Twitter was abuzz Wednesday afternoon when rumors began swirling about Welker speaking with the Broncos and it became official in the afternoon. Later that night the Patriots responded by bringing in Danny Amendola, who many call Welker’s ‘clone.’
The two moves affect a ton of major fantasy football players in different ways. The big winner after all the movement is Peyton Manning. The veteran quarterback, who proved to once again be one of the best in the biz and finished fifth in standard scoring leagues at his position, now has arguably the most weapons of any quarterback. Along with Welker, who has been one of the most consistent receivers in the league the past six seasons, Manning still has Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker at his disposal. He looks to be in for another huge season and should again be one of the first quarterbacks taken off the board. After Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, it could now be argued that Manning should be drafted ahead of guys like Tom Brady and Cam Newton. Do remember, however, that he is still just over a year removed from major neck surgery and will be 37 when the season starts.
As for his incumbent receivers Thomas and Decker, they were both top 10 fantasy WRs in 2012. Thomas, who is a big-time deep threat, should largely be unaffected, as Manning will still rely on him as a playmaker. Decker is the guy who probably takes the larger hit. He will likely lose catches and touchdowns to Welker, but he can still be drafted as a WR2. Welker himself moves from one great quarterback in Tom Brady to another in Manning and should only slip a few spots in your position rankings, if any.
The other winner in the move is Amendola. He cashed in after an injury-plagued season and now moves from a weak St. Louis Rams squad to catch passes from Brady in one of the best offenses in the league. He’ll slide into Welker’s spot and, while he hasn’t proven to be a consistent threat like Welker, could be in line for a breakout season. Don’t expect Welker-like production right away, but he could come close if he can get past the injury woes that plagued him all through 2012.