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The offseason just got its first major shakeup as the Chicago Bears have traded the No. 1 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft to the Carolina Panthers. Along with a surplus of draft picks, D.J. Moore has been included in the trade package and will be catching passes from Justin Fields for the foreseeable future.
What does this mean for Moore's fantasy outlook? What can we expect from Carolina offensively now?
We break that all down here in our instant reaction to the blockbuster deal.
The Carolina Panthers are trading away No. 9 overall, No. 61 overall, a 2024 1st-round pick, a 2025 2nd-round pick, and Moore for the No. 1 selection in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Moore had major question marks surrounding him for fantasy football, given the state of the roster in Carolina heading into 2023. The Panthers currently only have Matt Corral under contract for next season at quarterback, and there weren't many obvious ways to plug that hole with a major upgrade via free agency. Instead of dealing with another season of quarterback uncertainty in Carolina, Moore will now be catching passes from Fields in an offense that figures to be much more potent than last season.
As far as target competition in his new destination, it's almost a guarantee that Moore will be the WR1 for Fields and this passing attack. Chase Claypool was acquired at the trade deadline in 2022, but he did very little in the latter half of the season. Darnell Mooney is an excellent deep threat, but he's best suited as a WR2 for an NFL offense and coming back from a major injury. Moore will certainly have other players vying for targets in this offense. But he should easily see the majority of the targets, and that should translate to around an estimated 25% target share in 2023.
It is worth noting that this will be in a run-first offense, so the overall volume may take a hit versus what he's seen in previous seasons. Still, this may very well be the destination that finally pushes Moore over the seven-touchdown threshold.
As for the other receiving weapons in the Chicago offense, they certainly take a slight hit, but the attention that Moore will command could help generate additional scoring opportunities for players like Claypool, Mooney, and Cole Kmet.
Moore's departure leaves Carolina dangerously thin at wide receiver. The depth chart now consists of players like Terrace Marshall, Shi Smith, Laviska Shenault, and Rashard Higgins, without a proven quarterback currently on the roster. The Panthers are now guaranteed to have a rookie quarterback in town for 2023 and beyond, but they will need to make additional moves to surround him with other receiving weapons.
Marshall should see a slight uptick in the rankings due to Moore's departure, but it'll be important to measure expectations. He hasn't proven that he can be a consistent receiving option for an NFL offense up to this point of his career, and there's still a lot of unknown as to who exactly Carolina is moving up for in the NFL Draft. It would not be surprising to see Carolina dip their toes in the free agent market at WR and try to bring in someone like Jakobi Meyers to be a consistent option over the middle of the field for their rookie quarterback.
At the moment, there are no substantial risers for Carolina with this transaction. Some players - like Tommy Tremble - could be worth rostering in Dynasty as we see how everything shakes out, but we should temper our expectations for immediate production.
Moore's stock does rise with this move from the Panthers to the Bears. He'll be playing with the most talented quarterback of his young career, and he's already proven that he can be productive for fantasy football with less talented passers. The biggest riser out of this transaction from a fantasy football standpoint, though, may just be Fields.
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