2014 Fantasy Football Buy Or Sell: Julian Edelman
In PPR leagues, fantasy players loved owning Julian Edelman– and hated playing against him. The guy had those types of games where you question the legitimacy of PPR leagues as a whole. Seven catches for 44 yards, 13 catches for 78 yards and nine catches for 65 yards, just to name a few. He had so many catches as Tom Brady’s number one option in the passing game, hauling in a spectacular 105 balls, the fourth-best in the NFL. Edelman clearly didn’t make a ton of big plays, but rather made his impact on dinks and dunks. His 95 fantasy points on short throws ranked third among wide receivers last year, while his 656 receiving yards on short throws ranked sixth. So 69 percent of his fantasy points came off short throws, while 62 percent of his yardage came off such throws. There’s no denying how good he was, but he also benefited from some banged up players around him, as well as inexperienced rookies. Oh, and Rob Gronkowski. When Gronk returned to the Patriots lineup, he immediately became Brady’s first love. In the six full games he played, he saw a healthy 10.3 targets, hauling in over six balls per game and scored four times. He was, per usual, incredibly active when on the field, and as a result, Edelman’s numbers took a bit of a hit. Last year, Edelman saw over four fewer looks per game when Gronkowski was on the field, catching almost three fewer passes and scoring three fewer fantasy points per game. And, using the RotoViz Game Splits App, here are Edelman’s numbers alongside Gronk from 2011-13. When the Patriots get into the red zone, they are either going to run the football or throw it to Gronkowski. It’s that simple. Last year, New England ranked second in rushing touchdown percentage (47.2), and over the last three seasons they’ve ranked 9th, 2nd and 16th in rushing attempts per game. Gronkowski, meanwhile, has scored an insane 42 touchdowns in 50 career regular season contests. So Edelman doesn’t really have a high ceiling or floor when it comes to touchdowns. Still, even with Gronkowski on the field, Edelman isn’t just going to disappear. Brady trusts him and the guy just gets open. Meanwhile, Danny Amendola can’t stay on the field and the rest of the wideouts are unproven. Adam Pfeifer is a lead fantasy sports writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.