Dynasty Fantasy Football Battle: JuJu Smith-Schuster vs Skyy Moore

One of my favorite situations in dynasty fantasy football is when there are two similarly valued players on the same team at the same position. So often, each player has his supporters in the dynasty community, and there’s a debate about which player should carry more value. I want to examine a few of these situations, breaking them down from statistical, ADP/trade value, and future situation angles. I did this series last year, so if you want to get an idea of what these articles are like, I provided the links at the bottom of this page.

I brought the series back this year, and I’ve written two articles so far: Tyreek Hill vs Jaylen Waddle and Kadarius Toney vs Wan’Dale Robinson. Now, I want to do another comparison between a veteran and a rookie wide receiver but in a more exciting offense. So let’s compare JuJu Smith-Schuster to Skyy Moore!

Statistical Duel

Of course, Smith-Schuster has a long NFL track record, while Moore is an incoming rookie. Therefore, I want to examine Smith-Schuster’s NFL statistics first.

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Chart courtesy of Pro Football Reference.

As you can see, he started his NFL career with a bang. In 2017, he became the Steelers’ WR2 as a rookie behind superstar Antonio Brown. Then in 2018, he progressed further, leading the team in receptions and yards while finishing second in touchdowns and targets.

Unfortunately, everything went downhill after 2018. Brown departed the Steelers after the 2018 season, leaving Smith-Schuster as the nominal WR1 going into 2019. But he ultimately failed to step up to the plate, almost halving his per-game statistics from 2018. Diontae Johnson emerged as the Steelers’ new WR1, which he never relinquished.

By 2020, the Steelers had drafted Chase Claypool to complement Smith-Schuster and Johnson, leaving a three-headed monster at wide receiver. Smith-Schuster somewhat bounced back in 2020, catching a career-high nine touchdowns. However, his yards/target decreased for the fourth straight season, and he still only had 51.9 yards/game. Throughout the season, I believed the Steelers would have benefited from not forcing the ball to Smith-Schuster and instead exploring more inventive ways to utilize Johnson and Claypool.

Smith-Schuster hit free agency after 2020, and other NFL teams were not particularly interested in his services. The Chiefs and the Ravens offered one-year deals, but he chose to re-sign with the Steelers on an $8 million one-year agreement. He only played five games in 2021 due to injuries, although he was awful in those contests. He failed to catch a single touchdown, eclipse 52 yards, or catch more than six balls in any of them. By the time he went out, I had already removed him from weekly starting consideration in fantasy lineups. I almost find it hard to believe how far he declined, even though he remains only 25 years old.

In contrast, Moore only has his college statistics at Western Michigan to judge him.

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Chart courtesy of Sports Reference CFB.

He played quarterback and defensive back in high school, converting to wide receiver in college. Even so, he led the team in receiving yards as a true freshman and finished tied for first in receptions.

In 2020, though, Western Michigan only played six games due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Moore increased his receptions and yards/game numbers but fell to the clear second receiver behind future second-round pick D’Wayne Eskridge. However, it’s important to note that 2020 was Eskridge’s fifth college season, and he is more than three years older than Moore. It’s therefore not surprising that he recorded better numbers.

Everything came together in 2021. Eskridge left for the NFL, Western Michigan played an entire season, and Moore blossomed into a complete wide receiver. He soared to 95 receptions for 1,292 yards and ten touchdowns in 12 games, leading the team in all receiving categories. After his impressive junior year, he declared for the 2022 NFL Draft, where the Chiefs selected him with the 54th overall pick in the second round.

ADP Comparison

In May’s DLF 1QB ADP, the two players sit back-to-back. Smith-Schuster is WR39 and 70.83 overall, while Moore comes in at WR40 and 72 overall. Moore recently entered the NFL, so he doesn’t have a long ADP history. But Smith-Schuster is a different story.

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Chart courtesy of ADP Over Time.

He spent time as a first-round startup pick during the 2019 off-season, rising to sixth overall in September 2019. He remained a second-rounder even after his disastrous 2019 season, but he continued to decline throughout his time with the Steelers. He fell to 93rd overall in March before signing with the Chiefs in free agency.

However, his ADP rebounded in April after he joined the Chiefs. At that time, the Chiefs had already traded Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins and signed Marquez Valdes-Scantling as his nominal replacement. He rose to the 60th overall player in April’s data, as the Chiefs had not drafted Moore in the NFL Draft yet. It will be interesting to see how Smith-Schuster and Moore’s ADPs move throughout the summer, given training camp hype pieces and other new information.

The Future

Smith-Schuster has an entirely uncertain future with the Chiefs. He only signed a one-year deal in free agency, worth $2.49 million in guaranteed money. If he earns all of the incentives in the deal, he can go up to $10.75 million, but even that is far from a large amount of money for a top NFL wide receiver. Furthermore, if he doesn’t perform well this year, he won’t be back on the team for 2023.

On the other hand, Moore is locked in with the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes for his four-year rookie contract. The Chiefs could always bring in another wide receiver ahead of Moore, but they also have to contend with Travis Kelce’s decline. Kelce turns 33 during the 2022 season and will eventually suffer a drop-off in production. Therefore, I do not doubt that the Chiefs at least intend to utilize Moore as one of their long-term receiving weapons in a pass-happy offense.

Of course, though, it’s essential to acknowledge that Moore is not a guarantee to produce. The Chiefs drafted Mecole Hardman in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, and they wanted him to become a big part of their offense. But he never evolved into more than a gadget player, and he’s now the WR4 on this depth chart. Moore is a far more talented player and a better prospect than Hardman was, but draft picks can always miss.

Conclusion

According to my personal dynasty rankings, I have Moore as WR32 and Smith-Schuster at WR42, a ten-spot difference. Therefore, I find Smith-Schuster’s current dynasty price mostly reasonable, although I see Moore as a massive value. Most importantly, though, Moore has a far more insulated value, as he carries good draft capital and rookie hype.

In contrast, Smith-Schuster is on the edge of losing all his dynasty value. Moreover, after three down seasons, I doubt dynasty managers will forgive him again. For those reasons, I’ll easily select Moore over Smith-Schuster in dynasty startups, even if Moore may take some time to acclimate to the NFL. Dynasty is not redraft, and I’ll trade a few weeks of better production from Smith-Schuster at the start of the 2022 season for Moore’s upside every single time.

2022 Entries: Jaylen Waddle vs Tyreek Hill, Kadarius Toney vs Wan’Dale Robinson

2021 Entries: Courtland Sutton vs Jerry Jeudy, Ronald Jones vs Leonard Fournette, Corey Davis vs Marvin Mims, Hunter Henry vs Jonnu Smith, Cooper Kupp vs Robert Woods

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Dynasty Fantasy Football Battle: JuJu Smith-Schuster vs Skyy Moore