In case you missed it, the first installment of this series featured the case for Marques Colston.
Argument #1 – A Value Play on His Own Team
To start with, here are the ADPs of the Denver WR corps:
Demaryius Thomas, WR6, 3.02 Overall
Wes Welker, WR15, 4.08 Overall
Eric Decker, WR25, 6.05 Overall
This is a situation where fantasy drafters are assigning certainty to a situation where no certainty exists. Then they’re taking that certainty and they’re paying premiums for Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker and offering you a discount on Eric Decker, because of course Eric Decker is going to be the man left out in the cold in Denver.
To be clear, I don’t know exactly how targets are going to be distributed in Denver. But I don’t think anyone else does either, which makes it dumb to ascribe any certainty to the situation. Demaryius Thomas’ ADP is fine and reflects that he’s going to be about impossible to cover. But then Wes Welker and Eric Decker should have about the same ADP I think. Welker shouldn’t command a premium of almost two draft rounds.
In an uncertain situation, you’re probably better off just taking the cheapest of the guys in that uncertain situation.
Argument #2 – A Value Play Relative to Other WRs
Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson are both in situations similar to Decker and they’re both going off the draft board ahead of Decker. As a Decker owner you may tear your hair out some weeks when Wes Welker does most of the scoring. But do you think the Cobb owner that paid WR8-type prices for Cobb isn’t going to do the same thing when James Jones catches three touchdowns? The same is true to a lesser extent with Jordy Nelson. Nelson and Decker are probably similar talents and they’re both in offenses that will spread it around. Nelson is being drafted as WR17 in the late 4th round, while you can wait a full round and a half later to pick up Decker.
Argument #3 – Decker Fits the Profile of the Kind of Receiver You Should Be Drafting
If you made a checklist of the kind of receiver to target in fantasy leagues, it would probably include the following items:
- Big. At least 205 pounds. – Check
- Physical prime. – Check
- Capable of catching a lot of touchdowns – Check
- Has a history of production. – Check (see Jon Moore’s Decker Index)
- High usage. – Ehhhh…
Ok, four out of five isn’t bad. The usage still remains a question mark. But in exchange for that usage question mark, you’re going to get a receiver that will see a lot of favorable coverage on a weekly basis. Also, Decker’s quarterback isn’t the kind of guy who is going to try to make things more difficult than they are. Manning is going to take what the defense gives him. When I say “the kind of receiver to target” above, I’m really talking about receivers that on average have the greatest ability to repeat their past performances.
My wide receiver model doesn’t know that Denver signed Wes Welker, so it’s missing a key piece of information. But before that it had Decker projected to be around WR11 or so. Maybe that upside has taken a slight hit with the Welker signing. But keep in mind that among Joel Dreesen, Brandon Stokley and Jacob Tamme there were about 180 targets last year. Some amount of Welker’s targets will come from that 180. Those 180 targets are of the slot wr/move the chains/over the middle variety. As to the competition for targets between Welker and Decker, one of them is a 32 year old receiver coming off of a 6 touchdown season and the other is 26 and coming off of a 13 touchdown season. Unnecessarily routing usage to Welker is only going to hurt the Broncos.
In summary, if you know of another guy that has averaged 10 TDs per season over the last two years and is available at WR25 or cheaper, let me know and I’ll put that guy into my target list as well.