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Fantasy Football 2014: Eric Decker Signs With Jets, Fantasy Stock Plummets

Eric Decker

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

 

I see your Darrelle Revis and raise you an Eric Decker.

Good call, Jets.

Around midnight, the New York Jets landed one of the biggest free agents in this year’s class, signing wideout Eric Decker to a 5-year, $36.25 million deal. So, after taking a trip to his first Super Bowl, after catching passes from one of the greats in Peyton Manning, Decker goes to the Jets, a team that, well, to put it nicely, isn’t the Broncos. With this news, there are some fantasy implications, for sure.

It ain’t pretty.

Going from Manning to the likes of Geno Smith is like… going from Manning to Geno Smith. There’s no other analogy that can describe how atrocious that is. Decker, though a very good receiver, obviously thrived off of that record-breaking offense, hauling in a ridiculous 24 touchdowns over his last two seasons. However, 18 of those scores came from inside the red zone, which certainly helped his production totals. Look, Decker is a monster from in close, possessing decent size, hands and aggressiveness to go get the football. But how often will he get the opportunity to do that in New York? In 2013, the Jets averaged just 2.6 red zone scoring attempts per game, the 7th-fewest in football. Also, unlike Denver, the Jets simply want to run the football. They’ve ranked fourth and seventh in rushing attempts over the last two seasons.

It’s hard to peg a stat line for Decker with the Jets, but consider using the 2011 season as an indicator.

During that year, Decker was catching passes from a combination of Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow. He caught a respectable eight touchdowns that year, ultimately finishing as the number 35 wide receiver in fantasy. I currently have him ranked as WR34, so clearly I expect a similar finish. But remember, he also had a burgeoning Demaryius Thomas across from him to draw some attention. Who’s going to do that on the Jets? Stephen Hill? And during that same season, while Decker scored eight times, he still finished with just 44 catches for 612 yards, so perhaps the scores were a bit fluky. And, seeing as the Jets don’t see the red zone very often, there is legitimate reason for concern here.

Many seem to think Geno Smith will be much improved in year two. Seeing as it’s difficult to get much worse than 21 interceptions, he should be better. But this is still a very raw quarterback who struggles to make all of the reads and, clearly, is prone to turning the ball over. If you want to draft Decker, be my guest. But in this offense, unless they do some major uphauling, I don’t see him as any more than a WR3.

Toto, we’re not in Denver anymore.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.