Week Seventeen Analysis: The Broncos are playing for playoff seeding against a team that will lose their grip on the top pick in the draft if they accidentally win, which means that this one could get ugly early in Denver. After pulling down three touchdown passes in the last two weeks, he may only need a half of production against the Chiefs. In 15 games the Chiefs have allowed 18 different wideouts to top 60 yards and have allowed the sixth-most touchdowns to wide receivers while allowing the fewest receptions.
Week Sixteen Analysis: Last week the Browns surprised me by giving up 329 passing yards at home to Kirk Cousins. This week Cleveland heads to Denver to face Peyton Manning and Eric Decker. Decker is back in the good graces of fantasy owners after his touchdown and 133-yard performance in Baltimore last week. It was Decker's first 100-yard outing since Week 3 and only his second touchdown in the last six weeks. Despite those "down" weeks, Decker has averaged ten targets and had eight receptions in each of his last two outings, so Manning's faith in the former Gopher has not faltered.
Week Fifteen Analysis: Eric Decker owners who were looking for a shred of hope to grasp on to got just that with his eight-catch, 88-yard performance against the Raiders last Thursday. In the previous four games Decker had combined for only 10 receptions, 119 yards and one touchdown. That's a far-cry from the top 10 wideout that Decker was through the first eight games of the season. A matchup against the Ravens isn't as daunting as it used to be, especially for possession receivers like Decker. For PPR use, you'll like to hear that, in the last three weeks, five different wideouts have had five or more receptions and the Ravens have allowed eight or more receptions to a wideout on five different occasions.
Week Fourteen Analysis: It's been a tough couple of weeks for Eric Decker owners. In the last four weeks, the Broncos wideout has only reached the end zone once and has been held to fewer than 24 yards three times. That's awful. But he hasn't fallen out of our rankings quite yet. You've probably heard us mention before that Decker is tied for the league lead in red zone touchdowns. This week he happens to face an Oakland squad that has allowed 16 red zone passing touchdowns this season, the third-most in the league. So I like Decker's chances to get back into the end zone on Thursday night.
Week Thirteen Analysis: Eric Decker rates lower on this list than his teammate Demaryius Thomas because Tampa has been fairly good at not allowing red zone passing touchdowns. For as bad as the Bucs' secondary is, only five teams have allowed fewer red zone passing scores than Tampa Bay—they allow scores from distance, and that's Thomas' specialty, not Decker's. Decker has only totaled 102 yards over his last three weeks, but could top that number this week alone. In the last five weeks four different wide receivers have topped 90 yards and scored against the Bucs.
Week Twelve Analysis:
Eric Decker scored again last week against the Chargers and has now found himself in the end zone eight times in the past nine games. Quarterback Peyton Manning has thrown 17 touchdowns this season from inside the red zone, which is the second-most in the NFL. One out of every three of Manning's red zone attempts have been thrown at Decker, which is why he is tied for the league lead among wide receivers with seven red zone touchdowns. It looks like the task of scoring won't be difficult for Decker this week as the Broncos head to Kansas City. In their last five games, the Chiefs have yielded nine touchdowns to enemy wide receivers.
Week Eleven Analysis: Last week in Carolina, Eric Decker's streak of five straight games with a touchdown came to an end. A disappointing two catch and 15-yard performance doesn't concern me since Decker is still Peyton Manning's go-to guy. Inside the red zone, Decker's nine targets are second in the NFL, while teammate Demaryius Thomas has only had three red zone targets this year. Decker is the scorer, which bodes well for him as he faces San Diego. Just over 11 percent of wide receiver receptions against the Chargers are going for touchdowns. That's the fourth-highest amount in the league. Plus, last time Decker faced off against San Diego he hauled in six catches for 98 yards and a score.
Week Ten Analysis: The Broncos rank second in the NFL in red zone passing touchdowns with 15, and much of that has to do with the skills of Eric Decker. Decker is now tied with James Jones among the league leaders in red zone touchdown receptions, both have seven. What's more impressive is that all seven of Decker's scores have come in the last five games and he's had at least one score in every one of those games. His scoring streak may be in jeopardy as the Broncos visit the Panthers this weekend. Carolina has only allowed five touchdowns to opposing wideouts this season, which is the third-fewest in the league.
