WR Eric Decker, Free agent
HT: 6-3, WT: 217, Born: 3-15-1987, College: Minnesota, Drafted: Round 3
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Average draft position
Current as of August 25th. [Full ADP list]Overall: M Jones-Drew (84), T Romo (85), Eric Decker (86), R Wayne (87), K Rudolph (88)
Position: G Tate (81-WR31), S Watkins (83-WR32), Eric Decker (86 - WR33), R Wayne (87-WR34), T Williams (91-WR35)
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PPR Average draft position
Current as of August 25th. [Full PPR ADP list]Overall: K Rudolph (84), T Williams (85), Eric Decker (86), R Wayne (87), D Pitta (88)
Position: W Welker (82-WR34), T Williams (85-WR35), Eric Decker (86 - WR36), R Wayne (87-WR37), K Benjamin (98-WR38)
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Going from having Peyton Manning throwing to you, to having Geno Smith or Michael Vick tossing passes your way will usually hurt your bottom line. So we're not expecting a third straight 1,000 yard plus, 80 plus catch season from Decker. That doesn't mean he'll fall off the radar for fantasy owners, just that expectations should be realigned. Decker is a physical receiver who can move the chains as well as stretch the field. Decker will also see much more attention from the defense as he lacks a Demaryius Thomas to pull them. All this will limit him to WR 2 or high end WR3 statusówith a chance that, if the quarterback situation gets messier, that he could fall below that.
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2013 Game Summaries
Week 1 - Despite Manning's record-setting performance, Eric Decker had a game to forget, making several mental errors and generally just being invisible. Decker finished the game with more drops (3) than receptions (2). He also threw in an offensive pass interference penalty, and fumbled out of bounds after being careless with the ball one of the few times he did manage to get his hands on it.
Week 2 - A week after playing one of his worst games as a pro, Eric Decker was the focal point of Denver's passing game. His play against New York was better, but still inconsistent, as he once again had a couple of drops and mental errors. Decker's day was summed up in Denver's final drive, as Decker was targeted on third down and easily got open to convert, then was targeted again on third down but broke out of his route late and fell to the turf, forcing the Broncos to settle for a field goal. His talent is obvious, but Decker still struggles to display it for a full 60 minutes.
Week 3 - After two weeks characterized by mental errors and miscues, Denver continued to feed the ball to Eric Decker in week 3 and he rewarded their patience with a huge game. Decker was the only Denver player with more than one target who didn't have a drop on the night, as he hauled in all 8 of his targets for 133 yards, including 61 yards off of one of Denver's rare deep attempts. On his big play, Decker showed some great RAC skills, crossing behind the back of safety Brandian Ross and getting him turned around in a move reminiscent of a famous Barry Sanders run. Decker's touchdown came on a play that demonstrates just how dangerous this offense is, as Oakland was so preoccupied with Welker and the Thomases they simply lost track of Decker in the back of the end zone. Decker did see slightly less playing time than usual, as Andre Caldwell replaced him for about a dozen snaps and Decker came off the field for about a dozen more when Denver used its rare 3-TE sets in the second half.
Week 4 - After a game against New York where he caught literally everything that came his way, Decker was back to his inconsistent ways against Philadelphia. On Denver's lone three-and-out, Decker managed to get wide open deep only to see the ball fall off his fingertips. The ball was slightly overthrown and the catch would have been difficult, but had he secured it there would have been nothing between Decker and an 80-yard touchdown. Decker redeemed himself just before halftime with Denver's longest pass play of the game, a 52-yard reception on 2nd and 12, but that drive ultimately stalled out on 3rd and 12 after Decker used a phenomenal move to get open (including using some veteran savvy to get away with a very subtle push), but then dropped the ball as it hit him in the hands. Outside of the 52-yard reception, Decker's biggest impact on the game came in the form of a pair of defensive pass interference penalties drawn, the first of which gave Denver 1st-and-goal from the 1 and the second of which converted a 3rd down.
