Every year going into fantasy football drafts people are excited about the incoming rookies or other young players getting a chance in a larger role. Fantasy football buffs are excited by upside and seek the thrill of chasing the unknown that could help win a fantasy league…if they beat the odds and pan out. Yet every year proven veteran performers drop a few rounds lower than they should. This series will highlight the veterans I expect to outperform their draft position and provide great value.
Edelman is the Perfect Mid-Round Target
The New England passing offense is going to run through Gronk and Julian Edelman in 2018. Edelman just turned 32 and that scares people, those fears currently have Edelman going in the 5th round as the 24th WR off the board in PPR leagues. If you are telling me I can fill my starting RB and WR spots and then add Edelman as flex, sign me up every time. Since 2013 Edelman has averaged 9.7 targets per game played and has a target share of 25.5% in the games he played. In that time his worst numbers for a season were 9.4 targets a game and a 23.4% target share. Jordan Matthews is not going to be a target monster in 2018, making him little threat to take Edelman’s role in the slot, there is no reason to doubt his role in the offense.
The Volume is Finally There for Edelman
It is also easy to see where the targets will come from. In 2018 Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola were targets 114 and 86 times respectively. That is 200 WR targets that need to be replaced and Edelman is the most obvious candidate for the majority of these. Cooks had a catch rate of 57% on those targets, for his career Edelman is at 66.3%. Cooks is a player that will make big plays and have a higher yards per catch, but the numbers show that Tom Brady trusts Edelman. Having the trust of one of greatest QBs of all time and a superior catch rate adds to Edelman’s value in PPR leagues. If the fantasy community does not wake up and his ADP stays where it is I will happily draft him on plenty on any of my teams.
There are some that will be concerned about Edelman returning from tearing his ACL. However a player recovering from this injury and getting back to what they were before has become much more certain over the years. The tear happened before the season so by the time the first game starts it will have been a full season since the injury. The Patriots not retaining Amendola and trading away Cooks shows the confidence they have in Edelman for 2018. If Bill Belichick believes relying on Edelman is the right choice, who are we to doubt him?