On The Clock: Johnson vs. White vs. Welker

On The Clock: Johnson vs. White vs. Welker

Fantasy Football Expert Ryan Foley takes a high-stakes approach to ScoutFantasy's exclusive ON THE CLOCK series. In this piece, he weighs the benefits and consequences of selecting one of these aging veterans: Andre Johnson, Roddy White and Wes Welker.

Are you a high-stakes player? Not of all us can be. But with FFToolbox’s nifty high-stakes average draft position report, we can see decisions made in live drafts from some of the most brilliant and high-rolling fantasy football players in the world. It’s a great sneak peek into high-pressure drafts in which every pick will be scrutinized for months to come, and thousands of dollars in prizes potentially hinge on each decision. Looking over this data, I’ve found a very interesting conundrum about three players being drafted late in the second round: Atlanta’s Roddy White, Houston’s Andre Johnson, or Denver’s Wes Welker. Which one do you go with? Who has the highest upside? Who can help you win a championship?

These three player ADPs being very close together is quite remarkable given their similarities. All three are old by NFL standards, and each has some lingering issue. Consider the following chart for comparison:

Yrs. Exp.
Roddy White
Age & 2013 Injuries
Andre Johnson
Age & Contract extension
Wes Welker
Age & 2013 Concussions

Wes Welker

“Welker isn’t the fastest guy.” I get it.
“He’s only 5-foot-9 and 185 pounds soaking wet.” I get it.
“He suffered two concussions and missed missing three games in 2013, and he should not be playing anymore!” There are many red flags with Welker.

The tiny slot man has never been your typical NFL wideout. But he can put up a massive amount of fantasy points for your squad in 2014. It certainly helps that he is a major part of an offense that dominated the league last year.

The concussions have some worried about Welker, but recent history will tell you all you need to know: Prior to 2013, Welker missed just one game through the previous three seasons. During that time, he averaged 108 receptions, 1,257 receiving yards and seven touchdowns per year. Furthermore, prior to his Week 14 concussion, Welker was the second-highest-scoring fantasy WR in point-per-receptions leagues, behind only Calvin Johnson. He has the potential to put up similar numbers, with top-five WR upside if he stays healthy in Peyton Manning’s offense.

Roddy White

White has been the Falcons’ best wide receiver for almost a decade. He, like Welker, was felled by injury last season, missing multiple games due to hamstring, knee, and ankle problems. Although he is 32, those injuries can be viewed as anomalies for now. After all, White didn’t miss a single game during his nine-year career before 2013. White averaged 102 catches, 1,345 yards, and eight touchdowns from 2010-12. The best part is he should put up similar numbers this year. He was rewarded in the offseason with a four-year contract extension worth $30 million dollars. So, White is locked into the same offense he has been so productive in through 2017.

Andre Johnson

Johnson ties into this group well – a mid-30s veteran who is seen as a go-to option in his offense with a history of injuries. We all know Johnson has been “the guy” in Houston for a very long time, and he has stuck with them through thick and thin since 2003. That changed this offseason when the Texans brought in Ryan Fitzpatrick to be their starting quarterback. Johnson didn’t want to go through another rebuilding phase in Houston, so he skipped spring practices and threatened to hold out of training camp. He also reportedly demanded a trade to a more competitive team. However, Johnson has since reported to camp and should be good to go. Over the past two years, he averaged 110 receptions, 1,502 yards, and about five touchdowns, proving he still has the skills to be a fantasy WR1.

From L to R: Andre Johnson, Roddy White & Wes Welker


So, if you are a high-stakes player, who are you choosing? You can leave your decision in the comments or discuss it in our forums.

You probably can’t go wrong with any of the three, but I don’t see myself taking Johnson. He’ll be the Texans’ first option in the passing game, but Ryan Fitzpatrick just isn’t a quality starting QB. He’ll have good weeks mixed in with several disappointing weeks. There is a reason he has moved around the league, leaving the Rams, Bengals, Bills, and most recently being cut by the Titans.

I’m going with Welker. Eric Decker is now in New York, and Emmanuel Sanders has been brought in to replace him ostensibly. But I don’t think Sanders will completely fill Decker‘s role. I fully expect Welker to eat up some of Decker’s targets, receiving yards, and TDs It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Welker will score 10 TDs again. It’s a tough decision between him and White, but I’ll sometimes take on a higher-risk player for greater possible reward. Take White or Johnson if you want a safer option, but Welker is sure to put up elite numbers if he stays on the field.

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