WR Wes Welker, Free agent
HT: 5-9, WT: 190, Born: 5-1-1981, College: Texas Tech, Drafted: ---
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Return Projections (see all)
Average draft position
Current as of August 25th. [Full ADP list]Overall: D Sproles (96), D Woodhead (97), Wes Welker (98), P Rivers (99), B Pierce (100)
Position: T Williams (91-WR35), B Cooks (95-WR36), Wes Welker (98 - WR37), R Cooper (105-WR38), K Benjamin (107-WR39)
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PPR Average draft position
Current as of August 25th. [Full PPR ADP list]Overall: L Miller (80), S Watkins (81), Wes Welker (82), C Kaepernick (83), K Rudolph (84)
Position: B Cooks (79-WR32), S Watkins (81-WR33), Wes Welker (82 - WR34), T Williams (85-WR35), E Decker (86-WR36)
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Wes Welker still has what it takes to be one of the best in the game today. Last year, Welker missed three games due to concussions but still finished the season as the 20th-best fantasy wide receiver. With the loss of Eric Decker to the New York Jets in free agency, we could see Peyton Manning lean on Welker even more this year. Last year was Welker’s first since 2006 not catching passes from Tom Brady, yet he caught more touchdowns in one year (10) then he ever did with the Patriots. The missed time made his 778 yards receiving the lowest total for Welker since he was with the Dolphins (2006, 687). If he stays healthy for a full season, Welker will put up more receiving yards this year. Welker can still get open consistently as he’s one of the best “jerk” route-runners in league history. He is a trusted target for Manning, and the team likes to use his receiving ability near the end zone and in short-yardage situations. Hitting double-digit touchdowns again this year won’t be much of a problem for Welker. In 2013 he scored at least one touchdown for the first six weeks of the season. The team added Emmanuel Sanders to take Decker’s spot, but it’s Welker who could benefit the most when the team gets to the red zone. Sanders has only 11 receiving touchdowns for his career, while Decker had 11 just last season alone. While Sanders is not known for his red-zone prowess, Welker is and could be in line for even more targets when the team is near pay dirt. This one is fairly easy to diagnose for fantasy owners. Welker is one of the most trusted targets on one of the league’s most high-powered offenses. He missed three games last year and still put up low-end WR2 numbers. Welker is a valuable WR2 who can be a regular starter for your fantasy team. Welker suffered a concussion in the Week 3 preseason game against the Houston Texans. The Broncos are evaluating him, and they will follow the NFL's protocol for dealing with concussions. The team was already taking it easy on Welker in practice, and there's a small chance that this concussion could end his career. The chance is small, but there's a greater chance that he could miss time this season because of multiple concussion problems. Keep checking the news wire for the latest on the veteran receiver.
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2013 Game Summaries
Week 1 - Wes Welker displayed an immediate connection with Peyton Manning, and was the only Broncos player with at least two receptions in each half. Welker got open with ease all night, and converted key first downs or touch downs on each of Denver's first three drives of the second half as they blew the game open. Welker was also on the receiving end of a controversial call, as one of his receptions appears to have hit the ground before Welker gathered it in. Welker showed some veteran savvy, as his routine nonchalance on the "catch" went a long way towards convincing the officials that the pass was complete, and towards convincing Ravens' coach John Harbaugh not to throw his challenge flag. The only black mark on an otherwise fantastic debut came on special teams, where Denver replaced Trindon Holliday with the more reliable Welker on a punt return, only to have Welker muff the catch and fumble the ball away inside the 5 yard line. Coach John Fox's confidence in Welker appeared unshaken, though, and Welker was even back to receive another punt later in the contest.
Week 2 - Wes Welker has always had inconsistent hands, and they were on full display against the New York Giants. Welker used his short-area quickness to get open at will against a defense that struggled to contain him, but dropped several sure receptions. Fortunately for Welker, Manning never seemed to lose trust in him, not hesitating to go his way for a touchdown from the 2-yard line, but Sunday's game is otherwise one Welker will likely wish to put behind him.
