One of my favorite things about writing for RotoViz in 2013 was the response to this Eric Decker breakout article, which later became known as the Eric Decker Test (EDT). If you aren’t familiar with it, the Eric Decker Test is a fun way to look at the numbers from the WR Career Graph App and use them to project which wide receivers might breakout to become stars. Some of the most notable test passers include Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall and, of course, Eric Decker. You can see the full list below, including the 2014 rookies, but first a bit on the methodology.
So, what the hell is the “Eric Decker Test”? Did you ever hear of the 26-27-60 “rule” for scouting quarterbacks? Well, this is kind of like that, but for wide receivers. Here are the criteria with a brief explanation:
- 30% Market Share of Yards
- 40% Market Share of Touchdowns
- 9.5 yards per target
- 33% Red Zone TD Rate
The market share numbers go something like this: On any given play there are five possible receivers and if the quarterback distributes the ball evenly, they’d all have 20% market share of yards and touchdowns. That said, we want someone who is so good that they produce an inordinate amount of their team’s yards and, more so, their team’s touchdowns. If a guy isn’t the #1 receiver on his own college team, how will he ever be a #1 in the NFL?
The YPT makes sense from the perspective of “for every time I throw the ball to this receiver, there’s a pretty good chance he’ll get us a first down, or close to it”. Finally, think of the red zone TD rate from the perspective of it being first & goal and you get three chances to throw the ball to your favorite receiver. He should convert one of those three (33%) into a touchdown, right?
So, without further adieu, here is the complete list of players who passed the Eric Decker Test since 2005 and their peak fantasy season to date. Note that a peak rank of 200 indicates the guy never did anything in the NFL.
|WR||Draft||F Age||Weight||Peak FF rank|
|JOHNNIE LEE HIGGINS||2007||23.3||186||90|
Seven of the 21 multi-year pros have posted a top-8 fantasy season and I wouldn’t be surprised if Torrey Smith, DeAndre Hopkins or maybe Justin Blackmon join that group. Considering how few players actually pass the test, I think that’s at least a respectable success rate. If you look at the guys who were irrelevant in the NFL, I think the commonalities would be that they were older prospects and/or had narrow frames. Hankerson and Easley don’t fit either of those categories, but dealt with injuries that presumably derailed their careers.
What does the Eric Decker Test tell us about 2014 rookies?
I recently named Brandin Cooks the must-know rookie for fantasy football 2014 due to his outrageous Phenom Index score and his spectacular landing spot with the Saints. If you’re looking for an immediate impact, Scott Smith expects Cooks to post something around 800 yards and 5 touchdowns in his rookie campaign with upside to burn. In the long run, Cooks will be an interesting test case for the EDT because he is smaller than all the premium success stories that have come before him. All the same, the fact that he is ranked 4th overall in our rookie composite rankings reflects RotoViz’s optimistic outlook for his career.
This is THE GUY that most closely fits the Eric Decker/Hakeem Nicks/Jordy Nelson mold as far as size and EDT success. In case Justin Winn didn’t already vaporize all doubts about Davante, his appearance on this list should eliminate any lingering negativity. Oh, and did I mention that he gets to study under fellow EDT stud Jordan Nelson? Similar to Jordy, the payoff with Davante might not come for several years, but I sincerely believe the wait will be worth the payoff and the potential for a top-10 WR season is very real.
Is Jarvis Landry the 2014 version of Keenan Allen? I think he could be in the sense that his on-field metrics are so spectacular but his workout numbers are so depressing. Despite how unathletic he seems to be, there’s something to be said for a guy who was athletic enough to kick major ass in the SEC. If he can do it there, why not in the NFL? Maybe the payoff won’t be as immediate as Keenan Allen, but his appearance here combined with his intriguing prospect report card leave me encouraged. Plus, it’s not like the Dolphins are brimming with WR talent; Landry should see plenty of opportunities.
You might be wondering, “who the hell is Alex Neutz?” which is a perfectly reasonable question for anyone who doesn’t live in upstate NY and/or isn’t a RotoViz degenerate.1 The short story on Neutz is that he’s the most prolific market share dominator that you’ve probably never heard of who just landed in a quirky situation in Cincinnati. We all love AJ Green, but I suppose that everything after him is debatable. Now add in a new offensive coordinator and, who knows, maybe Neutz could surprise for the Bengals over the next few years.
Will it be Torrey Smith, DeAndre Hopkins or maybe a 2014 rookie who is the next to post a top-10 WR season? Leave a comment with your thoughts. And in case you want to dig into the data, here’s the dirt on past Eric Decker Test receivers:
|WR||Draft||F Age||F TGS/G||SCHOOL||YPT||RZTDR||msYDS||msTD|
|BRANDIN COOKS||2014||20.3||12.9||Oregon State||10.3||33.3||35.7||42.1|
|DAVANTE ADAMS||2014||21.0||13.5||Fresno State||9.9||36.1||33.6||50.0|
|STEDMAN BAILEY||2013||22.1||11.2||West Virginia||11.1||58.3||38.0||56.8|
|TAVEON ROGERS||2012||21.4||8.7||New Mexico State||10.1||50.0||32.2||45.0|
|JUSTIN BLACKMON||2012||22.0||12.3||Oklahoma State||9.5||34.3||30.2||45.0|
|DWIGHT JONES||2012||23.0||8.5||North Carolina||10.8||50.0||36.2||46.2|
|LEONARD HANKERSON||2011||21.9||9.0||Miami (Florida)||9.9||38.9||37.2||61.9|
|DEZ BRYANT||2010||21.2||9.3||Oklahoma State||11.5||50.0||53.7||80.0|
|HAKEEM NICKS||2009||21.0||8.1||North Carolina||11.6||42.9||47.3||57.1|
|JORDY NELSON||2008||22.6||13.4||Kansas State||10.1||34.8||47.3||52.4|
|SIDNEY RICE||2007||20.3||8.8||South Carolina||9.6||41.7||33.4||41.7|
|JOHNNIE LEE HIGGINS||2007||23.3||9.7||UTEP||11.4||45.5||35.1||44.8|
- I mean that in the best way (back)