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Rapid React: Welker suspended, hello Latimer, Caldwell

Brad Evans
Roto Arcade

About 48 hours away from the regular season’s opening kickoff and we have our first bombshell of the year.

According to Adam Schefter, slot machine Wes Welker, whose Week 1 status was murky from suffering yet another concussion, was suspended four games for violation of league’s PED policy.

Wowza.

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For those who’ve yet to draft, Welker’s already plummeting value slips into the abyss. According to Fantasy Football Calculator, his ADP, largely due to complications from his latest concussion, had declined a full two rounds over the past seven days, landing in the high 60s. In light of Tuesday’s shocking news, expect him to bottom out in the 100-110 overall range, taking up residence alongside discounted wideouts Anquan Boldin, Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle.

If you’re a suddenly not-so-proud Welker owner in 12-team and deeper leagues, stash him on your bench. Though he's one dome shot away from retirement, the tacky-handed target should slide back into his slot role once activated, making him a strong buy low candidate. The suspension, in a way, is a blessing in disguise.

As for the near-term, Cody Latimer and Andre Caldwell receive substantial value boosts.

The former, a talented rookie from Indiana who made several highlight grabs throughout Broncos training camp and the preseason, possesses the most upside. At 6-foot-2, 215-pounds and blessed with blazing wheels, he’s a prime candidate to work outside opposite Demaryius Thomas.  It’s entirely conceivable, because of his skill set and supreme run-blocking abilities, he forces Emmanuel Sanders into the slot, a position he played in 67 percent of the time two years ago with the Steelers. Previously slated for red-zone only action, it’s no stretch to think he sees 50 percent of the Broncos’ snaps in the opener vs. the Colts. Owned in just 12-percent of Yahoo leagues, the youngster is must-add material and a viable WR3/FLEX option in Week 1 in 12-team leagues. 

Caldwell, meanwhile, is a crafty veteran who has experience working out of the slot within Adam Gase’s system. Last season in the Mile High City, he logged just 143 snaps and 29 targets, but saw action in the Welker role 18.9 percent of the time. His overall scoring potential isn’t in the same vicinity as Latimer’s, but the coaching staff and Peyton Manning may award him first crack given his prior work. Those desperately seeking WR depth in 14-team and deeper leagues should take a flier. 

With Welker out, Sunday Night Football just got even more interesting. 

Want to bull rush Brad? Follow him on Twitter @YahooNoise. Also check out 'The Noise' along with colleagues Andy Behrens and Brandon Funston for another season of 'Fantasy Football Live' every Tuesday-Thursday at 6 PM ET on NBC Sports Network

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