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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fantasy football: Is Eric Decker the real deal?

Last week, Eric Decker became the first Broncos wide receiver to score twice and tally 100 yards in his first career start.

He was a popular choice this week on the waiver wire (he led our weekly analysis on Tuesday), but he still hasn't seemed to catch on as a no-doubt-about-it starting option in fantasy.

Yahoo! has Decker ranked 37th at wide receiver this week, and ESPN has him 34th. Part of the reason is Sunday's matchup at Tennessee, which is ranked third against the pass and has one more interception than touchdown passes allowed (two to one).

Regardless, the Broncos can rack up passing yards under Kyle Orton, who has thrown for 7,954 yards in 31 games since 2009, an average of 257 per contest.

With Eddie Royal out 2 to 4 weeks because of a groin injury and No. 1 receiver Brandon Lloyd also nursing a groin ailment, Decker might be Denver's best option in the passing game.

Lloyd didn't play last week, but he is expected to play Sunday. Decker had five receptions for 113 yards and a pair of scores in Denver's win over Cincinnati, and he had three receptions for 53 yards in Week 1.

He didn't make much of an impact as a rookie in 2010 (six receptions), but he was still recovering from a Lisfranc foot injury he suffered against Ohio State in October 2009. The injury caused him to miss the rest of his senior season and resulted in his draft stock slipping from a fringe first-rounder to the third round (No. 87 overall) in 2010.

Now, he says he's 100 percent.

Maybe I'm more optimistic than most, but I see Decker as a No. 3 receiver in fantasy, especially in point-per-catch formats.

He's big (6-foot-3, 218 pounds) and he's fast (a 90-yard punt return for a TD in Week 1).

Plus, he has our old favorite, Orton, throwing him the rock.

What could go wrong?

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