Each Friday during the 2022 NFL and fantasy football season, Eric Karabell will bring his always-reasonable perspective to highlight the biggest fantasy football storylines heading into the weekend's games.
Houston Texans WR Brandin Cooks and Carolina Panthers WR DJ Moore entered this season having combined for a notable nine seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards between them. So far, each has played in three games and neither looks much like a 1,000-yard receiver. Cooks had 22 receiving yards in Week 3. Moore had one catch for 2 yards. It's actually a bit impressive that neither shows up yet on the most-dropped list among wide receivers.
That might soon change if Cooks and Moore don't get going this week in home games against the Chargers and Cardinals, respectively, and even if we acknowledge this might not be their respective faults, it doesn't matter. Fantasy football managers don't care about reasoning. Either you're helping their fantasy teams or not. Neither of these proven wide receivers with multiple top-20 PPR finishes on their recent records enter Week 4 among the top 50 wide receivers in PPR formats. They are on the proverbial hot seat.
With Cooks, impressively a 1,000-yard receiver for four different NFL franchises (Saints, Patriots, Rams, Texans), second-year quarterback Davis Mills is off to a rough start, completing less than 58% of his passes, which is even more troubling considering he's barely throwing the football downfield. His average yards per attempt is down from 6.8 as a rookie to 6.2 this season. Cooks is still getting half the wide receiver targets on his own team, but there's little efficiency here. Nico Collins emerging as a second WR might be a positive thing. Cooks remains a WR3 in our rankings for this week.
Moore has to deal with QB Baker Mayfield, which we didn't think would be a major issue because last year's Carolina passers were Sam Darnold, Cam Newton and P.J. Walker. Not exactly Montana and Young, eh? Moore caught 93 of their passes for 1,157 yards, his third consecutive season over 1,000, though with only four TDs each time. Robbie Anderson -- whom fantasy managers are no longer intrigued by -- was second last season with 53 catches and 519 yards. It's all Moore's show, and defenses know it. This week, he faces effective Arizona cover corner Byron Murphy Jr. Moore has fallen to more of a WR4 now, but dropping him remains premature. For now.
Bye weeks start in Week 6, and while it's understandable that impatient fantasy managers might move on from these established, reliable wide receivers soon, it is a bit hard to believe that there are safer options on free agency. Zay Jones and Greg Dortch are the most-added wide receivers for the past week. Adding them for Cooks and Moore just feels wrong. Try to be patient, even if Cooks and Moore struggle again.