Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
The news came late yesterday, saying that former All-Pro receiver Randy Moss had signed a one-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers.
What flashed through my mind first was what the frequently disruptive wideout would do to the up-and-coming San Francisco 49ers. Would he play by the rules? Be a team player? Or would he be the "diva" who forced his way off three teams in 2010?
But then it dawned on me that I didn't really care what he did to the team's mental state, I only cared what he could produce as a receiver for my fantasy team.
Below is the analysis of what Moss can do for his fantasy owner:
Moss hasn't played an NFL game since January 2011 and then it was as a part- timer for Tennessee. It was mid-October 2010 when Moss was actually a factor in a football game, catching four balls for 81 yards and a score against the New York Jets in his first game with the Minnesota Vikings.
Therefore by the time the 49ers play their first game of 2012, it will be almost two years since Moss has played an important role in an NFL offense.
That's a long time between productive outings, and given that he'll be 35 years old and taken a beating for 202 games, there is a question as to how much he has left in the tank.
Then there is the conservative San Francisco offense factor.
The 49ers went 13-3 on the back of a great defense, excellent special teams and an offense which did just enough to win the close games. San Francisco averaged 23.8 ppg, good for 11th among the 32 teams.
Kicker David Akers led the team in scoring with 166 points and a NFL record 44 field goals.
The offense was based around a strong running game led by Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter. In fact, the 49ers were one of just four NFL teams in 2011 to run more than it passed, rushing the ball 498 times versus throwing it 451 times.
Even when they passed the ball, they didn't produce at a top level, finishing 18th in the league in yards per passing attempt (5.9).
Additionally, Moss will have to share the limited number of targets with an All-Pro tight end in Vernon Davis (95 targets in 2011) and a young talented receiver in Michael Crabtree, who led the team with 115 targets.
And finally there is the always volatile relationship between Moss and his quarterback. Moss, like many "diva" receivers, seems to always have a love- hate relationship with his quarterback. He's had some good ones in the past, playing with the likes of Tom Brady, Daunte Culpepper in his prime and Matt Cassel in his big season with New England and prospered, and some not so good ones, particularly when he was with Oakland.
In Alex Smith, the 49ers have a quarterback who struggled in his first seasons, but blossomed last year into a solid signal-caller. The question of how he gets along with Smith will go a long way in determining how productive Moss can be in 2012.
Adding up all these factors, most of which seem to be working against Moss, it's hard to believe he can still be a 1,000-yard receiver. However, he could be the deep threat who opens up the middle of the field for Davis and Crabtree. And he's a great red zone target with his height and jumping ability.
If Moss accepts that role, he could put up a 60-catch, 750-yard, eight- touchdown season and be a solid No. 2 fantasy receiver. On the other hand, if he reverts to his "diva" role, he could be in line for a season similar to Chad Ochocinco in New England or even cut before he has a chance to be productive.
This will be one of the more interesting relationships to watch at summer camp and into the exhibition season.
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