Rookie Rundown: RB Zack Moss, Utah

Rookie Rundown: RB Zack Moss, Utah

Fantasy football player analysis tips and advice

Rookie Rundown: RB Zack Moss, Utah

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Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Zack Moss started three games as a freshman before taking over for the next three years. Consistently good for around six yards per carry, he logged three straight 1,000-rushing-yard seasons to end his career with the Utes. He was the first player for Utah to manage that feat and last season was the PAC-12 Player of the Year.

He leaves Utah as their all-time leader in rushing attempts (712), rushing yards (4,067), rushing touchdowns (38) and career 100-yard rushing games (19). He ran for over 100 yards eight times in 2019 and twice recorded more than 180 rushing yards in a game.

Height: 5-9
Weight: 223 pounds
40 time: 4.65 seconds

Moss suffered a torn meniscus in his knee in November 2018 that stemmed from a pre-existing condition when he merely climbed into bed. When it happened, he was on a pace to gain 1,519 rushing yards which would have set the new single-season mark for the school. He underwent surgery that cut short his otherwise-great junior year.

Had the injury not happened, Moss would have likely considered declaring for the NFL draft. He elected to return for his senior season, more than proved himself healthy, and ended up over 1,800 total yards and 17 touchdowns as the Utes went 11-3 and won their second PAC-12 title with Moss on the team.

Year Games Runs Yards Avg. TD Catch Yards. TD Total Yards Total TDs
2016 10 84 382 4.5 2 1 4 0 386 2
2017 13 214 1173 5.5 10 29 243 0 1416 10
2018 9 179 1096 6.1 11 8 50 1 1146 12
2019 13 235 1416 6.0 15 28 388 2 1804 17

Pros

  • Violent, aggressive runner that punishes tacklers
  • Dangerous spin move keeps him moving
  • Capable receiver
  • Great vision and burst extends plays
  • Prototypical thick, bruising running back
  • Arm tackles do not exist when he runs
  • Maintains balance through contact
  • Better than average at pass protection
  • Three-down potential as a feature back

Cons

  • Only logged a 4.65 40-time at Combine, no second gear
  • Needs to work on ball security
  • Running style invites contact, could impact NFL durability
  • Heavy workload in college

Fantasy outlook

Moss projects as the rushing half of a dual backfield though he can catch the ball well. His lack of long speed would limit him more to check-down passes than placing him outside as a receiver. He brings elite inside-rushing skills that can move the chains and get that extra yard or two when he runs. He’s the sort of back that can wear down a defense and simply punish tacklers. There is a place for Moss in the NFL.

His durability could be an issue after so much work in college and now heading into the NFL where the defenders are bigger and better.

Moss is more like throw-back sort of running backs and if he lands on a team with an above-average offensive line, he could surprise even as a rookie. His 4.65 40-time did not surprise any scouts but doesn’t mean he’s too slow to play in the NFL. History has seen many backs with similar 40-times excel in the NFL like Terrell Davis and his 4.72 40-time. As with any running back, where he lands is the most important characteristic of his potential and outlook.

At the worst, Moss offers short-yardage and goal-line work, along with early-down rushing. That could sneak into being a lower-level fantasy starter. In the right situation, Moss could end up as a three-down back and offer sleeper value in a fantasy draft.

 

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