With Week 9 of the 2021 NFL season in the books, dynasty leagues are beginning to round into their final form. This past Sunday in the NFL saw a wealth of upsets in real life as underperforming studs led to upsets in the fantasy realm as well. Recent calls in this space have advocated for aggressively pursuing Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth (who had five grabs for 43 yards and a pair of touchdowns on MNF) and selling high on Jets running back Michael Carter (who came back to earth with 86 scoreless scrimmage yards and just one reception on TNF). Let’s take a look at two Empire State wide receivers headed in opposite directions after Week 9.
WR Elijah Moore, New York Jets
The Jets’ struggles on offense this season are well documented as they entered their Week 9 bout against the Indianapolis Colts ranked 30th in PPG and in the bottom quarter in yards per play. Reliant on rookie quarterback Zach Wilson, New York’s offense appeared to wake up once he exited Week 7 with a knee injury. Backup quarterback Mike White was a revelation for the offense and for Moore, as he caught all six targets for a career-best 67 yards in Week 8. Despite third-string quarterback Josh Johnson playing most of Week 9, Moore managed eight catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns. He finished as the top-scoring WR in PPR leagues as he had his highest snap share since Week 2. His dynasty value has spiked as he begins to recapture the preseason momentum that pushed him into the backend of the first round in many 2021 rookie drafts.
The potency of New York’s offense remains a major concern and could continue to provide a smaller offensive pie, regardless of how large a slice Moore obtains. Another reason for caution is the recent injury to wide receiver Corey Davis, which has certainly played a role in Moore’s increased workload as his absence has opened up seven targets a game. Moore has been able to perform simultaneously with wide receiver Jamison Crowder, who registered 61% & 79% snap shares in Weeks 8 & 9 respectively. In dynasty, I would be willing to move Moore for any first-round rookie pick as his mid-WR2 ceiling in a middling-at-best offense doesn’t move the needle significantly. Capitalizing on his momentum and flipping Moore to owners eager to buy his upswing is the sharpest play. Moore does have softer matchups against the Miami Dolphins in Week 11 and Houston Texans in Week 12, so moving him after these would be an efficient maneuver as well.
WR Kadarius Toney, New York Giants
After a rare trade down in the 2021 NFL Draft by Giants GM Dave Gettleman, the Giants selected Toney 20th overall as he joined offseason signings Kenny Golladay and John Ross as part of a revamped receiving core. Injuries have hit the position group hard as Golladay and fellow receivers Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard have each missed at least three games. Toney was dynamic in Week 5 and put himself on the national radar with a 10 catch, 189 performance against the Dallas Cowboys in a game with no Slayton or Shepard. He has failed to register over four receptions or 36 yards in his three games since then as he’s battled a hand injury. His recent underperformances culminated in a Week 9 game in which he caught his only target for a measly nine yards.
Toney’s professional career got off to an inauspicious start as he missed OTAs and battled Covid. His on-the-field performance has been a roller coaster as well; in addition to inconsistent production, he was ejected during his dynamic Week 5 performance for throwing a punch at Cowboys safety Damontae Kazee. Giants quarterback Daniel Jones has had another rocky year, and his future beyond the 2022 season is fragile. If someone in your league still has stars in their eyes thanks to his Week 5 performance and offers you any first-round rookie pick for Toney, you should smash that offer. I would also be willing to move Toney for an older veteran receiver tied to a reliable quarterback (such as Robert Woods or Tyler Lockett) and would even be willing to move Toney for Allen Robinson and a second-round rookie pick. Despite my critical evaluation of Toney, I would still be willing to move up to a later rookie second and third-round pick for him as he has certainly flashed superstar talent at times.