Fantasy Football Stock Watch: Eric Decker signing gives Titans legitimate red zone punch

Free at last! Eric Decker lands in Tennessee, providing extra punch to up and coming offense.

Decker brings an established veteran receiver presence to a young Titans offense. An obvious upgrade from the dumpster fire Jets is a nice change of scenery for the WR, though his usage score drops from the obvious #1 target to a much more competitive target battle. He remains a WR3 until further clarity is gained. 

Marcus Mariota is the clear winner here, who now goes from Rishard Matthews as his top target to having Decker’s red zone wizardry and the immensely promising rookie Corey Davis added to his arsenal. 

Rishard Matthews’ stock continues to plummet, as he falls from the easy number one entering the offseason to possibly the third man on the totem pole. He also did a significant amount of his damage in the red zone, where Decker is at his best. Matthews has fallen from a quality WR2 option to borderline un-draftable at this point.

Corey Davis remains a wait-and-see. He brings a different skillset to the table, and could still emerge as the top target. Nonetheless, his potential target share inevitably drops. The receiver workload will be crucial to monitor this offseason.

Eric Decker signing with the Tennessee Titans has to be a breath of fresh air for the wide receiver who was stuck in the shit hole known as the New York Jets football organization for the last three years. Decker joins an up and coming receiving core consisting of last year’s breakout WR Rishard Matthews and first round draft pick Corey Davis. Suddenly, the Titans evolve from one of the NFL’s weakest receiving corps to potentially among the top.

While the “Surrounding Talent” upgrade is obvious for Decker, his fantasy value isn’t rising too significantly with far more “Usage” question marks. Davis figures to be a big part of this offense moving forward, plus Matthews and Delanie Walker won’t suddenly disappear. The mouths to feed are many, and the aerial pie might not be enough to sustain more than one or two guys given this offense runs through the Exotic Smashmouth pair of Murray and second year back Derrick Henry.

While yes, Decker has been one of the quietly dominant the last few years, averaging 1,085.3 yards and 81.5 catches over his last four healthy seasons, he’ll be hard pressed to approach these totals in this system and with this many options. Still, he’ll definitely be a red zone threat — only Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall, Antonio Brown, and Demaryius Thomas have scored more touchdowns since 2012, and that’s with Decker missing 13 games last season. This puts a huge dent onto Matthews, who depended on red zone usage for nine TDs last season. He’s borderline undraftable now, unless training camp reveals usage we aren’t foreseeing. This remains some tricky aerial distribution to project, but as of now Decker and Davis seem fair WR3 / flex level picks, while Matthews is a late round flier at best. 

Yet, a clear winner exists, and that’s third-year QB Marcus Mariota. Last year the Titans offense ran through RB stud DeMarco Murray early and often. He was Option A for Tennesee, but Mariota still played great throwing for 3,426 yards and 26 touchdowns. Mariota’s trending up and the addition of Decker will only help to expedite that development and pad those stats. Decker is a very good red zone option, and could provide a legitimate target for Mariota to work with.

The running game shouldn’t be overly impacted, either. While the volume is bound to drop as Mariota slings far more often, this is still a run-first coach who’s “Exotic Smashmouth” system clearly worked. In fact, the gained explosiveness in the passing game is bound to keep the box lighter and scoring chances more plentiful, so, if anything, this move is could be a win for Murray (and eventually Henry).

On another note, the only other clear winner is all of us. The move to Tennessee makes complete sense when you look at the big picture that is his smokeshow/rocket wife Jessie James Decker (country singer). Making it to the NFL sure is nice, but Decker’s greatest life accomplishment will always be landing JJD who currently sits atop my throne of celebrity crushes, and now she’ll be rocking Daisy Dukes for days. I mean, c’mon.

We are all winners indeed.

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