Fantasy Football 2014: Keep Eric Decker on Your Draft Day Radar -- For Now

By Jim Heath
Eric Decker
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The verdict is still out on the fantasy football value of New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker. I have certainly read several – almost too many – articles that claim with confidence he is a certain bust. I’m just not entirely convinced – here’s why.

Do not discount Decker’s stats. Decker has 24 touchdown catches over the last two seasons. The only wide receiver ahead of Decker in that time is Dez Bryant with 25 and he is tied with former Denver Broncos teammate Demaryius Thomas.

Decker’s critics will say he was catching the rock from Peyton Manning. I do not dispute the fact that Decker significantly benefited from Manning. However, one could easily argue that Decker didn’t get as many looks in Denver because Manning had Thomas, Wes Welker, Julius Thomas, Knowshon Moreno and countless others to throw to.

At the end of the day, this is still the NFL where someone can’t luck into that type of multiple-year production. Decker is a talented wide receiver.

So, Decker will now be catching passes thrown by second-year quarterback Geno Smith. Sure, Smith struggled his rookie season. However, keep this in mind, Smith liked to sling the rock. Ten times he attempted at or over 30 passes.

Additionally, he threw for over 3,000 yards with double-digit touchdowns and most outside the New York City zip code will struggle to name a single Jets wide receiver. The “rook” simply had no weapons last season.

How will a year of experience and new weapons benefit Smith this season? Far too many variables to know at this juncture, but improvement should be a given. It is early in free agency and the 2014 NFL Draft has yet to take place. We simply don’t know what the 53-man Jets’ roster will look like.

So what exactly is my point here?

Keep an eye on the Decker experiment in New York. Every fantasy football guru across the land has him pegged as a certain bust labeling him with so many red flags that most won’t touch him in next year’s fantasy drafts. That means you can get a former 12 scores-a-year guy cheap and very late.

Obviously, the probability of Decker being a top 10 fantasy guy next year is somewhere between slim and none. However, he will be relevant. He will get his receptions in PPR leagues and he will find the end zone. If he’s there late and you’re looking for a WR3 with upside – don’t hesitate.

Do not fall into the traps and deceptions of what seem to be the popular trends and fads of fantasy football. See for yourself, monitor the situation and make your own decisions. Avoid popular opinion, wait for the proof and dare to be different – keep Decker on your fantasy radar.

Jim Heath is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @jim_heath, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google


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