The New England Patriots entered the 2013 season with an incredible amount of uncertainty in their passing game. When the dust settled though, Julian Edelman emerged as Tom Brady‘s go-to guy, so much so that he was 10th in the NFL in targets and fourth in receptions. Edelman was an absolute fantasy monster in PPR leagues, and he was 18th among receivers in fantasy points in standard scoring leagues as well. He is extremely effective in the short-passing game, and as Brady has aged, he’s evolved into more of a dink-and-dunk style of quarterback. What should we expect from Edelman this season?
Edelman is clearly Brady’s favorite receiver, and based on last year’s stats, it’s not even close. Edelman was targeted 146 times last year, the receiver with the second most targets was the oft-injured Danny Amendola with 82. Edelman should get a heavy does of targets again this season — I’d be surprised if he doesn’t finish in the top 15 again — which guarantees that at the very least, he should have a decent floor, and it makes him an absolute stud in PPR leagues.
Edelman was a stud in PPR leagues last season, but he was a frustrating player to own in standard scoring leagues. Despite all those receptions, he failed to score double-digit fantasy points in 10 games last season, including four games in which he had at least seven receptions (in Week 2 he had 13 catches but just 78 yards, resulting in a meek seven fantasy points). Out of all the receivers with at least 100 targets last season, Edelman had the fewest yards-per-reception with an average of just 10.1 (the 12th lowest average in the NFL). If Edelman is going to take the next step and become a truly elite fantasy wide receiver, he’s going to have to do more with the ball in his hands and he’s going to have to make bigger plays down the field.
ESPN currently has Edelman ranked as their 24th wide receiver, and that ranking feels just right to me. He would make for a tremendous third wide receiver, he has a safe floor with a lot of potential, but he’s not a guy I’d want to rely on as my second receiver. If you’re playing in a PPR league, Edelman rockets up the ranks and he’s easily a top-15 receiver in that format. I’d take Edelman ahead of guys who don’t have as safe a floor, such as Cordarrelle Patterson and Jeremy Maclin, and I think a case can be made for taking him over guys like Victor Cruz, Wes Welker and T.Y. Hilton.
Bye Week: 10
Projected Round: 7th
Projected Auction Value: $8 (ESPN)