Roto Arcade

Where’s Wes? Panic sets in for Welker owners, following quiet opener

Andy Behrens
Roto Arcade

View gallery

.

Wes Welker has a few questions to answer (US Presswire)

On Monday morning, fantasy owners awoke to dire headlines about New England receiver Wes Welker, most suggesting that he'd become a rotational player for the Patriots. Welker was on the field for 43 of 67 offensive snaps on Sunday afternoon, while Julian Edelman played 23. Wes finished with just three catches for 14 yards on five targets. So that's somewhat alarming if you have Welker shares in the portfolio.

Wes is playing on a one-year, $9.5 million deal this season after failing to land an extension during the summer, and there's been plenty of speculation about the possibility that No. 83 could be deemphasized in 2012. This might very well be his last campaign with the Pats. Welker finished as the No. 3 scorer at his position last year, leading all receivers in catches (122) and finishing second in targets (173), but of course he also dropped the biggest opportunity he's ever seen, a killer failure in Super Bowl XLVI. He definitely entered this season under the microscope, and the early returns weren't great.

I spent my morning re-watching the Pats' 34-13 victory at Tennessee, with an eye on Welker's usage. Here are a few of the key details, bullet-style...

First of all, it's not accurate to say that Welker and Edelman were in a strict rotation. In fact, they were on the field together on multiple snaps. If you need confirmation, here's a screen grab:

View gallery

.

Edelman & Welker

There's 11 and 83, coexisting. It happened a few times on Sunday; we'll no doubt see it again.

That said, Edelman did take a series in each half. I won't dismiss that fact. If there happens to be some nagging injury issue with Welker, we'll never hear about it from the Pats, so there's almost no point speculating.

Wes didn't appear to be hurt on Sunday, although his hands weren't working properly on this first-quarter target...

View gallery

.

Doink!

Honestly, that might have been the worst drop of the day, in any game. Tom Brady made a perfect throw, hitting Welker in the facemask for a sure first-down, yet the ball wasn't caught. We don't see that too often from this player, not on chain-moving opportunities over the middle.

The Titans were very aware of Welker underneath. It's not as if he were allowed to run free all afternoon while Brady ignored him. The Pats eventually targeted Wes on a couple of quick-hit screens, tossing a few bones to the PPR community. Nice of 'em to do it. Much appreciated.

New England seized control of the game fairly early, leading to an uncharacteristic run-pass ratio (35-to-31). Brady exceeded 31 pass attempts in 17 of 19 games last season, playoffs included. The team ranked third in the league in passing volume in 2011 (38.3 attempts per game). In a more competitive game, the ball likely would have been in the air quite a bit more, benefiting Welker.

In the end, I'm just not ready to panic here. I've rostered Wes in a league or two, and he won't be dragged to the bench any time soon. We're not there yet. This guy has averaged 9.8 looks per game in his Pats' career; a single five-target line in a runaway win shouldn't send you out on the ledge.

They're all about winning in New England, so it's ridiculous to think that Welker is being de-targeted because he's on a one-year deal. Let's give this situation a few games, see how other teams choose to defend the Pats. You obviously shouldn't toss Wes on the trade block today anyway, since you'd be selling ludicrously low.

If you're more of a pessimist, or if you simply need to vent about Welker's 3-14-0 stat line, we encourage you to bring the rage in comments, as always...

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.
    • Dortmund recovers in Bundesliga, Leipzig returns to the top

      Dortmund recovers in Bundesliga, Leipzig returns to the top

      Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel had blasted his side's performance - ''technical, tactical, mental - a whole deficiency'' - after last week's league loss at Eintracht Frankfurt. The words had their effect as Dortmund, led by the outstanding Marco … More »

      AP - Sports - 8 minutes ago
    • Jones happy after England's perfect year, but demands more

      By Mitch Phillips LONDON (Reuters) - It should have come as no surprise but Eddie Jones was not resting on his laurels after watching his England team beat Australia 37-21 on Saturday to complete a perfect year of 13 victories since he took charge. … More »

      Reuters - 15 minutes ago
    • Late Ramos header denies Barcelona in Clasico

      Late Ramos header denies Barcelona in Clasico

      By Richard Martin BARCELONA (Reuters) - Sergio Ramos again proved Real Madrid's last-gasp hero by heading a 90th-minute equaliser to force a 1-1 draw at champions Barcelona and preserve his side's six-point lead at the top of La Liga on Saturday. … More »

      Reuters - 16 minutes ago
    • South Dakota State extends home win streak to 32

      BROOKINGS, S.D. (AP) -- Mike Daum scored 22 points with nine rebounds and junior-college transfer Andrew Wallace added a career-high 21 points to lead South Dakota State to a 77-68 victory over UMKC on Saturday. … More »

      AP - Sports - 17 minutes ago
    • PSG slump to surprise defeat at Montpellier

      PSG slump to surprise defeat at Montpellier

      French champions Paris St Germain suffered their third defeat of the season when they were humbled 3-0 at mid-table Montpellier on Saturday. Paul Lasne opened the scoring before the interval before Ellyes Skhiri and Ryad Boudebouz added two in the … More »

      Reuters - 19 minutes ago