After Friday's practice, it can be pretty much assumed that Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker will be active this Sunday night against the Patriots. The status of tight end Julius Thomas is much more in question.
Welker, who suffered a concussion in Week 11, has been cleared to play after passing his final post-concussion tests. He was a full participant during the day's practice. However, Thomas is a game-time decision at best due to his strained knee. He was very limited during practice on Thursday and Friday, and when speaking on Thomas' chances to play this weekend, interim head coach Jack Del Rio could only say, "We'll just have to make a determination."
You can put Welker into your lineup with zero apprehension. The fact that the Patriots have listed four defensive backs as questionable, and the simple revenge factor play in Welker's favor. He is a very solid WR2.
As always when dealing with injured players who play in late games, we hope to gain some clarity on Thomas' situation on or before Sunday morning. My guess is that he will play because he was able to do something on back-to-back days in practice. However, there's no doubt that he'll be operating at less than 100 percent and might lose some snaps to Joel Dreessen, Virgil Green , and/or Jacob Tamme . Thomas' fantasy value is constructed largely out of touchdowns. Broncos should use him in the red zone if they can use him at all. That touchdown potential means Thomas, as an elite option in a weak crop of tight ends, is a must-start if he's active.