Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick connected with Eric Decker on a touchdown in the first quarter and also hooked up with Brandon Marshall for a late score. Even though New York’s running game wasn’t working well for the majority of the evening, Fitzpatrick was able to get the job done and improve the Jets to 2-0.
Those who may have been down on Decker after he received just three targets in Week 1 saw him targeted a whopping 10 times in the first half alone. Decker also scored a TD for the second time in as many games, which is the foundation of his fantasy appeal.
Regardless of what the Jets’ offensive identity is—it figures to be built around the run—Decker has a big frame (6’3″, 206 lbs) that will always make him a red-zone threat. All that said, Decker and New York’s passing game benefited from injuries to the Colts defensive backfield.
Within the first minute of the fourth quarter, Fitzpatrick just missed Decker on a downfield pass that would have bolstered both their numbers even more. Although optimism should be curtailed given the circumstances of Monday’s game, there’s reason to believe Decker can be a legitimate WR2.
The 28-year-old has proved to be durable in his NFL career but did leave in the fourth quarter with a knee injury, per the New York Daily News‘ Manish Mehta. Fantasy owners must monitor that situation in determining Decker’s true outlook.
What Marshall brings to the gridiron that Decker lacks is tremendous ability after the catch to go with a big build (6’4″, 229 lbs). His ball skills are phenomenal, and Fitzpatrick’s interception was forced into double coverage on a deep ball to Marshall with savvy veterans Vontae Davis and Mike Adams in coverage.
Marshall wasn’t able to come down with that one, yet he still flashed the speed and vision to make something happen on the aforementioned big catch-and-run he had. Then he showed his competitive fire and determination in bulling multiple defenders into the end zone for the game-sealing TD.
The appeal with Marshall is similar to why fantasy owners should deploy Decker almost every week. When opponents come down to stop the run, Fitzpatrick will have to unload the ball fast. He has the luxury of two massive wideouts on the outside who can outbox defenders and gain leverage to win more often than not.
No other Jets receiver registered a catch through the first three quarters of the Colts game, further illustrating how much Fitzpatrick will lean on Marshall and Decker. Both of them ought to be considered WR2s or strong flex options until further notice.
The ill-advised throw up top to Marshall aside, the journeyman signal-caller did enough Monday to warrant consideration as a two-QB fantasy league starter. In terms of being a QB1 to count on all year, though, Fitzpatrick is not that.
He made enough plays in the second half to allow the Jets to pull away more because of the lackluster personnel in the Colts’ cornerback corps. It also doesn’t help that opponents won’t respect any of Fitzpatrick’s weapons apart from Marshall and Decker until someone else steps up.
The two wild-card factors to determine Fitzpatrick’s fantasy upside are how rookie Devin Smith will fit in once he debuts and whether Decker’s injury is severe.
If the Jets continue to play stout defense, force numerous turnovers and control time of possession more often than not, New York will run enough plays and make Decker and Marshall attractive fantasy options by default. That doesn’t necessarily mean Fitzpatrick is worth claiming on the waiver wire.
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