite QBs in 2010.
Adrian Peterson-MIN: Opposing Defenses have focused on stopping the Vikings' rushing attack because Minnesota has struggled in the passing game, and Peterson still has dominated on the ground. AP's 130 rushing yards-per-game is 2nd best in the league and his 3 TDs are among the league's best despite the fact he played one less game because of his early Bye week. Now with a viable deep threat, Defenses won't stack the box, which will allow bigger holes and more running room. Will AP lose some Red Zone touches now that Moss is on the team, yes probably, but keep in mind he scored a career best 18 times last year thanks to Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin stretching the field. Peterson's already on his way to another great season, adding Moss will ensure that doesn't change.
Benjarvus Green-Ellis/Sammy Morris/Danny Woodhead/Fred Taylor-NEP: Anyone that says the Patriots aren't a rushing team, needs to check the stats, because they actually take a pretty even approach in their game plan. They run the ball 54% of the time, which may jump a bit now that Moss is off the team. New England has plenty of depth at RB, with Green-Ellis recently inserting himself as their #1. BJGE scored in back-to-back games and rushed for 76 and 98 yards on 16 attempts the last two games. Green Ellis' stats can only get better with more carries.
Randy Moss-MIN: In the Patriots' most recent game, Moss was held without a catch for just the 5th time in his career. His yard totals and receptions are down but he's on pace for another season of double digit TDs. He'll take over as the Vikings' #1 Wide Receiver and will get plenty of deep passes from Favre. Unlike his recent role with the Pats, Moss will be used heavily in the Vikings passing attack, so his average of 3 receptions per game will increase as will his yard total. Moss should also benefit from playing in a Conference with weaker secondaries and for a team that plays in a Dome instead of the cold weather that is approaching in New England. Keep in mind Moss' current contract expires in the Spring, so he'll be motivated to perform well in hopes of getting a new contract with the Vikings or another NFL team. Moss still hasn't won a Super Bowl and is joining a team that is poised to make another run in the Playoffs.
Percy Harvin-MIN: Migraines or no Migraines, Harvin is still an explosive player with a ton of talent. During his Rookie season when Sidney Rice was healthy, Harvin was able to score 6 times and catch 60 passes. He's disappointed Fantasy Managers thus far, but that should change now that there's a viable deep-threat back in the starting lineup. Plus he's coming off a Bye-week, so he had time to recover from his hip injury. Unlike the first 3 weeks of the season, Defenses won't be able to double-team the 2nd year WR, so he'll be open much more which means better numbers across the board.
Wes Welker: While Defenses were focused on stopping Moss down-field, Welker took advantage of mismatches in the short-game. Even with Moss gone, Welker's role shouldn't change. Linebackers and CBs will still struggle when trying to cover him and Brady may look to Welker even more. Expect another season of more than 100 receptions and at least 1,000 yards for Welker. His 3 TDs in 2010 has already equaled his '08 TD total and is one short of matching his '09 total. In the 1st-4 games, Brady targeted Welker 6 times in the Red Zone, which is a great indication that Welker may be on his way to a career high for Touchdowns in a season.
Brandon Tate-NEP: With Moss gone, Tate is poised for a breakout season. Tate missed his entire Rookie season due to injury, but worked hard in the Off-Season. He caught the attention of QB Tom Brady during Training Camp who said Tate was one of the most electrifying players on New England's roster. Brady's acclaim was spot on, as Tate has scored twice on Kickoff Returns. He'll take over for Moss in the starting lineup. Despite his limited action at Receiver, Tate posted similar yardage totals (135) to Moss (139) thus far and actually has more receptions (11, compared to Moss' 9). The Pats' are on a bye this week, which should be plenty of time for him to build chemistry with Brady and for Coach Bill Belichick to incorporate him into their game plan. In terms of Red Zone threat, Tate isn't on the same level as Moss, but he does have the skills and speed to develop into the Pats' big-play target. For now he's a solid #3 WR, but has potential to develop into a borderline #2.
Bernard Berrian-MIN: Berrian will get bumped out of the starting rotation, but will get some action as the team's #3 wide out. With just 5 receptions for 38 yards, he wasn't much of an option for Fantasy Managers anyway.
Julian Edelman-NEP: Edelman will see more action now that there's one less WR ahead of him on the Depth Chart. He'll get some playing time on 3 WR sets, but until we see how the Patriots utilize him in the passing game, his value as a Fantasy Player doesn't change.
Aaron Hernandez-NEP: Although he hasn't score, Hernandez is very valuable in both PPR and Non-PPR leagues. The Rookie TE has 240 yards and 18 receptions so far this season. It seems the Patriots are involving Tight Ends much more in their passing attack, a trend that is likely to continue now that Moss is out of the lineup. In just 4 games, Hernandez proved he can make plays after the catch and may finish among the league's best TEs. He's a must add if available and is a great player to keep in Dynasty Leagues.
Visanthe Shaincoe-MIN: Of all the players listed, Shaincoe's value is likely the only one to take a dip. He's one of Favre's favorite Red Zone targets but will start losing looks near the goal-line. That being said, Shaincoe may get a bump in yardage totals, since Safeties will have to help cover Moss. He gets a slight downgrade.