Hernandez out until October, good news for Welker
This is a tough blow to the Patriots, who had big plans for their most versatile offensive player, Hernandez. Two of the Patriots most reputable beat writers suggested that Hernandez was Brady's favorite player to throw to all offseason, and now Brady will be without him for at least a couple of weeks. While one may think that it's not a huge deal because the Patriots still have Rob Gronkowski at tight end, that is not the case at all. The Patriots use two tight ends on almost every play throughout the game, the same way the Giants almost always have Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz out on the field together. Hernandez, one of the faster and quicker tight ends in the league, is also perfectly capable of splitting out wide to run routes. They may be tight ends, but they're the number one and two receiving options in New England, and it's a tough blow to lose either of them for any amount of time.
With Hernandez out, the Patriots will now use three wide receiver sets much more frequently. This is great news for Wes Welker, who has been demoted to the Patriots' number three receiver, under Julian Edelman. Welker played in 2 of 15 snaps when the offense featured only two wide receivers, but with Hernandez out, the Patriots will find it much more difficult to produce in two-wide sets.
Welker started looking more like the Welker of old after Hernandez left the game, catching five passes to lead the team in receiving with 95 yards. He had the second most targets on the team with 11, so it looks as though Brady is ready to start looking to him the same way he has in the past.
For Welker's fantasy owners who were nervous about the first six quarters that Welker played, you should start seeing the guy you thought you drafted on the field in Week 3. Welker's numbers will benefit a lot from the absence of Hernandez, and it's not a bad idea to try to sell high on Welker when you hear Hernandez is set to return.