Look away, Devin Singletary truthers… Zack Moss has entered the chat and will likely be a thorn in Singletary’s side throughout the 2020 fantasy football season. Following a tremendous collegiate career, Moss’ game is quickly translating to the NFL, where he is looking like a three-down horse during training camp. Although most thought Singletary was a lock to start, and he likely will start Week 1, Moss is nipping at his heels, and he possesses 2020 fantasy football standalone value as more than just a handcuff for Singletary owners.
Straight up, Moss was a bully at Utah. He had three straight seasons with over 1,000 yards on the ground and a monster final season where he put up over 1,800 total yards and 17 touchdowns. On a per-game basis, he averaged 6.0 ypc and a very impressive 13.9 yard-per-reception.
While Moss was a high-level player in the PAC-12, he does not possess elite athleticism for his position. He was clocked at 4.65 in the 40-yard dash, he was in the lowly 46th percentile for Player Profiler’s speed score, and his SPARQ score was in the hideous 29th percentile. Although he didn’t test well, he can change direction rather smoothly for his size (5-foot-10, 223 lbs) and finishes runs like a sledgehammer.
Even though the analytics nerds want nothing to do with the former Ute, he’s quickly made some noise at Bills camp.
Don’t mistake Zack Moss as just some tackle-to-tackle RB. Yes, he’s physical between the tackles, but he has very good vision, finds holes and the edge, and is way more shifty than you may realize.
— Sal Capaccio 🏈 (@SalSports) August 20, 2020
Many thought Singletary would be the clear lead back in 2020, but Moss put himself on the map right away during Bills camp, and now OC Brian Daboll might have a committee on his hands.
According to The Athletic, Singletary has struggled running between the tackles, while Moss has excelled in that area. On Thursday, Bills beat writers Joe Buscaglia, and Matthew Fairburn outlined this tremendous sequence for the rookie running back:
In the first team drill session of the day, Singletary gained minimal yardage on his first two opportunities. Moss, on his first chance, followed an excellent clear-out block from Quinton Spain for a huge 10-plus yard gain. Singletary again couldn’t get anything started on his next carry. He tried to bounce it to the outside and got pinned in, allowing Micah Hyde to make the easy stop. Moss followed that up with an explosive run up the middle behind offensive lineman Evan Boehm and got into the end zone unimpeded.
On Singletary’s next carry, he fumbled the ball at the line of scrimmage, which opened up the door for Moss the rest of the practice. He showed great vision to read his blockers, instincts to take advantage when the defense let their guard down, speed to get to the spot and the physicality to finish runs with authority. One on rep, Moss ran toward one side of the line and the defensive end set the edge. Moss then saw the rest of the defensive line selling out to get to him, so he made one jump cut and burst through the other side of the line for a 6-yard gain.
Singletary’s lack of ball security could force Moss on the field early and often this season. As a rookie, Singletary had the third-most fumbles in the league with four and registered the league’s highest fumble rate at one in every 45 touches (2.2 percent). By contrast, Moss fumbled once every 116 touches at Utah.
“Moss’s ball security, a skill set that’s suited for carries near the goal line and an underrated receiving ability could lead to a closer split between the two than we first thought,” Buscaglia and Fairburn wrote. “And when you factor in Brian Daboll’s penchant for using matchup-specific strategies on offense, we could see weeks when Moss is the top guy and Singletary is the complementary change-of-pace back.”
Then, the two gave us fantasy nerds a little nugget to keep in our back pockets.
“For you fantasy football competitors out there, I’ll leave you with this: Moss might be worth the value of a mid-to-late round pick — especially if Singletary’s fumble problems persist this season,” they explained.
I think Josh Allen had another good day at #BillsCamp.
Here's maybe his best throw during portion we can get video… and it was a dime to Zack Moss.
— Jon Scott (@JonScottTV) August 18, 2020
Original reports suggested the Bills wanted Moss in “a similar role to Frank Gore’s last year.” This alone would’ve made Moss a value at his sub-100 price tag. Gore gobbled up 166 carries, including a team-high 18 from within the 10 yard line & 11 within the five. He turned this into 4 yards and 2 TDs. Moss would’ve undoubtedly bulldozed for more.
Yet, the new pside for Moss to play an even larger role than Gore, especially as a receiver, makes him even more drool-worthy.
In 2019, the Bills had the sixth-most rushing attempts and were eighth in rushing yards per game. However, don’t forget about Josh Allen, who is the team’s de-facto goal-line hammer and could steal easy scores from both Singletary and Moss.
Per usual, The Wolf is higher on the rookies than most fantasy experts. He currently has Zack Moss as his RB36 on the 2020 Fantasy Football Big Board, which is seven spots higher than the ECR.