2010 Fantasy Player Profile | Wes Welker
As a part of an ongoing series NFL Soup is putting together to prep fantasy owners for their fantasy football drafts and the 2010 fantasy football season, we will be taking a close look at specific fantasy player’s values and current statuses.
Not sure what to make of a certain player due to his current role, injury, or off-season issue? If you’re coming to us for a briefing and some fantasy advice, you’ve made the right choice.
We analyze all the angles, gather all the facts, and give you all the info needed to make the right call when you’re on the clock.
We kick off the summer’s fantasy player profiles with one of the most interesting situation’s in the league; Wes Welker and his recovery from ACL surgery.
What we know is that Welker is easily the best slot receiver in the game today, and he’s also already in the conversation for the greatest of all-time.
We also know that, when healthy, he’s proven to be an absolutely lock for 100+ receptions and 1,000+ yards.
The real concern now is, what happens when his health is in question?
Before going down in Week 17 of last season, Welker put up his best career numbers, grabbing a career-high 123 receptions for a career-high 1,348 yards.
Welker continued to be Tom Brady’s fullback, running back, and tight end, taking dump passes and check-downs and making first downs and yards after the catch seem routine and boring.
His sure hands gave him his third consecutive 100+ catch season, and embedded him in the back of every fantasy owner’s minds that originally chalked him up as purely a PPR fantasy receiver.
While Welker has never been a touchdown machine (having just seven touchdowns the final two seasons), his PPR value and overall role in the offense keep his value extremely high, no matter the league type or scoring format.
You’re talking about a guy who recorded seven games with 10 or more receptions, and ended his 123-catch season with just 14 starts, and recorded just one reception in Week 17, after going down with his knee injury early.
Think about that level of production for a second. Welker had 123 receptions in roughly just 13 games. That is beyond impressive.
However, now Welker is going into the season in full rehab-mode, with veteran Torry Holt and shifty quarterback-turned-receiver Julian Edelman standing in the way of a fourth consecutive 100+ catch season.
Obstacle one, being his competition, actually shouldn’t be so formidable. Holt is a shell (of a shell) of himself, and Edelman, while young, athletic, and talented, isn’t Welker on his best day.
Obstacle two, being the injury and the timetable, is looking less and less like a real problem for fantasy owners (and for Welker).
Welker is already practicing and jogging with the Patriots, and is reportedly ahead of schedule to start the season. While that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be ready in Week One to take on the same heavy receiving load he’s been accustomed to, it also doesn’t automatically relegate him to the bench, or not playing at all.
Ultimately, Welker’s status to start the season will be heavily impacted by his progress through the pre-season, and how he feels leading all the way up to the kickoff of the 2010 NFL season.
With solid talent (not to mention Randy Moss) in place, it’s very unlikely that the Patriots would even begin to think about rushing back one of their most vital offensive pieces.
Regardless, the anti-Welker hype is beginning to die down. We still like his value in fantasy this year, as long as where you take him matches the risk.
As it stands, Welker is not a good value pick before the fourth round. However, considering his reputation, both as a fantasy performer and a player in practice, we don’t suggest that even the most logical fantasy drafters pass on him if he falls in their laps from rounds five and on.
His 18th rank in our fantasy receiver rankings backs that up.