When it comes to Fantasy Football 2015, Eric Decker was the New York Jets’ prized free agent signing last season as he was brought in to replace Santonio Holmes as the No. 1 receiver. Despite his first year stats with the Jets reaching nowhere near what he posted previously in Denver with the Broncos, Decker’s first year in Gotham was a success.
His best game was, hands down, Week 17 against the Miami Dolphins. Decker put on a show that will always be remembered by the Jets. He recorded 10 receptions for 221 yards and 1 touchdown.
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Decker left the game for a short period of time in the second quarter with a shoulder injury but returned later on in the third quarter. Upon his return, he absolutely wiped the floor with Dolphins cornerback Cortland Finnegan, recording an unforgettable 74-yard touchdown pass.
He finished the 2014 season with 74 catches for 962 yards and five touchdowns. He may not be a No. 1 wide out in the truest sense, but he definitely has the potential. We can argue he was less of a “Manning Product” than many assumed, most fans predicted Decker wouldn’t finish anywhere near 1,000 receiving yards, some even said it was a mistake for him to sign with the Jets, but Decker silenced his critics.
With a turn-over in the Jets’ front office this year, Decker’s spot on the roster is still fully-guaranteed. Depending on how Ryan Fitzpatrick plays out for the Jets this season, Decker can prove to be a reliable and solid WR2 in fantasy leagues.
Last year, he finished with a total of 126.2 fantasy points, this year he’s on track to record 65 receptions for 866 yards, 6 touchdowns and a total of 122.6 fantasy points. Decker is projected to finish with almost identical stats and fantasy points this season. He has always been a solid draft pick for any fantasy owner since entering the NFL. Decker has recorded a combined total of 631.3 fantasy points since his rookie year in 2010.
So how does the Jets bringing in Brandon Marshall effect Decker’s fantasy stock this season? With Marshall as the Jets No. 1 wide out and Chan Gailey operating the Jets’ offense, it leaves Decker with a tremendous opportunity to take advantage of lack of coverage due to the attention of opposing defenses mainly being focused on Marshall.
His production took a big hit in 2014 as he realized first hand how different Geno Smith can be from Peyton Manning. After two strong and impressive seasons in Denver, Decker had a productive season for the Jets but an average season as well. His stats in receptions, yards and touchdowns all decreased, yet he almost became the first Jets’ receiver since Jerricho Cotchery to finish a season in Gotham with 1,000 receiving yards.
Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) runs for a touchdown during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
With Smith out of commission for about 6-8 weeks with a broken jaw, magic Fitzpatrick is now the No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart and also the penciled in Week one starter. That, in my own mind is great news for not only the fan base but for Decker as well. Fitzpatrick has experience playing under Gailey’s offense while he was apart of the Buffalo Bills. Plus, Fitzpatrick had a more productive season last year compared to Smith’s 2014 season. In my mind he’s an upgrade at quarterback, but not by much.
Decker will continue to do what he always does best which is make plays in close games and serve as a tremendous compliment to Marshall. This dynamic duo has the potential of being as dominant and unstoppable as the duo of wide outs such as Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate.
I would draft Decker in the later rounds of your fantasy draft, always draft your running backs and your receivers before your quarterbacks and tight ends. Decker can ultimately serve as a solid WR2 or a reliable FLEX player to incorporate into your lineup each week.