Separated by just five picks according to Mock Draft Central, Jeremy Maclin(notes) (ADP: 66.04) and Santana Moss(notes) (71.34) enter 2010 as evenly ranked No. 2s in 12-team leagues. But there's dissension in the ranks! Fanalysts Scott Pianowski and Brad Evans throw blows over which NFC East wideout will yield the most value.
Pianowski jabs: Pro football is a young man's game, especially at the skill positions. When I'm looking for a production spike at this position, give me the second-year pup over the 10-year graybeard every time.
Maclin's fantasy value eclipsed Moss's over the final three months of 2009. Maclin collected 717 yards and four scores over his last 12 games – he was a different player after Philly's early bye – while Moss was slowing down over that period (609 yards, just one touchdown). Maclin's YPC was also three yards higher than Moss over this period, despite a nagging foot injury. And let's not forget the snappy performance Maclin gave us in Philadelphia's playoff loss (seven catches, 146 yards, one score). This is a stick of dynamite ready to explode.
Mike Shanahan and Donovan McNabb(notes) should help Moss's stock, but is that enough to offset Maclin's likely spike in his second season? Shanahan's productive offenses in Denver were known more for their running than their passing. Andy Reid? He passes to set up the pass.
Don't let Kevin Kolb's(notes) ascent in Philadelphia worry you; the Eagles have to feel pretty confident about their new starter given that they traded McNabb cheaply, and in the division no less. And with Brian Westbrook(notes) out of the picture, Kolb and the passing game will definitely be asked to carry the offense in all situations.
I like to consider floor when making my first 3-4 picks, but after that we're looking for players heading up on the escalator. Let's take a swing at some upside here. Make it Maclin in 2010.
Evans counterpunches: Based on a number of factors including age, general health and team affiliation, Moss and Maclin should be two players trending in different directions. But superficial appearances can be deceiving.
Underneath the sagging numbers, offseason knee surgery and prior relationship with PED peddler Dr. Anthony Galea, Moss is Mighty Mouse. At 31, the diminutive receiver still possesses the separation skills needed to be a top-flight No. 2 fantasy option. As Mike Shanahan remarked in mid-June Moss looked like "the guy I've been watching my whole career" – quick, shifty and dangerous. Health concerns are minimal.
After years of dreadful inconsistency with Jason Campbell(notes), the nation's capital will feel Donovan McNabb's impact immediately. The veteran's teaming with Shanahan should revive an offense which has been painfully mediocre in recent years. The Chunky Soup Maestro may no longer be the elite passer he was a few short seasons ago, but Lucifer's system can reinvigorate any aging quarterback. Instant chemistry between QB and No. 1 will be likely be forged. Keep in mind, during his days in Denver, Shanny churned out 18 1,000-yard receivers in 14 years. If awful Ashley Lelie(notes) can reach the milestone so can Moss.
Though the Washington wideout hasn't averaged at least nine points per week since 2005, workload hasn't been an issue. Over the past four seasons, the fleet-footed weapon has averaged a healthy 7.9 targets per game. With Devin Thomas(notes) and Malcolm Kelly(notes) still in development, he should easily garner 130 total looks in 2010. Recall even in an uneventful year a season ago, Moss still outpaced Maclin by 30 targets, 15 receptions and 140 yards. Because of the Eagles' spread-it-around nature and due to the presence of DeSean Jackson(notes) and Brent Celek(notes), the second-year receiver's numbers likely won't rocket upward. Uncertainties about Kevin Kolb only muddy matters. A small step, not a quantum leap, should be expected.
Ignore the detractors. The 'Skins' short-steppin' receiver is poised for a monumental rebound.
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