Analyzing Wes Welker’s 2012 Fantasy Value
Wes Welker had a career year and then some in 2011. He started the year with 160 yards and two touchdowns in the opener against the Dolphins, and two weeks later he dropped 217 yards and another two scores on the Bills. It’s worth noting who he was facing in those two mammoth games.
It’s also worth noting that he didn’t touch 160+ receiving yards again last year. He also scored multiple touchdowns in a game just one more time. As consistent as he is/was as a PPR demon and a yardage fiend, Welker isn’t a consistent scorer, and is far from a big-play threat.
There’s no denying his talent and role in New England’s offense, but there’s also no denying the fact that he depends on that huge role almost as much as the Patriots depend on him to fill it. As a guy that generally averages about 11 yards per reception (career high 12.9 last year), he’s a guy who clearly needs a lot of volume to be productive on an elite level.
While all of this is true, the good facts still out-weight the bad ones. While Welker needs a litany of receptions to be a stud, he still gets them because he’s the best slot receiver in the NFL, and teams generally don’t put their top corner on him because he works out of the slot. And even when they do, he runs his routes so well that it often doesn’t matter.
The weapons around Welker only make his job easier, too, as does playing with one of the best passers in the league in Brady. All of this has allowed Welker to churn out an incredible four 110+ reception seasons out of the last five years. In fact, if it hadn’t been for an acl tear at the end of the 2009 season, Welker more than likely would have notched his fifth straight season of 110+ receptions in 2012.
Welker doesn’t have great size or speed, but he has the fundamentals nailed down, and at 31, is in a contract year and playing for one final big deal.
Brandon Lloyd coming to town might drop his touchdown numbers and overall targets a bit, but there’s really little reason to think Welker’s role in the offense will change too much. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is back with the team, and the last time he was in New England, Welker had no problem cracking 100 receptions and 1,100+ receiving yards.
He went over the top last year with a crazy 1,569 yards and a career high nine scores, and neither are a safe bet to happen again. Welker could see a minor hit in his numbers with Lloyd in town, but it’s doubtful to completely change his fantasy scope. Another 100+ reception season should again be in the works, making Welker a strong WR1 once again – especially in PPR leagues.