Wes Welker began this season with more of a whimper of a stat line than a bang. Against the Tennessee Titans, he sent fantasy owners into a panic with three catches for 14 yards while New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady favored options of the tight end variety.
After Aaron Hernandez was sidelined with an injury during the Pats’ Week 2 game against the Arizona Cardinals, Welker was called upon more often to help his team move the chains. He finished that game with 11 targets.
He reeled in just five of them, but they went for 95 yards, allowing for the fear of Welker’s fantasy value crashing to subside.
Welker received 10 targets on Sunday night against the Ravens and caught eight of them for an even more favorable 142 yards. He has still yet to find the end zone, but that was never Welker’s calling card.
He had nine touchdowns in his career year last season.
Welker’s fantasy value should remain stable at least while Hernandez is out of the lineup. He is averaging a career-high 15.7 yards per reception through three games this season.
His second best average was 15 yards per catch during his sophomore season (and first year playing offense) in Miami. After that, he gained 12.9 per catch last year.
When Hernandez is close to returning, I would look to ship Welker away from my fantasy lineup. Three for 14 in Week 1 was not encouraging.
Waiting for Hernandez to get back could be a detriment to the Welker owner if Brady continues to target his tight end tandem more frequently than Welker when he has it available.
In the meantime, Welker’s current value should be enough to get a receiver that should have more consistent value throughout the season.
If you can sell the Reggie Wayne owner in your league on Welker’s prospects, for example, that may be a solid move for the long-term future of your fantasy lineup.
A fine time to send an offer for Wayne would be after the games begin on Sunday of Week 4. Wayne's Indianapolis Colts will be on a bye and, by the time you get him, you wouldn't have to worry about finding a bye-week replacement for him.
Welker will have served that role in Week 4.