Eric Decker was a big part of the Denver Broncos’ run to the Super Bowl last season, catching 87 passes for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns. It was his second season of catching for over 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns, and as a result he was the eighth highest scoring fantasy wide receiver in 2013.
Following the season’s conclusion, Decker became an unrestricted free agent. He eventually signed a five-year, $36.25 million contract with the New York Jets, and so will be switching Denver for New Jersey in 2014. That means instead of having Peyton Manning throwing to him, he’ll have Geno Smith – or possibly Michael Vick.
Despite the obvious decrease in quarterback quality, Eric Decker is automatically the number one receiver on the Jets’ depth chart, going in front of David Nelson, Stephen Hill, and Jeremy Kerley. Even if the Jets draft any wide receivers, then the already-established Decker will be ahead of them by default.
There are question marks over the head of Decker, as to if he can be a true number-one receiver and isn’t just a product of Peyton Manning’s system. He was a part of perhaps the greatest offense in history, and certainly the highest scoring, which may be a reason for Eric Decker’s productive year. However, he did have to share a lot of touches with the likes of Knowshon Moreno, Wes Welker, Julius Thomas, and Denver’s top receiver Demaryius Thomas, and emerged from that group with the second most yards, and the third most receiving touchdowns – which proves that he was a valuable weapon for Manning to throw to.
Next season, Decker should see an increased workload in green and white as either Smith or Vick’s number-one target. Both quarterbacks don’t possess the arm or footballing talent of Peyton Manning – though it should be noted that Geno Smith is only entering his second year in the NFL – but they shouldn’t have trouble finding Decker, and as a sure-handed player, should be able to trust him to make catches. Not only is he a physical receiver, but he should provide New York with a deep threat.
Although Decker has lined up alongside Peyton Manning for the past two years, he did have to deal with Tim Tebow throwing to him in 2011. In that season he had 612 yards and caught eight touchdowns – which is better than the 512 yards and three touchdowns that the Jets’ leading receiver, Jeremy Kerley, managed to amass last year.
It is unlikely that Eric Decker will improve upon, or even replicate his 2013 showing. But as one of the Jets’ best offensive players, he should be a sound addition for any fantasy team as the second or third wide receiver – or a bench player for depth at the very worst.