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Instant Analysis: Eric Decker signs with the New York Jets

Eric_Decker

The most sought after offensive free agent in 2014 was signed tonight by the New York Jets. Eric Decker has reportedly signed a new deal to play for the New York Jets. The Jets have apparently let the market come to them, as they let the star wide receiver field offers for over 24 hours. Decker seemed to have thought he would have received a bigger deal from other teams.

Any time a free agent signs with a team other than his former, it has effects on the players around him as well as the teammates he left behind.

Let’s take a closer look.

Eric Decker, WR NYJ

Many believe Decker is not a premiere wide receiver in the NFL. Some say he was a product of playing with a great quarterback, although he has succeeded with lesser talents. No one believes Tim Tebow is the caliber of quarterback that Geno Smith is. I’m of the belief that if Decker can succeed under Tebow, he will certainly thrive under Smith.

The offensive systems of the Broncos and Jets could not be any different. The Broncos throw the ball more often than Rex Ryan talks. The Jets appreciate a run-heavy, ball control offense. How can this be a good thing for Decker? The Broncos threw the ball 675 times last year, 195 more than the Jets, but the Broncos fifth most targeted receiver, Knowshon Moreno (74), was targeted more than the Jets most targeted receiver, Jeremy Kerley (72) – this means the targets are clearly available for Decker. In Denver, Decker was a small fish in a big pond. Ironically, moving to the city known as “the big pond,” will make Decker a big fish. With the Jets next most heavily targeted receiver, Santonio Holmes, recently being released, the only receivers of note in the Jets locker room would be Kerley and Decker.

According to our March ADP, Decker is being drafted as the WR28 with an ADP of 50.2. I would expect those numbers to remain consistent after the signing. If those rankings decrease, it may be worth making an offer and cashing in on the impression New York is a bad landing spot for Decker.

Geno Smith, QB NYJ

Last year, Smith was thrust into an offense that was not friendly to a rookie quarterback. The Jets lacked premiere wide receivers, star running backs and consistency from their offensive line. Despite the inadequate supporting cast, Smith completed 56% of his passes on his way to a 3,000 yard passing season. Those numbers leave plenty of room for improvement, yet weren’t horrible for a rookie signal caller.

The Jets added Decker. Their running backs are getting healthy and seemingly are staying out of legal trouble. The offensive line still has two stars anchoring their unit. If they can play better as a whole, it isn’t out of the realm of possibilities to imagine this offense being vastly improved. Smith would be the primary benefactor of the upgraded offense.

Smith has routinely been overlooked in dynasty, and our March ADP reflects that. Smith is being drafted as the QB32 behind players like Brian Hoyer, Brock Osweiler and Mike Glennon. With an ADP of 232, Smith may be the cheapest starting quarterback in fantasy football.

 Jeremy Kerley, WR NYJ

Despite being an average talent, Kerley did catch 43 balls for 523 yards and three touchdowns in 2013. He faced Brent Grimes, Aqib Talib, and Stephon Gilmore just within the division last year. When Decker comes to town, that would ensure Kerley not see opponents’ top corners.

I’d expect Kerley’s value to stay about where it is now. Currently he is being drafted as the WR99. In deep bench leagues, Kerley is a bargain for a guy who is almost guaranteed to catch three balls a game.

Peyton Manning, QB DEN

Many in the football community considered Decker to be out of Denver after his contract expired. After the Broncos gave Wes Welker a two year deal, the likelihood of Decker re-signing was slim to none. John Elway would like to give Demaryius Thomas a long term deal at some point and keeping Decker would hinder his ability to dish out money to another wide receiver. After signing TJ Ward, Talib, and DeMarcus Ware, the writing was on the wall for Decker. Manning set the record for touchdowns in a season last year with 55. He should have one more MVP-like season ahead of him next year.

Manning will likely still be one of the best quarterbacks in the game. Thomas, Welker and Julius Thomas are talented enough to rank among the leagues best group of receivers. Manning has endured the retirement of Marvin Harrison, his release from the Colts and he will brave the storm that is losing his secondary target in Denver. No reason to sour on this future gold jacket owner.

Demaryius Thomas, WR DEN

Thomas is one of the league’s most talented receivers. His size/speed/hands combination is equalled by only a  few of his peers. With over 140 targets in each of the past two years, it is hard to imagine he gets many more balls thrown his way. With Welker and Julius Thomas keeping defenders honest, Thomas shouldn’t see a decrease in Manning’s attention, either.

Thomas has a March ADP of 7.7, as the WR6. Expect that to stay consistent.