Week 3 - After a poor outing against the Giants, Wes Welker rebounded with a reliable performance against Oakland. He caught 7 of the 8 balls thrown his way, although the one miss was a drop on a Denver drive that eventually stalled out. Wes Welker joined Jimmy Graham and teammate Julius Thomas as the only players to reach the end zone in each of the season's first three weeks, a trend that seems poised to endure as Denver continues to involve Welker much more in the red zone than New England did. On Denver's first drive, they threw Welker a screen pass on 1st-and-goal from the 4 yard line. The play was defended well and Welker only gained two yards, but it's indicative of the team's trust in his ability to make plays.
Week 4 - Whether Wes Welker is the cause of Denver's focus on the short passing game or merely a beneficiary, he continued his excellent season against the Eagles with his best game yet. On Denver's first play of the game, Welker demonstrated a skill set he didn't often get to use in New England; while Philadelphia was initially able to cover everything, excellent protection by Denver's offensive line bought Welker time to work open down the field for a 33 yard reception, with most of the yardage coming through the air. After that, Welker spent the remainder of the game attacking a defense which was already soft in the middle and lacking their starting safety, Patrick Chung. Philadelphia had few answers for Welker, who was able to increase his touchdown total to 6 through four games, matching his total from the entire 2012 season.
Week 5 - Wes Welker had his quietest day since joining the Broncos, logging a season-low 6 targets after averaging 9 per game through the first four games. Welker did manage to convert one of those targets into a touchdown, making him the only player in the league to have scored in every game so far. Welker's 7 touchdowns through five games are one more than he had during the entire 2012 season, two shy of his career best, and they match the 7 touchdown passes thrown by former quarterback Tom Brady so far in 2013. The reason for Welker's touchdown success thus far is obvious- Welker is Peyton Manning's favorite target in the red zone, and his six targets at the goal line are as many as all other Bronco players combined. Sunday was no exception, as Welker delivered a 16-yard gain on 2nd-and-goal from the 17 and a 2-yard score on 3rd-and-goal from the two.
Week 6 - Wes Welker continues to be one of Peyton Manning's favorite targets in the red zone. On Denver's second possession, the defense showed Cover 2 and Wes Welker split the safeties on a seam route for an easy score. Welker remains an incredibly difficult coverage responsibility in the middle of the field, where his quickness forces defenders to honor the threat of him breaking in either direction. Denver also continues to use Welker deeper than did New England, and when a play breaks down and Manning is forced to buy time to wait for something to open, Welker is often able to work his way downfield and get behind a defender. Against Jacksonville, Welker managed to do it again, as all of Manning's reads were covered but he was patient and waited for Welker to flash open 26 yards downfield to convert a 3rd-and-10. For the day, Welker was targeted more than any Bronco other than Knowshon Moreno, catching 6 of his 8 targets for 63 yards and a touchdown.
Week 7 - Wes Welker was invisible for most of the evening against Indianapolis, with just one reception for three yards (on three targets) at the midpoint of the third quarter. After Indianapolis scored to take a 33-14 lead, Wes Welker came alive, converting a pair of first downs on Denver's next drive, and grabbing a 2 yard reception on 4th-and-1 a few drives after that. Welker's brightest moments came on Denver's penultimate drive, though, as Welker hauled in 3 passes for 62 yards, including the catch of the season so far as Welker turned his head around at the precise moment the ball was arriving and yet still managed to get his hands up and snatch it out of the air for a 24 yard reception on 3rd-and-16. On Welker's final catch, he took a quick pass 25 yards down to Indianapolis's 2 yard line. Unfortunately, he was brought down short of the goal line and Denver never again reached the red zone, bringing an end to Welker's streak of scoring a touchdown in every game to open the season.
Week 8 - Against Washington, Wes Welker continued his season-long transformation into a top red-zone weapon, catching a 6-yard touchdown on Denver’s first drive, tying his previous career best with 9 touchdowns already this season. Welker was also the target on one of Manning’s three interceptions, but Welker was well-covered by a pair of defenders and there was little he could do to prevent the pick. Otherwise, Welker did was Welker has done all season, running a lot of crossing routes, seeing his fellow receivers set a few friendly picks, and picking up some decent yardage after the catch before the defense could close.
Week 10 - Wes Welker had a relatively quiet day against San Diego, receiving only six targets. Welker managed to show the full range of his game, though, easily gaining separation on several occasions, most notably on his 8-yard conversion on 3rd and 5. Unfortunately, Welker’s weaknesses were on display on his only other 3rd-down target, as Welker got open on 3rd and 9 and managed to bring the ball to his chest and get both hands on it, but still dropped the pass, ending the drive.
