This is the year you’ll want to draft a Denver Broncos receiver in your Fantasy Football League.
Two words. Peyton Manning.
Any FFL player worth his salt knows the value of Manning in their league and when you have a chance to piggyback him with one of his Wide Receivers, you won’t have to worry about dominating your league. Peyton has averaged close to 4000 yards and 28 Touchdowns passing per year in his 14 seasons, and your best bet for the recipient of the bulk of those stats is Wide Receiver Eric Decker.
Eric is entering his 3rd season and there is reason to believe this will be his breakout year. He led the Broncos in receptions (44), receiving yards (612) and touchdowns catches (8) in 2011. Exactly half of those catches came during the first five weeks with Kyle Orton throwing to him. A strained knee ligament and Tim Tebow starting the remainder of the season coming out of their Week 6 Bye gave way to a run-heavy scheme. Decker faded and Demaryius Thomas ended up with a dominant month in December.
The reason for this change of fortune between the two receivers has to do with how they matched up with each Quarterback. Decker is a more polished route runner and came from a traditional offense in college at Minnesota. Thomas, who’s own college background centered around a run heavy offense at Georgia Tech. All Demaryius was required to do was run downfield and get open 7 or 8 times a game and the play action would be an automatic sell.
Decker excelled with the traditional drop back passing of Kyle Orton and Thomas did well with the improvisational style of Tim Tebow. Thomas is big enough to out jump any defensive Back and has the speed to get open on a broken play. These are the exact reasons that will make Eric Decker be the guy you want to pair up with Peyton Manning on your Fantasy team.
Manning requires precision route running from his receivers. They have to be in the right place at the right moment. Thomas is playing catch up this offseason to make up the tools that he lacks, and if he is healthy this season, he is sure to have a good year. Especially since he is the biggest target that Peyton has ever had in his arsenal. Eric Decker is already a polished route runner and he can catch the ball, as his 3 drops during his entire 4 year college career can attest. Plus the fact that since Manning signed with the Broncos in March, he and Eric have been joined at the hip as workout partners, building a rapport that will make Denver’s aerial assault a force to reckon with in 2012.
It isn’t out of the question to believe Decker can double his production in a Manning-type Offense. Yes Tight Ends Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreesen will take some of those targets, but make no mistake, Decker will be the Broncos leading receiver once again this season. Peyton has a tendency to make decent receivers good (Pierre Garcon) and good receivers great (Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison). I project an 80 catch, 1,200 yard, 10 touchdown year for Decker in 2012.