Eric Decker has little chance of replicating his 2013 numbers with the Jets


(AP Photo)

Eric Decker turned in a 1,288-yard, 11-touchdown campaign last season, making him one of the most valuable fantasy football commodities of 2013. A large part of that was having Peyton Manning throwing him the ball. This season, the 27-year-old wide receiver will be catching balls thrown by Geno Smith after signing a five-year, $36.25 million contract with the New York Jets. But Decker doesn’t want to be thought of as just a product of Manning’s prowess.

“From Year 1 to Year 5 now, I’ve gotten better at my craft,” Decker said. “I’ve become a better receiver. I’m not going to make assumptions because assuming doesn’t really do anything. In this league, you’re only as good as your last play. That’s what people remember. Numbers and statistics come and go away. And then you start over.”

Decker isn’t the first wideout to leave for greener pastures. Alvin Harper left the Cowboys for the Bucs in 1995. Peerless Price left the Bills for Atlanta in 2002 and Anquan Boldin left Arizona for Baltimore in 2010. All three would see severe reduction in production. As should Decker.

With Manning at quarterback, the Denver Broncos passed on 1,305 of their 2,247 snaps (58.1 percent) last season. Of those, Decker was targeted 258 times, or 11.4 percent of all plays from scrimmage. The Jets, over that same time frame, would pass just 51.9 percent of the time, and none of the Jets’ receivers would come close to being targeted on even 10 percent of the plays from scrimmage.

(Source: Pro Football Reference)
(Source: Pro Football Reference)

If we scale Decker’s 2013 performance to the Jets’ passing environment, we get the following: 60 receptions, 634 yards and two touchdowns. And that’s assuming he would be targeted on 11 percent of the Jets’ passing plays. If we go with 9 percent, which would still be the highest of the Jets’ receiving corps, that drops to 47 catches for 501 yards.

That’s in line with Decker’s production in 2011, when Tim Tebow and Kyle Orton were the Broncos’ quarterbacks. But Decker hauled in eight touchdown catches that season, three as the most frequently targeted wideout in the red zone and five on targets of 20 yards or more. However, Smith threw eight touchdowns in the red zone (four different receivers caught two each) and just four touchdowns on targets of 20 yards or more last season.

No wonder The Post’s Gene Wang highlighted Decker as a player to avoid in fantasy football now that he’s with the Jets.

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.
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