Week 5 - The full range of Eric Decker was on display very early for Denver, as Decker converted Denver's first 3rd down with a 16-yard gain over the middle on 3rd-and-4, only to fumble the ball away to the Cowboys at the end of the run. Eric Decker was also the intended target on Peyton Manning's first interception of the season, as Decker seemed to lose the ball in the sun, but the pass was badly underthrown and Decker never had a chance at it. In addition to his miscues, Decker also made enough positive plays to show why Denver is willing to tolerate his inconsistencies. Decker was responsible for Denver's longest play of the game as he fought through defensive holding by Morris Claiborne to track down and secure a 57 yard pass down field. For the season, Decker, not Demaryius Thomas, has been Peyton Manning's favorite target in the deep game. Decker also caught his second touchdown of the season on a pass from the 2-yard line, and was the intended target of another 2-yard scoring pass that fell incomplete. For the game, Decker led all Denver WRs in targets and receiving as he topped 87 yards for the fourth consecutive game.
Week 6 - Eric Decker had a relatively quiet game against Jacksonville, receiving 7 targets and catching 5 of them for a modest 50 yards. Decker wasn't targeted once on 3rd down or in the red zone, but he also managed to avoid his mental errors and inconsistent play. The best play of the day for Eric Decker came on a Ronnie Hillman run around right end where Hillman fumbled at the end and Decker reacted quickly enough to outmuscle a pair of Jacksonville defenders for the recovery.
Week 7 - On a night where not much was going right for Denver's offense, Eric Decker was a rare bright spot. Denver's first touchdown drive of the game was a two-play, 44-yard drive that consisted solely of a pair of deep passes to Decker for the score. Manning would later hook up with Decker for another pair of deep passes, good for 49 and 20 yards, with Decker able to duck out of bounds on the latter to preserve some clock for Denver. Decker also grabbed a 7 yard pickup on 3rd and 6 in the red zone, setting Denver up for an easy 1-yard touchdown plunge on the next play. Decker probably should have had a second touchdown, as Decker caught the ball, took two steps, and lunged for (and hit) the pylon with the ball. Unfortunately, when Decker hit the ground with the ball extended out, it came loose. The official ruled the play an incomplete pass, coach John Fox chose not to challenge, and Denver was forced to settle for a field goal on the drive.
Week 8 - Early in the first quarter, Eric Decker saw several of his snaps taken by #4 receiver Andre Caldwell for reasons that were not obvious. That proved to be an aberration, as Decker rarely left the field from the 2nd quarter onwards. Eric Decker has remained Peyton Manningís favorite deep target this season, and Manning looked his way down the field on back-to-back downs on the game-tying touchdown drive, although both passes were off target and fell incomplete. Decker was also targeted on a fade in the end zone, but the defender got a good press on him at the snap and Decker never had a chance at the ball.
Week 10 - Decker only received 5 targets against San Diego, as Demaryius Thomas and Knowshon Moreno each had their turn to be featured in Denverís passing carousel. Deckerís first three targets were all completed for first downs, including a 34 yard gain and a 6-yard reception on 3rd and 3. Decker wouldnít be targeted again until near the end of the game, when he made a great adjustment to get his hands on a deep pass on 3rd down but couldnít quite hold on. His final target of the game also came on 3rd down, when Decker seemed to run a half-hearted route and couldnít make a play on the ball. While Decker had a relatively quiet day receiving, his blocking played a major role in Denverís victory, as he was responsible for a monster block at the sidelines on Julius Thomasí touchdown that was probably the difference between a 20-yard first down and a 74-yard score.
Week 11 - Eric Decker wasnít heavily featured against the Chiefs, receiving only two targets in the first half and not catching his first pass until after the two-minute warning in the second quarter. Despite that, no Bronco was more efficient and effective in his limited role than Decker. Of Deckerís five receptions, four converted a first down, with the exception being a 9-yard gain on 1st-and-10. Decker also added a 4-yard gain on 3rd-and-4 and a 33-yard gain on 3rd-and-3, with the bulk of the latter reception coming after the catch. Decker also managed to get wide open in the end zone on a fake screen, but Peyton Manning simply didnít see him.
Week 13 - Eric Decker hadnít been featured much in recent weeks, averaging just 5 targets per game since Denverís week 9 bye. All of that changed against Kansas City, as Decker got his turn in the spotlight. After Demaryius Thomas repeatedly torched rookie CB Marcus Cooper in the teamsí first meeting, Kansas City opted to let him spend most of the day shadowing Decker, and Peyton Manning once again spent all day picking on him in coverage. Deckerís first few looks of the day were off-target, but eventually Peyton Manning settled into a rhythm and the pair put on a deep-passing clinic. Decker had gains of 41 yards, 42 yards, 37 yards, and 18 yards, all of which came almost entirely through the air, and he also drew a 19-yard defensive pass interference penalty. Two of his 30+ yard receptions resulted in touchdowns, and the third set Denver up with 1st-and-goal from the three. Decker also caught what was officially a 15-yard touchdown reception, but with Decker positioned at the very back of the end zone, the ball once again traveled over 20 yards through the air. Just for good measure, Decker also added a 1-yard touchdown reception to end Denverís scoring outburst. His four touchdowns on the day set a new team record, and more than doubled his touchdown total through the first 11 games of the season.
