The New England Patriots assigned the franchise tag to wide receiver Wes Welker prior to Monday's deadline. While both sides are still working toward completing a long-term deal, Welker would stand to make about $9.4 million next season if he plays under the tag. He finished behind only Calvin Johnson in receiving yards last season (1,569) and registered a career-high nine touchdown catches. Welker has topped 1,100 yards in four of his five years with the Patriots.
Everyone seems to think that the two sides will find their happy medium before long. Welker turns 31 years old in a couple of months, but he's still a fantasy beast, especially in point-per-reception leagues. He's topped 100 receptions in four of the past five seasons and put up 122 last season. Nothing should change for the foreseeable future as long as both he and Tom Brady stay healthy. Regardless of format, Welker is a top-five fantasy WR heading into the 2012 season.