Over his first three seasons in the NFL, Oakland Raiders‘ wide receiver Denarius Moore has put up decent numbers, catching for an average of just around 700 yards and five touchdowns a season, but has struggled with inconsistencies. Despite finishing second in receiving yards on the Raiders every season he has been in the NFL, Moore will shine in two or three straight games and then disappear for the next few.
Speculation that 2014 will be Moore’s year to breakout in Oakland has run rampant throughout the offseason and preseason, but it’s not Moore’s faults as much as the Raiders’ lack of a consistent quarterback that has caused the former Tennessee Volunteer standout to be inconsistent – something that Oakland has addressed coming into this season.
The Raiders have struggled heavily with inconsistencies at the quarterback position throughout Moore’s time with the team. In just three seasons in the NFL, Moore has had eight different starting quarterbacks with four of them attempting at least 150 passes. Now, with the arrival of former Houston Texans‘ QB Matt Schaub, who Oakland picked up for a sixth-round draft pick after a shockingly horrible season in 2013, the Raiders will hope that they have finally found a consistent starter at the most important position in football.
When speculating about Moore’s potential for 2014 with Schaub as quarterback, it should be noted that rookie Texans’ receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who had an 802 yard season in 2013, plays essentially the same position as Moore does in the Raiders’ offense and had the second best number of total receiving yards by a rookie in 2013 with a majority of the passes coming from Schaub.
Hopkins, who was drafted 27th overall in the 2013 NFL Draft, is taller and has a longer wingspan than Moore, but when comparing their results from the NFL combine, Moore actually ran faster 40-yard dash and 20-yard shuttle times. Combine numbers don’t mean much, but the athletic potential is clearly there for Moore.
When interviewed about Moore, Schaub said, “D-Moe’ has really come into camp and had a good camp. He’s continued to make progress in his career and with his work ethic. He’s had a really good camp to this point, and really made some plays in some of the games, some good catches, run after the catch. Just has to continue to do that. (read more of Schaub’s quotes,here).”
So far in the 2014 preseason, Moore has been quiet with just 82 total yards receiving with one big 40 yard play, but the stat that is really important for a player criticized for inconsistency is that he has six receptions on seven targets.
Because Moore is listed as the third receiver on the Raiders’ depth chart, he hasn’t been on the field for an extended period of time just yet. However, if his newfound consistency in the preseason can translate into the regular season, Moore could definitely have a monster year.
Fantasy Football fans should also be aware of the trend towards a better season offensively for both Oakland and Moore, because many drafts don’t have Moore going until extremely late in the draft or, as with every draft and mock draft I’ve personally been in so far, not at all. A player who has consistently finished as the No. 2 receiver on the roster showing flashes of explosiveness with a quarterback who was once considered borderline elite is exactly the type of player that Fantasy writers will label all across the league as a “breakout candidate.” Moore is not a player you want to miss on as a Fantasy owner if his trend towards success continues.
Remember, it’s just preseason, which means that observations and statistics have the tendency to either mean nothing or everything, but if Moore can find consistency in 2014, he could have the type of season that sees him make over 70 receptions for over 1,000 yards and become a key member of the Raiders’ offense.
It’s time for Moore to prove himself, and all signs lead to the conclusion that he’s ready to do so.