All it takes is a simple yet direct opinion.
Thursday night sipping on Three Olives while watching the Miami Heat dismantle OKC, a clear thought entered the Noise's normally polluted head. Of course, the sudden stroke of "genius" didn't exceed 140 characters. Blasted out on Twitter, the seemingly benign statement reached followers' iPads, cellphones and laptops in the blink of an eye, a spark that, surprisingly, ignited a firestorm.
Who knew Randy Moss was still that relevant? The conversation:
Though their HUEVOS are laudable, Moss zealots who make bold New England comparisons or throw out seemingly unreachable projections are living in a fictional world where iconic ex-presidents secretly moonlight as ax-wielding vampire hunters. Yes, reports out of the Bay Area about the receiver are glowing, but this is not the Randy that single-handedly carried owners to the winner's circle with Tom Brady as a Patriot in 2007. Nor is it the trash-talking twenty-something that tortured secondaries while in Minnesota. Heck, it probably even isn't the horrifically inconsistent version that suited up for Al Davis in Oakland.
At 35, the latest incarnation is older, presumably wiser and more of a role player. Wild hallucinations he will be anything more are exactly that. Examine the facts:
1) Alex Smith is his quarterback. To be fair, the passer performed brilliantly at times last year, particularly in San Fran's thrilling playoff victory over New Orleans. He evolved into a more efficient passer, establishing new career benchmarks in completion percentage (61.3) and passing yards (3,144). Still, he's no Brady or vintage Daunte Culpepper. Smith, who has never topped 20 TD passes in a season, is the consummate game-manager. No WR has surpassed 1,000 yards in during his tenure as starter. A rehash of Montana-to-Rice this is not.
2) There are other mouths to feed. Vernon Davis has led San Fran in receiving in consecutive seasons and, immersed in his prime, that's highly unlikely to change. Complicating matters, Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham along with rookies A.J. Jenkins and LaMichael James will eat into Moss' workload. Within a West Coast spread-the-love scheme, it's very probable Randy won't receive the volume of targets needed to return to fantasy relevancy.
3) San Fran's staunch defense is a major limitation. The unit should again be one of the league's best, meaning frantic late-game come-from-behind efforts will be few and far between. A heavy dose of Frank Gore and Brandon Jacobs will be deployed often to salt away the clock, limiting scoring opportunities for the six-time Pro Bowler. Recall, Jim Harbaugh called "pass" just 45.4 percent of the time last year. He's a throwback mind in a throw-first age.
4) Father Time has stacked the odds against him. The greatest Age 35 fantasy season compiled by a wide receiver was Irving Fryar's 86-1,316-6 campaign with Philadelphia back in 1997. That season, the ageless wonder and Ricky Watters were the entire Eagles offense. What he accomplished with the three-headed ferret of Rodney Pete, Ty Detmer and Bobby Hoying was nothing short of amazing. Smith is a QB upgrade by comparison, but it's unlikely Moss will rack enough targets/touches to even remotely flirt with Fryar's best of age mark.
5) Motivational factors. Moss' mental missteps and subsequent blatant laziness are well-documented. At three different career stops (Oak, NE and TEN), he completely checked out when the season soured. It may seem unlikely San Fran, the deadliest team in the West last year, will suddenly lose its stranglehold, but stranger things have happened. If the Niners somehow headed into their Week 8 bye 2-6 or 3-5, the Great Moss Vanishing Act of yesteryear may again take center-stage.
Truthfully, the future Hall of Famer is a fair mid-round dice roll in drafts this season (93.4 ADP, WR36). However, younger, more promising wideouts like Titus Young (91.3 ADP), Darrius Heyward-Bey (103.0) and Greg Little (106.3) offer more upside.
Gamers, don't be suckered by fool's gold.
Moss is almost completely avoidable.
Fearless Forecast (16 games): 48 receptions, 783 receiving yards, 5 receiving touchdowns
• After weeks of rampant speculation, Atlanta's RB redistribution is no longer hearsay. On Thursday, Mike Smith made it official: This year, the Falcons will be a full-blown running back by committee.
Thanks for playing, Michael Turner.
The Burner, now practically extinguished, is the virtual game's most overrated early round pick (30.0 ADP, RB16). His value is and will continue to be locked in a deep freeze. Dirk Koetter's insistence on installing more screens and swings has the stone-handed rusher on the outside looking in. More reliable pass catchers Jason Snelling and breakout favorite Jacquizz Rodgers are destined for more touches, relegating Turner almost exclusively to short-yardage and some early down work. Given his advanced age (30) and after he slowed down the stretch last season (3.7 YPC from Weeks 9-16), Smith's move to diversify shouldn't floor anyone.
Because Turner will likely net a majority of the goal-line touches, he isn't completely toast, but it would be no shock if he registered roughly 11-14 touches per game, a swift, dramatic drop-off from the 19.8 carries per he shouldered over the past two seasons. He's just the latest victim in an era dominated by timeshares.
In the Noise's book, he's barely a top-30 rusher. James Starks (69.9 ADP), Isaac Redman (47.7), Shonn Greene (52.9) and even Donald Brown (77.0) deserve strong consideration over him, especially in PPR settings.
Want to bull rush Brad? Follow him on Twitter @YahooNoise and be sure to check him along with Andy Behrens, Brandon Funston and Scott Pianowski on The Fantasy Freak Show (Now on iTunes) every Friday at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on Yahoo! Sports Radio
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