Wes Welker won’t miss the first week of the 2014 NFL season due to a concussion. Instead, it will be because of allegedly using performance enhancing drugs. Per reports, the Denver Broncos shifty slot receiver will miss the first four games if the 2014 season due to testing positive for “amphetamines”, a suspension that is effective immediately.
Welker was already potentially in danger of missing the first game of the year thanks to his third concussion in the past 10 months, but a speedy recovery had him on target to suit up against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football. That was until news broke of his PED violation. Welker won’t officially be back until week six, as the Broncos have a week five bye.
The absence of Welker means more targets for Denver’s top receiving weapons, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas, but everyone knew that. With the loss of Eric Decker in free agency, that was already assumed, regardless. It’s rookie receiver Cody Latimer and recently signed Emmanuel Sanders that could benefit the most from Welker’s suspension.
For the moment, the explosive Sanders is the next guy up, and he should be active in the slot for Denver. Peyton Manning isn’t likely to confide in him quite as much as he would Welker out of the slot, but his fantasy value clearly soars with the news. Latimer is still technically working behind Andre Caldwell as the team’s fifth wide receiver, but with Welker out he will almost certainly be worked into the rotation more and could be in for a bigger role than anticipated right away in week one.