All eyes were on Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning during his return to football on Sunday Night Football. And with an electrifying performance, he showed that he's still an elite NFL passer even after taking 616 days off from the game.
The guy we watched even closer, however, was wide receiver Eric Decker. The third-year wideout was expected to be Mannings' go-to guy and rack up a ton of yards and at least one score, if not more. Decker owners were salivating over their mid-round pick. And to many, he disappointed.
Decker caught five passes for 54 yards and no touchdowns. Those stats, standing alone, are mediocre. But if you look deeper into his stats and the game, you'll see Decker is still primed to breakout.
Decker tied fellow wideout Demaryius Thomas for a team-high seven targets from Manning. Decker hauled in five of those seven targets. In 2011, the former Golden Gopher only had four games where he caught five passes.
And for those who didn't watch the game, you missed Decker just missing the end zone. He was brought down within a yard from scoring a touchdown on a 18-yard strike from Manning. He also came this close to scoring on a back-shoulder throw from Manning in the end zone.
If Decker scores on either of those plays, his owners would be content with the outcome. Instead, Decker owners across the fantasy universe are questioning their pick. Now's the time to steal him.
Yes. Decker only caught five passes. And no, seven targets isn't mind-blowing. But when you consider the fact that the Broncos only took to the air on 26 plays, Decker's numbers look promising.
In the immediate, Denver plays against the Atlanta Falcons defense that just lost Brent Grimes for the season. That is a huge blow to what was considered a strong defensive backfield. And in Week 1, the Falcons allowed Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel to throw for 258 yards. Manning should fare a bit better.
With Willis McGahee and the Broncos running game looking exceptionally plain, Decker will be a target hound in that offense. He would be a valuable asset to your receiving corps. Now's the time to trade for him.
One guy to use would be Detroit Lions running back Kevin Smith. Smith may have seen his best statistical game this season given Mikel Leshoure's Week 3 return. The Lions backfield will certainly be a two-headed monster, which will kill Smith's value.