Patriots WR Wes Welker might be one of the most underrated players in fantasy football.
He’s posted a combined 346 receptions for 3,668 yards in his last three seasons, but you still never hear him mentioned in the same breathe as the likes of Randy Moss, Andre Johnson or Reggie Wayne.
Unfortunately, that trend is likely to continue in 2010.
Welker suffered tears to his medial collateral and anterior crucitate ligaments in the team’s regular-season finale, and the MCL needs to heal before doctors can repair the ACL.
That means Welker will have to wait before having a major reconstructive operation.
It also means his status for the start of next season is in serious doubt.
If he has to wait another month for the MCL to heal, for example, it backs up his rehab and in turns makes him a candidate to miss training camp. In a worst-case scenario, Welker might wind up on the Pysically-unable-to-perform list.
That would force him to miss the first six weeks of the regular season.
While it’s still very early in the offseason, that sort of scenario would make Welker a major risk-reward selection in fantasy drafts. His absence for any part of the season would also hurt the value of Moss, who would see more defensive attention without Welker on the field.
On a positive note, Julian Edelman would be a much more attractive option. He filled in well for Welker this season and would no doubt continue to see a solid number of targets if he remains in a prominent role to start 2010.
If you’re looking for an early sleeper, Edelman could be a great choice.