ericdecker

It really sucks that Eric Decker dropped that touchdown pass. If he catches that pass, he and Welker both have a singular touchdown and Decker only has one less target. Welker, by the nature of the routes he runs, is going to have a higher catch % than Decker and probably even more catches. I still think it’s pretty true that Decker is undervalued.

I conducted a pretty informal poll of some of my leaguemates and followers on twitter and got some interesting results. Around 80% of my friends (read: non ‘experts’) said that they would take Kenbrell Thompkins for Decker if they owned the Bronco’s WR. However, only one response on Twitter indicated they would prefer Thompkins to Decker. That needs to be taken with a grain of salt as my Twitter followers probably resemble something of an echo chamber. They’ve heard me bag on Thompkins and laud Decker for the last several months and anyone responding to the question probably knew the answer I was expecting. Depending on the type of league you are in, I think a guy like Thompkins would be enough to get the deal done. I think some other names to toss at the Decker owner would be Golden Tate or Issac Redman; guys with a perceived value that is higher than their actual production values.

For those of you who are board in thinking that Decker is a solid by low target this is what Decker has done in games where Peyton Manning targeted him 7 times or less.

OPPTARGRECYDTDFPT
PIT755405.4
NO6443216.3
CAR421501.5
SD522318.3
KC846406.4
TB221701.7
CLE6665218.5

Only 2 of those performances were ‘worse’ than last nights game against Denver. There were still encouraging signs in last nights game for Decker, even if he didn’t turn them into fantasy points. The Denver offense is pretty incapable of running the ball (23 rushing plays for 65 yards) and seemed to throw at every opportunity in the redzone. Wes Welker still is a not a redzone weapon and while he did score 2 touchdowns, was not targeted in the actual endzone the way Decker was. Perhaps these tweets from Mike Clay of Pro Football Focus explains the point in a more clear focus.

According to oTD, Eric Decker is on pace for 6.4 touchdowns this season. Of course, Wes Welker is on pace for 19.4.

— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) September 6, 2013

 

According to oTD, Julius Thomas (same as Decker), is on pace for about 6-7 TDs this year.

— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) September 6, 2013

Clay’s point is well taken. Despite the raw statistics that create fantasy points, advanced metrics point out that a little bit of Decker’s game was flukish in a bad way. Denver’s passing game is going to be a little bit more volatile than we previously expected with the emergence of Julius Thomas and with Welker being involved in his New England-ian fashion, but that doesn’t mean Decker won’t get his. Welker isn’t going to score two touchdowns every game, and neither will the Thomases. Andre Caldwell caught a touchdown on his only target of the game; I can assure you that won’t happen again. All of that information leads me to believe that buying low on Decker is still worth doing. While we might have to lower Decker’s ceiling a bit, I think he still lives up to his draft position, if not higher.

The encouraging signs are there if you are so inclined to take them. The Bronco’s are clearly committed to throwing while winning… while at their own 5, at the opponents 5, it doesn’t matter. While the volatility for Decker is larger than I expected, the opportunity is also larger than previously projected.

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Davis Mattek is a 21 year old English Major at Kansas State University. He can be found most days writing about fantasy sports for www.sportswunderkind.com , FantasyInsiders, RotoAcademy and Rotoviz.