Patriot Start of the Week: Wes Welker
Just as it was against the Titans, the Patriot running attack figures to be utilized against a Cardinals defense that gave up 115 yards last week to the Seattle Seahawks. Stevan Ridley certainly warrants a start on most fantasy teams but New England seldom uses similar offensive game plans in back-to-back weeks and it seems likely that they will open things up a bit more in their home opener against Arizona. With that in mind, our Week 2 Start of the Week is Wes Welker.
The tales of Wes’ demise and phasing out of the offense have been greatly exaggerated. Against Tennessee last week, it was quite clear that the Patriots sought to exploit the Titans poor run defense, work the tight ends up and down the field and target Brandon Lloyd when they wanted to take shots deep – a plan that obviously did not feature Welker. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels echoed what we saw on the field, saying earlier this week that Welker’s reduced role was merely a part of the specific game plan against Tennessee, not a harbinger of things to come.
While his disappearance last week won’t take him completely off the Cardinals’ radar, it may turn him into something of a secret weapon (no easy feat for a guy coming off of a 122 catch season). Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez will deservedly get most of the defensive attention in the passing game and Lloyd will stretch the secondary downfield leaving Welker with an opportunity for a lot of targets underneath.
Projection: 10 receptions, 107 yards, TD