Wes Welker, WR DEN

Welker’s 2013 season was only hindered by concussion issues. He instantly built a rapport with Manning and will continue to build on that in 2014. Welker hadn’t seen less than 122 targets in a year since he was a Miami Dolphin. Last year he was only targeted 110 times, leaving plenty of room for improvement.

If any Denver Bronco sees a spike in value due to Decker’s exit, I suspect it to be Welker. March ADP data shows Welker as the WR43 with an ADP of 90.3. Expect to see that number rise as the 32 year old receiver still holds value as long as Manning is in town.

For a complete rundown of all free agency moves, visit our 2014 offensive free agency blog, and our 2014 IDP free agency blog.

Follow me on Twitter: @KarlSafchick

46 Comments

46 Comments

  1. stolenmeat

    March 12, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    “Thomas has a March ADP of 7.7, as the WR6.”

    what? a 7th round pick? in what, a 2 team league?

    • Karl Safchick

      March 12, 2014 at 11:18 pm

      Meaning he is being selected, on average, between the 7th and 8th pick overall.

    • Dave

      March 13, 2014 at 7:10 am

      Sounds like Stolenmeat needs to go back to grade school and learn about how averages and decimal points work.

    • bls1112

      March 13, 2014 at 7:17 am

      *facepalm*

      lulz

    • Mshmitty06

      March 13, 2014 at 8:48 am

      Derrrr people like meat shouldn’t be aloud on this site.

      • doktor

        March 13, 2014 at 11:22 am

        @Mshmitty06:
        Wait, so Stolenmeat made a misread of 7.7; you don’t know the difference between “aloud” and “allowed”; and HE’S the one who shouldn’t be “aloud” on this site?

        You a bouncer in real life too? Or just on the internet?

        • J

          March 13, 2014 at 11:30 am

          Dam, u beet me two it, OOPS….,
          Damn, you beat me to it!

      • J

        March 13, 2014 at 11:28 am

        Is that aloud or allowed? Maybe you should take your own advice before knocking on someone else.

    • Karl Safchick

      March 13, 2014 at 10:13 am

      It’s not a big deal. Many people may see “7.7” and think “7.07”. I did my best to explain what that meant, though. Also used it for every other player.

  2. SJ

    March 13, 2014 at 6:09 am

    This move is overall bad for Decker. There were better opportunities for him in other locals and he picked the worst one. I’m not going to suddenly predict a turn around for a franchise that continues to disappoint offensively and produce woeful qb play, year in year out.

    If your a Decker owner, I cant see how you would be satisfied in any move to NY. Other than the chance of him being the target leader for a downtrodden team, its a complete downgrade across the board – from front office, to quarterback, to surrounding teammates, to scoring opportunities, to past performance, to offensive philosophy, to coverage, to team environment in NY, to new expectations placed on him. Its going to be a crushing blow to his production.

    • Dave

      March 13, 2014 at 7:12 am

      I agree! I own Decker and I am disappointed he didn’t end up in Detroit as the money is very comparable to what Golden Tate got. Decker is a much better receiver than Tate and he would have killed it across from Megatron.

      • SJ

        March 13, 2014 at 7:53 am

        That would have been amazing, I agree.

        Also, INDY and SD would have been really nice spots for him, espceially INDY and the successor to Wayne long-term them. That would have been a dream made in heaven – going from Manning, to Manning’s successor in Luck – that QB/WR combo for years to come… wow. And in DET for the next five years with CJ, that would be exactly what he had in DEN, but now would have been longer-term given Stafford’s youth.

        But instead he chose….. this. Geno Smith. NYJ disfunction. Bad. Just bad.

        • pvillebiker

          March 13, 2014 at 11:21 am

          Agree, but clearly the Deckers chose the NY market for the “off the field” earning power. Why else would he go there. Then again, maybe he really does envision himself as a WR1 and wants the chance to show it. He would not have gotten that in Detroit.

          As a Geno owner, though, in a 2QB league (he’s my QB3), I’m not complaining!

    • Karl Safchick

      March 13, 2014 at 10:18 am

      I agree that NYJ was not the ideal destination for Decker, but it’s not career-ending like many are projecting. I am a firm believer that situation does not equal production. As a matter of fact, I believe talent makes up at least 80% of a players success. Decker is a talented wide receiver, and as of now we don’t know how good (or bad) Geno Smith is. Smith’s top target last year was Jeremy freakin Kerley. With Decker in town, the possibility of another FA WR, and the many possibilities of WR/TE in the draft, Geno could have a huge turnaround season next year.

