Welker will be a risk-reward pick in 2010

Wes Welker has established himself as one of the most valuable receivers in PPR fantasy leagues over the last three years with an amazing 346 receptions for 3,688 yards with 15 touchdowns.

Unfortunately, the last images we have of Welker on a football field came in the Patriots’ regular-season finale against the Texans, when he tore up his left knee while making a cut after a catch. Since then, the Texas Tech product has endured a difficult recovery process.

Excessive swelling in the knee delayed a reconstructive knee procedure several weeks until Feb. 3. According to a report in the Oklahoman, Welker had a post-surgery setback that required another operation, this one to repair a torn rotator cuff.

While he is already jogging just three months after the knee reconstruction, the talented wideout is still uncertain of his return date.

“It’s so early right now, it’s hard to put any sort of timetable on it,” Welker said. “My main deal is just working hard and putting myself in the best position possible to be ready whenever I’m ready. No telling when that’s going to be or how long it’s going to take, but all I can do is just work hard.”

If you ask me, it would take nothing short of a miracle for Welker to return in time for Week 1. Not that it’s completely impossible, but the time period between his surgery and the start of the season simply doesn’t allow him enough time to get back.

In fact, I wouldn’t be a shocked to see Welker start the season on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list and miss the first half of the season.

If that scenario comes to fruition, it will mean more targets for Torry Holt and Julian Edelman. However, I see the latter as being the better option in fantasy drafts.

Sure, the presence of Tom Brady makes Holt more attractive. But he’ll be 34 when the season starts and is clearly past his prime. After recording 1,000-plus yards for eight straight years, Holt has averaged a mere 759 yards with a combined three touchdowns since 2008.

Edelman, who I see as sort of a Wes Welker lite, showed flashes of brilliance during a rookie season that culminated in a two-touchdown postseason performance against the Ravens. If Welker is forced to miss the start of the season, Edelman will have middle-round appeal with addition value in PPR formats.

As for Welker, I see him as a middle-round draft-and-stash player if he’s projected to miss significant time.

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