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Welker led the NFL in receptions two out of the last three seasons with 122 in 2011 and 123 in 2009. While his traditionally high number of targets (172 in 2011) may fall a bit with the addition of Brandon Lloyd, the production of Welker should still put him in the top-10 of fantasy scoring WRs.
In the past, he has been a top-five fantasy WR, which would qualify him as a stud. But Welker’s career high TDs is only nine and there are a number of young WRs ready to bust out in 2012 including A.J. Green, Julio Jones and Percy Harvin. To be a top-five receiver in 2012 it will take about 1,200 yards and 10 TDs. Welker may get the yards, but 10 TDs is unlikely in this offense that features two TEs as major red-zone threats.
Lloyd had a forgettable year with the Broncos and Rams after being the No. 1 fantasy receiver in 2010. But things are in line for a turnaround as he rejoins OC Josh McDaniels in New England.
Despite switching teams midseason, Lloyd had 70 receptions for 966 yards and 5 TDs in 2011. In his huge season in 2010 with the Broncos he tallied 11 TDs and 1,448 receiving yards (which led all WRs).
Lloyd’s output for 2012 should fall somewhere between those last two seasons.
Hernandez is a bit overlooked in a Patriots' offense that is led by Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker. He was quietly the third most productive fantasy TE in 2011.
Hernandez racked up 910 yards receiving and seven TDs in 2011. He caught six TDs in his 2010 rookie season.
The Patriots will continue to use Hernandez in a variety of ways as they can capitalize on having him and Gronk on the field at the same time. Hernandez even took some snaps at RB in the postseason for Bill Belicheck and the Pats.
Top-five TE production from this young star will be there.