      • SJ

        March 13, 2014 at 11:01 am

        Fair enough, but banking on Geno or that organization to make a turn around offensively is a huge leap of faith, and is the clear fantasy minority take.

        • cityslickers94

          March 13, 2014 at 1:22 pm

          I think the biggest obstacle in NY is Rex and that offense. Nothing like a coach not to feature offensive talent. There has been NO passing game in all of Rex years…and you can even go back to Ravens for same off philosophy…run ball and play killer def..

  3. meineymoe

    March 13, 2014 at 7:24 am

    I’m not afraid. Decker is the best WR they’ve had there since Laveranues Coles, who had the legendary Chad Pennington tossing the ball. I think Decker will be fine, and I’ll buy him on the cheap.

    -oo-

    • SJ

      March 13, 2014 at 7:56 am

      I’m curious – what numbers do those who feel alright with this move to NY expect out of Decker? Im just wondering what everybody expects from him, and would be comfortable getting, as his numbers almost certainly will drop, especially TD’s. Where’s Eric?! We need to have a “Over/Under” column on Decker! :)

      • pvillebiker

        March 13, 2014 at 11:25 am

        would love to see an over/under column on Decker. Great idear. My guess is

        60 catches, 1,000 yds, and 7 TD’s

        are achievable for Decker. Especially if they bring in a quality #2, a decent TE, and improve the running game, as it currently looks like they will do.

        • SJ

          March 13, 2014 at 3:06 pm

          Those are significant dips in stats…

          As a Decker owner, in the past thats what most people projected him to put up in DEN, but he would always outproduce projections and give WR1 / WR2 numbers at WR3 price.

          Well thats done now. Now hes just a WR3, putting up WR3 numbers. And if I’m and owner, I want all my dynasty plyers to maximize fantasy points. Decker just killed any chances at WR1 points anymore. Maybe he gets close to WR2, but I dont know, not likely on that team.

    • aeifler

      March 13, 2014 at 9:50 am

      I cautiously agree.

      In terms of playing time, the Jets WR with the most snaps in 2013? Stephen Hill with 594 (57% of all offensive snaps). Decker had 1050 snaps with Denver (87%), and should see close to 100% of the offensive snaps with the Jets, barring injury. So, more snaps for Decker going forward.

      Geno made Kerley and Nelson look like decent WRs at times last year, and I think most would agree Decker is far better than those two.

    • Karl Safchick

      March 13, 2014 at 10:21 am

      I agree with you, Meineymoe, if you already own Decker, it could be a small hit to value. If you want to buy Decker, you might be able to get him extremely cheap now. He has always been a great value in fantasy leagues, as he has always outperformed his ADP. I believe this year will be no exception.

      SJ, Eric O is a fan of Decker, so I’m assuming you’d be surprised at his “Over/Under” number.

  4. Kincaid

    March 13, 2014 at 7:26 am

    As a Decker owner, I’m not happy either. We can only hope they get another good WR in FA and draft another one in the first round, like M. Lee. Why the NY Jets?

    • Oddknob

      March 13, 2014 at 7:42 am

      My guess, without being too obvious, is $$$$$$$$$$$$$.

      • krcilr

        March 13, 2014 at 9:21 am

        IT wasn’t even that good of a deal!

      • SJ

        March 13, 2014 at 9:27 am

        Its just weird – did he even visit INDY?

        Everyone and their mother pegged that as a likely landing spot, and what, did he even visit with them?

        I dont get it. You would think Irsay would want to make a splash as fill the need at WR with a major signing to excite the fan base. Is Wayne really that much to this team even at this point? Do they really want/expect Rodgers to step-up big time this year? So odd.

        • doktor

          March 13, 2014 at 11:25 am

          IND is meeting with Nicks later this week. That’s Irsays’ “splash”…

        • pvillebiker

          March 13, 2014 at 11:27 am

          Wonder if Decker could’ve been as productive in Indy with Luck as he was in Denver with Peyton? hmmmm…

  5. Eric Hardter

    March 13, 2014 at 7:40 am

    I’d absolutely be worried as a Decker owner. My 2013 AIR study revealed that he truthfully did very little to upgrade his target share, and actually had the second lowest value of the top-12 PPR WR’s. This was despite routinely receiving single coverage opposite the all-world DT.

    Continuing, a vast majority of his fantasy prowess is derived from scoring the ball, but I don’t think people realize just how frequently he’s done so. To put it in perspective, his TD frequency of 14.9% (i.e. one of every 6.7 receptions has been a TD) trumps Jerry Rice’s 12.7% frequency – that’s the most prolific scorer at WR the league has ever seen. I have an extremely hard time believing Decker will sustain a pace 17.3% better than that of the GOAT.

