Week Seventeen Analysis:
Come kickoff time, Denver will need a victory over the Raiders to clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC. That means Peyton Manning will be firing on all cylinders against Oakland, which ranks 28th in pass coverage by Pro Football Focus. Decker has been red hot as of late, totaling more than 450 yards and seven touchdowns in the last four weeks. He also caught eight balls for 133 yards and a score the last time he faced the Raiders.
Week Sixteen Analysis:
Eric Decker has eight targets inside the five-yard line this season, which is second among wide receivers. To give you some perspective, his eight targets are also more than the individual rush attempts from inside the five-yard line from heavyweight backs such as LeSean McCoy, Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte, Zac Stacy, and Alfred Morris. Basically, scoring opportunities are plentiful in Denver's prolific offense, and that shouldn't change Sunday in Houston. The Texans surrender nearly a touchdown per game to receivers, and Decker has scored 75% of his touchdowns this season on the road. And, if Wes Welker can't go, that's one less mouth to feed in this diverse offense.
Week Fifteen Analysis:
Eric Decker was quiet against San Diego five weeks ago, managing just three catches for 52 yards. But prior to that game, he had scored in four of five career meetings. The Chargers secondary has improved, and they're now Pro Football Focus' 31st-ranked pass coverage, after being ranked dead last for most of the season. The Chargers pay a visit to Mile High where the Broncos passing attack just shredded the shutdown secondary of the Titans. Decker has been red hot as of late, and in addition to his 291 yards and five touchdowns, he has also amassed 24 targets and 16 receptions in the last two games. With Wes Welker inactive because of a concussion, Decker could be in line for even more work.
Week Fourteen Analysis:
Eric Decker blew leagues apart with his four-touchdown game last week, just the sixth in the last 14 NFL seasons. Denver's opponent this week, the Tennessee Titans, have been nothing short of dominant against the pass this season and haven't allowed a wide receiver to cross the stripe since Week 2. The Broncos should utilize different receiver sets to scramble the coverage from Alterraun Verner (on the right) and Jason McCourty (on the left). Decker has a decent size advantage over both cornerbacks (at least four inches and 25 pounds), but his owners need to prepare for a possible disappointment following his epic performance last week.
Week Thirteen Analysis:
The last four games have been pretty dismal for Eric Decker, but he'll look to get back on track against the Chiefs, a team that's allowed over 500 yards to receivers alone in their last two games (one was against the Broncos). Brandon Flowers should shadow Wes Welker out of the slot as he did three weeks ago, which leaves Sean Smith anchored to the right side and Marcus Cooper to the left. Cooper is the inferior of the two, and he's allowed 115 yards per game in coverage over the last three weeks according to Pro Football Focus. As always, Decker has potential to blow up, and you run the risk of disappointment by benching him.
Week Twelve Analysis:
Eric Decker's scoring drought is now at three games, but that streak could end Sunday night in New England. In their last five games, the Patriots have surrendered seven touchdowns to secondary receiving options like Brandon LaFell, Jeremy Kerley, Kenny Stills, Jerricho Cotchery, and Brandon Gibson. Decker scored when these two teams met last year, and he's averaged 15 more yards per game on the road since the start of 2012. He's also averaged more than nine targets on the road this season, and his potential to pop in a prolific offense still warrants a start on a weekly basis.
Week Eleven Analysis:
Eric Decker has toned down his production over the last two games, but he'll look to get back on track against the Chiefs, a team he abused in their last meeting for seven catches, 76 yards, and two touchdowns. Kansas City has obviously improved on defense since last season, but they've recently surrendered scores to secondary wide receivers like Marquise Goodwin and DeAndre Hopkins. The Chiefs have a dominant defense on paper, but they've actually allowed over 170 yards and a touchdown per game to receivers over the last five weeks. The real concern here is the status of Peyton Manning's ankle, so pray it holds up and play Decker as you normally would.
Week Ten Analysis:
The distribution of major receiving stats among Denver's big three wideouts is astonishing. Everyone is getting a nice slice of pie, but in the last seven games, it's Decker who's been most consistent in terms of receptions and yards. Just twice has he dipped below 87 yards, and he's caught fewer than five balls only once. The Broncos hit the road for a showdown with the Chargers, a team Decker scored against in both divisional meetings last year. He is also averaging seven receptions and 108 receiving yards on the road this season and has averaged more yards and touchdowns on the road over the duration of his career.
