2014 Fantasy Football: Too Much Hate on WR Eric Decker
Let’s make something very clear here. I’m well aware that Eric Decker is now on the New York Jets. I’m also aware that his new QB is Geno Smith. That being said, Decker’s current ADP is in the ninth round, which is absolutely ridiculous. Here’s why Decker is worth a roster spot on your fantasy football team.
Yes, Decker went from the league-leading Denver Broncos offense headed by Peyton Manning to the Jets with Smith under center. Is he going to repeat his 2013 performance of almost 1,300 yards and 11 TDs? It’s certainly unlikely, but I think that Decker is more than capable of getting somewhere in the vicinity of 60 catches for 800 yards and seven TDs.
While none of the Jets’ WRs even came close to 1,000 yards last year, consider the situation. Santonio Holmes is a decently talented WR but was coming off a Lisfranc foot injury last year, missing most of training camp and the preseason. Jeremy Kerley has only shown flashes of talent in the NFL after being highly touted out of college, and Stephen Hill was a fifth-round draft selection in 2011 and only has 45 receptions through two seasons.
The Jets signed Decker to a five-year, $36 million contract this offseason with the intention of him being their No. 1 WR. He is clearly the most talented WR on their roster right now, and he should be a go-to receiver and red-zone target for Smith.
At a glance, Smith’s inability to play the QB position scares most away from drafting Decker. Last season, Smith had a 55.8 percent completion rate, threw for just over 3,000 yards and had a 12 to 21 TD-to-INT ratio. While Smith certainly didn’t shine his 2013 rookie year, his stats did improve as the season went on. Let’s take a look at the end of last year.
In the last four games last year, Smith completed 59.1 percent of his passes and averaged 198 yards per game. He also passed for four TDs and just two INTs over that span. He showed clear improvement toward the end of 2013, and reports out of training camp are that Smith has learned a lot from Michael Vick. I’m not saying to draft Smith as your fantasy QB, but he has the potential to give Decker some decent fantasy value and production.
If Smith looks awful in the preseason, I may change my mind about Decker. However, Decker has WR3 potential, and you’re not losing much by drafting him in the ninth round. That late in the draft, I’d rather take my chances with Decker, a proven veteran WR who is No. 1 on the depth chart, than any over-hyped rookie WR who has yet to play a snap in the NFL.