What is your take on the lack of production from Wes Welker in Week 1?
Jason: I don't think Welker's paltry statline is any real cause for concern. It was his first significant game action since February, and I'm sure he demonstrated just as much rust in practice through the week as he showed on the field Sunday with his awful drop on a pass that spiked him in the facemask. In the long run, he'll be fine. I projected that he'll end up with around 7 catches and 90 yards in this week's Fantasy Forecast, and I'd be surprised if he fell far below either of those benchmarks. If anything, I took his invisibility to be a positive since it showed that the offense can be more diverse in his absence.
Derek: I think Welker's quiet afternoon last Sunday was a combination of two things. First and foremost, I think he's working his way back from some sort of undisclosed injury that hampered him in the preseason. I don't think that Julian Edelman would have seen the level of action he did if Welker was 100%. Secondly, I think all the pass catchers on this team had less productive week than we're accustomed to, simply because Ridley was churning up yards on the ground, which rarely happened in 2011. Overall, I think it's a very positive sign that the Patriots managed to put on a clinic without Welker being heavily involved. For the past 4-5 seasons, the offense has run through Brady and Welker. Last week clearly showed that the Patriots are a well-balanced attack that should be even hard to stop than in years past.
Stephen: Welker's lackluster stats were more a reflection of the Patriots' game plan. This offense runs through its tight ends, and Tennessee didn't exactly stop the Boston TE Party. Coupled with Stevan Ridley's dominance on the ground, the Pats didn't have much need for a short passing game through Welker. If this persists over the next couple weeks, then I'd be worried. But until then, I wouldn't read too much into it.