Week Eight Analysis:
All that preseason talk of Wes Welker stealing Eric Decker's work has become ridiculous at this point. Decker leads the Broncos in targets and receiving yards, and he has topped 87 yards and/or scored a touchdown in five of the last six games. The Redskins come to Mile High on Sunday, and they've allowed more than 200 yards and a touchdown per game to receivers this season. Washington also might need to take out a craigslist ad for a strong safety. Brandon Meriweather is suspended for multiple unnecessary roughness flags and Reed Doughty is questionable to play.
Week Seven Analysis:
It isn't by much, but Eric Decker is the most targeted player on the Broncos, and his four looks inside the five-yard line are the second-most among all wide receivers. Including last season, Decker has scored at least one touchdown and/or tallied a minimum of 87 receiving yards in seven of his last nine road games, and he should play a big part on Sunday when Peyton Manning makes his return to Indianapolis. The Colts have surrendered touchdowns to No. 2 receivers in two straight games (Golden Tate and Keenan Allen) so feel free to employ Decker as you normally would.
Week Six Analysis:
It's been Eric Decker that's led Denver's wideouts in receiving yards over the last four games, and he's caught a touchdown in two of his last three. Things couldn't get any easier for him and the Broncos with the lowly Jaguars paying a visit. Jacksonville has allowed an average of two touchdowns per game to receivers in the last three weeks, and they just put safety Dwight Lowery on IR. That leaves rookies Johnathan Cyprien and Josh Evans atop the depth chart, and according to Pro Football Focus, Evans is tied for the most touchdowns allowed among safeties and Cyprien is ranked dead last in pass coverage.
Week Five Analysis:
Eric Decker had an off day by Broncos' standards last week with "only" five catches and 88 yards. On one of the possessions where they actually punted, Decker just missed catching an 80-yard touchdown in stride, but it's crystal clear the Broncos' top three receivers can't ever be benched during this potentially record-breaking season by Peyton Manning. Dallas made a move at corner, so Decker should draw freshly anointed starter Orlando Scandrick who, according to Pro Football Focus, ranks in the bottom half for percentage of balls caught in coverage.
Week Four Analysis:
Last Monday night, it was Eric Decker's turn to be Denver's top receiver, catching all eight of his targets for 133 yards and a touchdown. This week, Denver hosts another wet paper bag defense in the Eagles. Decker should have a solid showing against a squad that has surrendered the fourth-most passing yards and the most completions this season. Decker is picking up the pace with 220 yards and 17 receptions in the last two weeks, and he is now tied for the team lead in targets and has more red zone looks than Demaryius Thomas.
Week Three Analysis:
After two key drops in Week 1, Eric Decker was the most-targeted Bronco last Sunday with 13 looks in the Manning Bowl last week. He has scored twice in his last three meetings with this week's opponent, the Oakland Raiders. During that span he also averaged a respectable six receptions and 71 receiving yards per game. He will continue to fight for targets, but look for him to find daylight with Tracy Porter lined up on the other side and starting safety Tyvon Branch out indefinitely with a broken fibula. Porter should draw his assignment and has allowed 11 of 15 balls thrown his way to go for completions.
Week Two Analysis:
Eric Decker was the odd man out when last Thursday against Baltimore, and he dropped two passes, including a touchdown. His two catches and 32 yards killed a lot of box scores, but you can't afford to sit the Y receiver in a prolific, Peyton Manning-led offense. Manning may want to rebuild Decker's confidence against a terrible secondary. Decker caught more balls and averaged 10 more yards per game on the road last year.
Week One Analysis:
Eric Decker did some damage last season in his two meetings against the Ravens, combining for 14 catches, 217 yards, and a touchdown. He really seemed to benefit from the extra attention paid to Demaryius Thomas. And although plenty of players have changed for the Ravens on defense, you can expect a similar game plan to be in place. Decker's skeptics argue that Wes Welker will steal looks, and that's true to a certain degree. But his presence will also create plenty of space in the passing game and give Eric every chance to top the NFL in red zone targets and receiving touchdowns yet again. If Decker gets Ladarius Webb in one-on-one coverage; he can use his extra 5 inches and 30-plus pounds to outmuscle the under-sized corner.
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Wes Welker is 5'9″ and a slot receiver. Eric Decker is 6'3″ and an outside guy. While they both share some physical attributes, they're far from the same player. Decker proved to be Peyton Manning's favorite red zone target, leading the team in targets, catches and scores inside the 20. In fact, Decker tied for the league lead in red zone touchdown receptions last year with 11. Peyton Manning has proven in the past that he can support three viable fantasy wide receivers. The major downside of Decker is that he has the tendency to not catch the ball. Last year Decker dropped 13 passes, the third most in the NFL.