Unfortunately for some fantasy football players, emotions blind their judgement. It doesn’t matter if Eric Decker gave you a warm and fuzzy feeling when you started him in your lineup in 2013, he is with the New York Jets now, and you need to be able to deal with the cold, hard stats.
Everyone knows that Decker caught passes from one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL. His numbers are absolutely inflated because of this, and it is difficult to get a read on how he can perform in a different system. I believe that the best way to predict the future of Decker is to compare the difference of certain statistics between Geno Smith and Peyton Manning.
I understand that Manning is better than Smith. What I am looking for, however, is certain trends that will indicate how productive Decker can be. While Manning averaged an absurd 342 passing yards per game, Smith averaged around half of that with 190. That immediately indicates that Decker will have less of chance to have a high receiving yard total in each game, which means that his fantasy production will be lower.
The next most important element I wanted to analyze was the amount of passing attempts between Manning and Smith. Manning attempted 659 passing attempts in 2013, which roughly equals 41 passing attempts per game. Smith’s attempts were obviously much lower than that, with 443. Those 443 attempts average out to 27 passing attempts per game, and Smith was only able to complete 55 percent of his passes on the year.
Reports have indicated that the Jets are planning on focusing more on the running attack in 2014, and Smith could be limited to as little as 20 passing attempts per game. If Smith once again only completes 55 percent of his passes in 2014, he would only throw between 11-12 completions per game. That leaves very little room for Decker to make a fantasy impact.
I finally looked towards the team leader in receptions for the Jets to compile my final analysis. With Manning in 2013, Decker had 87 receptions on the year, which averages to five catches per game. Jeremy Kerley, the reception leader for the Jets in 2013, caught 43 passes; that averages to two receptions per game.
If Decker is able to have any type of meaningful year in fantasy football, it will be shocking. While many fantasy players will say they just have a “gut feeling” that Decker will have a great fantasy year with the Jets, make sure you stick with logic and statistics and avoid Decker at all costs.