Randy Moss Departure Affects Percy Harvin the Most

When I heard that the Minnesota Vikings were planning to waive Randy Moss, I immediately thought about how it would affect my fantasy football teams.

The biggest loser in this whole ordeal is not Moss, for he gets to go to a playoff contender (most likely); it’s Percy Harvin. The mere presence of Moss over the top commands double teams and sometimes triple teams. As a result, Harvin has had ample room to operate over the middle.

My 2010 fantasy football crush’s numbers have jumped dramatically since the arrival of Moss.

Without Moss:
Week 1 @ New Orleans – 1 reception, 12 yards, 2 rushing yards
Week 2 vs. Miami – 5 receptions, 32 yards
Week 3 vs. Detroit – 6 receptions, 62 yards, 1 touchdown, 13 rushing yards
Average: 40.33 yards per game, 0.33 touchdowns per game

With Moss:
Week 5 @ New York Jets – 5 receptions, 97 yards, 2 touchdowns
Week 6 vs. Dallas – 3 receptions, 21 yards, 18 rushing yards
Week 7 @ Green Bay – 5 receptions, 65 yards, 41 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown
Week 8 @ New England – 6 receptions, 104 yards
Average: 86.5 yards per game, 0.75 touchdowns per game

The average number of yards and touchdowns per game has more than doubled for Harvin with Moss in the game. The “Randy Moss effect” isn’t an isolated incident either. Take a look at how Wes Welker’s numbers have dipped since Moss left New England.

With Moss:
Week 1 vs. Cincinnati – 8 receptions, 64 yards, 2 touchdowns
Week 2 @ New York Jets – 6 receptions, 38 yards, 1 touchdown
Week 3 vs. Buffalo – 4 receptions, 45 yards
Week 4 @ Miami – 8 receptions, 70 yards
Average: 6.5 receptions per game, 54.25 yards per game, 0.75 touchdowns per game

Without Moss:
Week 6 vs. Baltimore – 7 receptions, 53 yards
Week 7 @ San Diego – 4 receptions, 25 yards
Week 8 vs. Minnesota – 3 receptions, 24 yards
Average: 4.67 receptions per game, 34.0 yards per game, 0 touchdowns per game

The ratio is not exactly 2:1 with Moss and without Moss for Welker, but the alarming statistic is how steep the declining trend is. In this past Sunday’s game, Welker had season lows in receptions and yards.

Welker’s value in fantasy football has always been highest in PPR leagues. He tied for the most receptions in 2007 with 112, finished second in 2008 with 111, and reclaimed the top spot in 2009 with 123. With Moss, Welker was on pace to top 100 receptions for the fourth straight year with 104.

This just goes to show you that not even the preeminent slot receiver in the game can survive without a Randy Moss to shoulder some of the defensive burden.

Which brings me back to Harvin. Poor Percy. He had such an outstanding rookie campaign with high expectations coming into this season. Then, the migraines became a huge issue. Then, Sidney Rice got surgery.

Moss was supposed to be the savior of Harvin, of Brett Favre, of Minnesota. He ended up being just another high-profile character in the Vikings soap opera that the producers had to kill off.

For Harvin’s sake, I can only hope that Rice speeds up his recovery. The most painful result of Moss’s departure might just be having to watch Bernard Berrian attempt to catch balls.

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