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Why Are We Forgetting About Eric Decker?

Eric Decker finished the 2015 season as the 13th overall wide receiver in PPR formats, but his early average draft position has him as the 29th WR, and it’s time to take advantage of this undervaluation.

Decker is a proven commodity that could win leagues at his current value. Decker is a strong candidate to finish 2016 as a high end WR2 again and it’s time to buy him before the general public catches on and pushes him up into earlier rounds.

Average Draft Position

Decker is being drafted as the 28th WR and 50th overall player since May 1. Based on his 2015 finish, this ADP guarantees that players with an inferior season are currently being drafted ahead of Decker in drafts. The following graph, generated by the RotoViz Best-Ball ADP app, shows the comparison of Eric Decker’s draft position to WRs that finished behind him in PPR scoring.

DeckerADPComparison

All of these WRs offer reasons for optimism, but each finished below Decker in both total points and points per week. Decker, despite being paired with another talented WR, has a defined role entering the season.

Receiving Statistics

Brandon Marshall was the headline WR in the New York Jets receiving corps in 2015, but in some areas, Decker equaled or outperformed Marshall’s numbers. Both Marshall and Decker were top-5 WRs in receiving touchdowns and top-20 in targets, receptions, and fantasy points per snap. And while Marshall was the top performing Jets WR in PPR points, Decker led the Jets in adjusted yards per target.

Decker AYA

In addition to being the AYA leader on the Jets, he also led the team in red zone targets. In fact, Decker led the NFL in market share of red zone targets and targets inside the ten yard line. While year-to-year touchdowns are often difficult to project, this volume in high priority areas helps put Decker in a position to be among the league leaders in touchdowns again in 2016. We know how good Decker can be with Marshall; but if something happens to Marshall, Decker would probably see even more usage.

Using the RotoViz WR Similarity Scores App, Decker’s 2015 put him in good company (see 2009 Roddy White and Larry Fitzgerald) and produces the following N+1 projection:

Decker Projection

Using the median projection, which is lower than his 2015 weekly score, Decker would score 236.8 points. Compared to the 2015 WRs, that would place him as WR16. The high projection would place Decker as WR7.

Conclusion

Eric Decker finished 2015 8th in PPR points per week. He had five weeks as a top 12 WR and seven additional weeks as a top 24 WR. Decker was arguably the most consistent WR in fantasy in 2015. His only non-bye week outside of the top 30 WRs was week 3 when he was sidelined with an injury. And if you remove week three, Decker finished the season as WR9.

The biggest concern with Decker is the quarterback situation for his team. While Decker’s value is definitely better with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, he has proven that he can have success with Geno Smith as well. And as Jason Laso showed us, having Smith under center may give us a chance to double down on Decker’s value. During the 2014 season, with Smith as the primary QB, Decker finished as the 26th overall WR in just 15 games and had a higher AYA (9.6 yards) than he had with Fitzpatrick. And if the 2014 Jets season is his floor, Decker remains a safe option even with questionable QB play.

It’s time to buy Eric Decker in the fifth round. If and when the news comes that Fitzpatrick has resigned, Decker should see his ADP rise. And if history has shown us anything, Decker will be a producer in one of your three starting WR positions on a weekly basis.

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