    Something is going to give. Geno/Vick/whoever they sign isn’t going to be as efficient as Manning, and it’s also a run-first offense. IMO he’s also not going to continue his torrid pace of scoring. Therefore he’s going to need to severely increase his volume to somewhere around 150-160 targets per year to approach his current rate of fantasy scoring. That’s not a bet I’m willing to take…

    Honestly I think the time to sell Decker has passed, and owners are going to have to ride the storm now.

    • Marc Hava

      March 13, 2014 at 9:54 am

      Hey Eric,

      Great point about Decker’s unsustainable scoring pace. To me, there seems to still be a decent portion of the FF community who believe New York is not a bad landing spot for Decker. I think ultimately those who have Decker and believe he will produce next season will either hold or trade with someone who agrees on that. Otherwise those who have Decker but don’t believe he will produce, at least relative to his ADP, should be able to find a manager or two who will at least pay 85-90 cents on the dollar (if not full price). Perhaps you could’ve received more in a trade for Decker if you swapped him before he signed with the NYJ but you would have been risking him signing elsewhere like Carolina or Detroit. I just don’t think the time to sell has passed, at least not completely.

    • Karl Safchick

      March 13, 2014 at 10:29 am

      Eric, I’m not saying New York was the premiere landing spot for Decker, but I also don’t believe situation factors into production as much as many do. The dude is much more talented than the community consensus gives him credit for. To think that his “perceived value” is going to be the same is crazy. Owners will be willing to sell him on the cheap now. Do I think that he will duplicate 2012/2013 numbers? Probably not, but his ADP was already as a WR3. He’s already a value as a WR3 even as a Jet! If his ADP drops any further, he’s going to be the steal of the offseason. If I can trade for him straight up for Andre Johnson, Vincent Jackson, Rueben Randle, or Roddy White, you best believe I’m pulling that trigger quick.

      Marc, thank you for reading. You’re absolutely right, the time to sell Decker has passed. The over reaction to his move to New York is going to make him a value. I might even trade Megatron for him (just kidding).

      • cityslickers94

        March 13, 2014 at 1:31 pm

        Karl,

        I hear your good reasons for believing in him, but aren’t you concerned about the offensive scheme and Rex as HC. His track record has to count for something, no? What is peak production for a Rex Ryan coached team? I don’t have this data, but offhand I would guess it is not very good. To me, that is the biggest mitigating factor – even more than Geno and QB situation. Fundamentally, I believe Rex is against a pass happy team, severely limiting Decker’s production in ff. In real life, he can be a 3rd down specialist…but in reality? I don’t see it. To me Garcon would be the gold standard in terms of targets but I dont see anything close to that…

        something to consider.

        • Mav

          March 13, 2014 at 3:18 pm

          What’s Rex’s contract situation like? I remember hearing they may let him go. If the jets completely flop again who’s to say they don’t shove him out the door and bring in an offensive guru like so many recent successes. Basically the anti-Rex could be calling the shots in the next year, no?

      • SJ

        March 13, 2014 at 3:13 pm

        As a current owner, I dont really care about ADP, or “percieved value”… I just care about real value and players puting up great numbers and fantays points.

        Decker’s certainly hurt his value now, and realistically, I highly doubt he can even come close to what stats he had last year or the year before.

        Now I have past PPR WR1 on my roster, who is now a WR3 with no real chance of every getting back to WR1 fantasy points again. The worst part is, if he just went to the right situation, everything could have been the same or better. Now we’re stuck.

      • Steve Wyremski

        March 13, 2014 at 5:36 pm

        Karl,

        You realize that Jessie James coming to NY doesn’t automatically add to Decker’s fantasy production, right?

        Signed,

        A miserable Jets fan.

      • phantasy5

        March 13, 2014 at 6:02 pm

        Karl,
        I’m on board with your take on this, as I sent a feeler out: Decker for Andre? Although I know I’m probably not going to get away with him too cheap, these guys are brutal. He came back with, And….
        I won’t do it for too much more than Andre, but he’ll squeeze me for something?

        • Luke

          March 15, 2014 at 8:39 am

          Andre is getting old, but still seems to produce. Decker is viewed as a high end WR3 at this point because of his new team.

          I’m thinking of trading Decker, Kendall Wright, 2014 3rd, and 2015 2nd for Antonio Brown, Robert Woods, and 2015 3rd.

          Antonio is better than Decker and Kendall is better than Woods, so kind of a trade off. Any thoughts?

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