Week Nine Analysis: Eric Decker has now scored in each of his last four games, including two last Sunday against the Saints. All five of Decker's scores have been from inside the 20-yard line, he trails only James Jones among wide receivers for most red zone touchdowns in the league. This works out well for Decker as he faces a Bengals team that is allowing touchdowns on a whopping 22 percent of red zone passing attempts. Cincinnati has looked pretty good as a pass defense this season, but they've faced five starting quarterbacks who were in their first or second season. Peyton Manning should have no trouble dissecting the Cincy secondary this weekend.
Week Eight Analysis: Eric Decker has been targeted eight or more times in each of his last five games and has scored in each of his last three. In the last four games Decker has had six or more catches with 75+ yards three times, last season he only accomplished each of those feats twice. His opponent this weekend, the Saints, have allowed nearly 1,100 passing yards in their last three games. Wide receivers have been devilish against the Saints too, as New Orleans has allowed seven wide receivers to top 100 yards or score in that same stretch.
Week Six Analysis: If the pattern over the last two weeks continues, Demaryius Thomas will top 100 yards in every game but never score, and Eric Decker will be the guy who hauls in the Peyton Manning touchdown pass. Decker has now scored or topped 100 yards in each of the last three games and this week he gets a nice matchup against San Diego. How good are the Chargers against wide receivers? Not very. In the last two weeks alone, San Diego has allowed three wide receivers to top 100 yards and score. Any wide receiver that has been targeted nine or more times against San Diego has scored, Eric Decker is averaging 8.6 targets per game.
Week Five Analysis: Last week Eric Decker scored his first touchdown since Week 12 of last season, but things seem to be looking up for one of Peyton Manning's go-to guys. Decker and Demaryius Thomas are virtually tied in targets, receptions and yardage this season, but as of late it's been Decker receiving more looks. In the last two weeks the sure-handed former Gopher has caught 15 of his 20 targets for 215 yards and a score. When you compare that to Thomas catching only eight of his 17 targets in the same time frame, it seems apparent who has the best hands on the team. His opponent, the Patriots, have allowed three wide receivers to gain 85 or more yards in just the last two weeks. And their one good cover corner, Devin McCourtey may be asked to cover Thomas to contain his big play ability.
Week Four Analysis: Last week, Eric Decker's eight receptions and 136 yards against Houston were both career highs. That's right, the Tim Tebow era wasn't too kind to Decker. In fact, it was so unkind that his scoring drought has reached Bud Bundy proportions, as Decker hasn't found the end zone since November of last season. Decker has the tenth most receiving yards among wide receivers this season and looks to climb higher with a matchup against the Raiders this weekend. Oakland has allowed three different receivers to top 85 yards in the last two weeks.
Week Two Analysis: In Eric Decker's four games with a competent throwing Kyle Orton, he was averaging five catches for 68 yards and a score. Last week he had five catches for 54 yards. The Broncos and Peyton Manning passed the test in the first week and should feel more comfortable throwing the ball in Atlanta. The Falcons will be without top cornerback Brent Grimes for the remainder of the season, so Manning will likely be tossing the rock away from an old nemesis, Asante Samuel, and toward Decker who should be shaded by Dunta Robinson. Robinson is 5'10" (Decker is five inches taller) and hasn't had more than nine passes defended or two interceptions in five years.
Week One Analysis: It seems perfectly clear that Eric Decker has become the favorite target of Peyton Manning over the preseason. Decker hauled in eight catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns in limited preseason play with Manning, while his counterpart Demaryius Thomas managed only five catches for 53 yards. The comparisons of Decker to Marvin Harrison have been widely publicized, and he wears the same number as Reggie Wayne, so maybe it's just a comfort thing for Manning. A matchup against Pittsburgh still proves to be difficult. The Steelers did not allow one 100-yard game to an opposing wide receiver last regular season. In last year's regular season, Josh Cribbs had the best yardage output against the Steelers in Week 17, when he tallied 91 yards on seven catches.
NEXT: #25 Pierre Garcon