What I’m going to say is about to amount to fantasy football heresy — Wes Welker is being overvalued in drafts this year.
While it might not be Roger Clemens joining the New York Yankees after a long, successful run with the Red Sox, fans in Boston are certainly still getting over Welker joining Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos after his acrimonious departure from the New England Patriots.
While Welker became a fantasy star in New England, especially for those playing in PPR-scoring leagues, expectations for his first season with Manning in Denver should be tempered.
In five of Welker’s six seasons with the Patriots, he caught over 110 passes and went for more than 1,100 yards. Even last season, as Welker’s displeasure with the team seemed to be growing, he had one of his best seasons yet with 1,354 yards and six touchdowns. There’s no doubt Welker has been a bona fide stud for fantasy owners for the last six years.
I readily admit that I’m a huge Peyton Manning fan. As such, it pains me to say this, but at least part of Welker’s stardom has to be attributed to his chemistry with Tom Brady. I’m sure that Welker will grow quickly with Manning, but the presence of Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker means at least a few less looks to Welker in the passing game.
Not only that, but the Broncos are going to work to run the ball effectively with either Montee Ball or Ronnie Hillman, cutting into Welker’s touches more yet.
Welker could well be a superstar again in 2013, and the Broncos’ air attack will be one of the best in the league, but that makes it more difficult to judge Welker’s week-in, week-out value. He’s being drafted in the third round of most drafts right now, along with players like Randall Cobb and Victor Cruz.
Welker’s numbers speak for themselves, and he’s one of the most consistently productive receivers in fantasy history. Going from Brady to Manning is like trading in your Ferrari for a Lamborghini, so I’m sure Welker will get his catches. Of course, if you’re relying on him as a top fantasy receiver and he starts slow, you could be kicking yourself. Try to pair Welker with another top receiver if possible, and you’ll be set either way.