Week 14 - While he has had a very inconsistent season, Eric Decker managed to have one of his best games of the year against the Tennessee Titans. Decker did join in on the parade of drops with his first dropped pass in the past month, but he also secured a team-high 12 targets, and turned them into 8 receptions for 117 yards and a TD. Decker briefly had another touchdown, but replay review showed he was down by contact at the 2-yard line. He continued his play as Peyton Manningís favorite deep target, and hauled in a pair of deep receptions. Decker was also a force in the running game, sealing the edge several times and generally doing what was necessary to help the Broncos move the chains a team-record 39 times, the second-best figure in NFL history.
Week 15 - With Wes Welker out with a concussion, Denver opted to use Decker more in the slot, and he didnít thrive in the unfamiliar role. Decker, a natural outside receiver, struggled to get open in the middle of the field, as he received just 5 targets and only managed to catch two of them, both of them deep passes over the middle. The lack of a reliable target on the short routes over the middle played a big role in Denverís struggles in 3rd-and-manageable situations against San Diego.
Week 16 - Eric Decker continued to be a monster down the stretch for the Denver Broncos, and his 17 targets against the Texans were the most by any Bronco in any game this year, but it almost didnít happen. Decker had a big catch over the middle nullified on the 1st series by an illegal formation penalty, and he grabbed a 35-yard reception deep down the seam on the second series. On Denverís 3rd series, he banged his knee against a defenderís and went down to the ground, getting helped off the field by team trainers. Decker recovered quickly and returned to the field in time to get 14 more targets and a pair of touchdowns. Very little went wrong for Decker, with the exception being an attempted 1-handed grab right after halftime that he couldnít bring in, leading to the first of Denverís three consecutive three-and-outs. With Welker out, Decker played about half of his snaps in the slot for Denver, and he performed much better in the role this week, grabbing a pair of scores and generally just terrorizing the middle of Houstonís defensive backfield.
Week 17 - After an inconsistent start to the season, Eric Decker continued his extremely reliable recent play against Oakland. While heís been one of Peytonís favorite targets downfield, Denverís game plan called instead for a lot of short dumpoffs, and Decker made the most of them. Only one of his targets fell incomplete, and Decker deserves none of the blame; on the play, an Oakland defender grabbed his face mask and turned his head around as the ball arrived. In addition to his play as a receiver, Eric Decker continued to be Denverís best downfield blocker, and his stellar play in that facet is a big factor contributing to Denverís dominance in the screen game this season.
Week 19 - After seeming to find a bit of consistency to end the season, Eric Deckerís up-and-down play returned against the San Diego Chargers. With Wes Welker returning from injury and Trindon Holliday prone to fumbling, Eric Decker spent time fielding punts for the Broncos, and on one return managed to get behind the Chargers with a clear path to the end zone before tripping in the open field. On San Diegoís onside kick attempt, Eric Decker went up to catch the ball but couldnít bring it in, leading to a San Diego recovery. As a receiver, Decker contributed one of Denverís five drops, after Peyton Manning threw him an end zone target that hit him in the hands, but which he wound up tipping to a San Diego defender for the interception. The brightest spot of Deckerís day undoubtedly remained his work in the blocking game, where Decker remains one of the best receivers in the league and an underrated part of Denverís offensive success.
Week 20 - Eric Decker had a strong, mistake-free performance against the New England Patriots. Each of his five receptions went for a first down, and Decker again finished without any drops. Decker was Manningís favorite target on 3rd down, although the pair struggled to convert at times. Also, unlike the previous week against the Chargers, when Denverís opponent attempted a desperation onside kick at the end of the game, Decker managed to field it cleanly and secure the football for the Broncos.
Week 21 - Eric Decker drew Denverís toughest assignment against Seattle, as the Broncos lined him up against Richard Sherman for most of the game. As a result, Decker received just four targets, catching one of them for 6 yards, albeit to convert a 3rd-and-3. Denverís game plan clearly called for them to ignore Decker as long as he was on Shermanís side of the field.