Week 11 - Wes Welker was the second-most-targeted Bronco against Kansas City, and the Chiefs had no answer for his quickness as Welker was able to separate at will, converting 8 of his 10 targets into receptions. In addition to his 8 receptions, Welker had a conversion on 3rd-and-long that was called back due to offensive holding, and he managed to draw two more penalties for automatic first downs. Kansas City eventually resorted to trying bracket coverage to stop him from getting open so easily. Towards the end of the game, Welker received a heavy hit and seemed woozy. He caught one more pass, but was then shut down for the night. After the game, it was reported that Welker suffered a concussion against the Chiefs.
Week 12 - Welker was cleared to practice on Friday after suffering a concussion against Kansas City. He looked fully healthy against New England, but still had a rough outing against his former team. With Denver passing so infrequently in the first half, Welker received only a single target before halftime, which he caught for a 5-yard gain on 3rd and 7 before getting stopped short of the first down marker. Welker caught three of his next four targets, converting a pair of first downs in the process, but his game will mostly be remembered for a pair of costly mistakes in overtime. On Denver’s last possession of the game, needing a field goal to win it and with the ball already in New England territory, Wes Welker dropped a well-thrown pass on 3rd and 8, forcing Denver to punt. Denver never saw the ball again, thanks to another Wes Welker error; after the Broncos quickly forced New England into 4th down, they had Welker deep to receive the punt in order to avoid a turnover. Welker decided not to field the punt, but was late in warning Denver’s blockers to stay clear, and the kick ricocheted off of Denver’s Tony Carter, getting recovered by the Patriots in game-winning field goal range. All-in-all, certainly not the homecoming Welker was hoping for.
Week 13 - With other receiving options stepping up, it was Wes Welker’s turn for a quiet day in Denver. Welker received 6 targets on the day, one of which was called back due to an offensive penalty. The other 5 included a reception for no gain, a 20-yard conversion on 3rd-and-11, and an 18-yard conversion on 2nd-and-10. After an early injury to regular returner Trindon Holliday, Welker also received plenty of work handling returns for the special teams, where he failed to make much of an impact but avoided any turnovers.
Week 14 - After starting the season on a touchdown-scoring tear and then cooling off, Wes Welker finally reached the end zone for his 10th touchdown of the season, setting a new career best and making the Broncos the first team in history with four players scoring double-digit touchdowns (Welker, Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, and Knowshon Moreno). Other than the milestone, however, Wes Welker was one of the rare not-so-bright spots on an otherwise glowing day. Welker had a chance for a second touchdown but, the play was overturned on replay when it was revealed that the ball had hit the ground. Welker finished the day with 3 dropped passes on 10 targets, and worse, suffered his second concussion in the past month. After the concussion, Welker was shut down for the afternoon, and his availability for week 15 is very much in doubt.
Week 19 - In Wes Welker’s first game back after his most recent concussion, he still had a little bit of rust to knock off. Welker finished second on the team in targets and remained a big weapon for Denver in the red zone, using his quickness to get open in the middle of the field and catching one of Denver’s two touchdown passes, but Welker also dropped a pair of passes, including a potential second touchdown on 3rd-and-11 from the San Diego 27.
Week 20 - Wes Welker’s second game against his former team was also a quiet one, but Welker managed this time to finish without the negative plays that plagued him in the first meeting. Aside from a 14-yard gain to convert 3rd and 9, Welker had a fairly quiet day as Peyton Manning focused on exploiting mismatches elsewhere in the New England defense, and Welker finished with just 5 targets.
Week 21 - In one of the few match-ups to go Denver’s way, Wes Welker managed to take advantage of cornerback Walter Thurmond for a few positive plays for the Broncos. When lined up against Thurmand, Welker had four receptions on four targets for 64 yards, including a clutch conversion on 3rd and 9. Against Thurmand, Welker had 28 yards after the catch. Against everyone else combined, Welker had two receptions on six targets for just 20 yards, with only two yards after the catch. Seattle’s swarming defense managed to stay with Welker as he came out of his breaks, and the few times he managed to shake free they were on hand to tackle him immediately after he caught the ball.