New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman has been suspended 4 games for allegedly using PEDs (performance enhancing drugs). How will it effect his draft and fantasy stock? How will this effect Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and the other wide receiver corps fantasy status? There are many ways to look at this- for starters you could look at this as an extension of his year long injury from last year and treat it as a continuation that goes four more games. Remember, he will likely be back in action in week 5. A second strategy could be to draft him like he was Le’Veon Bell in 2016 or Ezekiel Elliot last year, who both served suspensions. You could still draft him but make sure you are patient in your drafts. Another way is to draft him but draft another Patriots receiver to team up with him, filling that four week break. Those options are Chris Hogan (current ADP 6.10) , Malcolm Mitchell (Undrafted), and Jordan Matthews (Undrafted). Alternatively, you could just head in the draft knowing you aren’t going to select him and take advantage of other players going around his current ADP such as Pierre Garcon, Corey Davis or Will Fuller.
I am personally still drafting Edelman any time after the seventh round. I still value him mainly because he is Brady’s number one target as a receiver. Edelman should jump right back into his starting role and not miss a beat come week 5. When he last played a full season back in 2016, he had 98 receptions, 1,106, and 3 TDs. So that would hypothetically translate to 65 receptions for 900 yards and 2 TDs over 14 games. I will take that for a third wide receiver at the flex position where Edelman will still be a great draft pick for you.
But let’s say you don’t want to “waste” a pick on someone who is missing the first four games. What are opinions? Chris Hogan will be your best bet to come in those first four games and take control as the number one receiver. I believe Brady has better chemistry with Hogan than any other receiver. In the two years he has been with the patriots, he has had 72 receptions, 1,119 yards and 9 TDs, with a 61.6% catch rate average. When news broke about the suspension broke, Hogan was going in the middle of the seventh round in drafts. I think his stock will continue to rise due to hype and everyone seeing his upside of being the go to wide receiver. If the seventh round is too much for you, you can go deeper and get Malcolm Mitchell. But I honestly think with Mitchell’s inconsistency, he would only be worthy of a late round flier pick with or without Edelman’s suspension.
Now, the biggest beneficiary at the receiver position is newly acquired Jordan Matthews. At first I didn’t think he would be worth anything on this team. It usually takes a year to get use to a new system so moving right into the starting lineup would be hard, especially with Edelman lining up in his preferred slot role. But now it looks like Matthews will be walking into this line up to prove himself to Brady. His draft stock should be skyrocketing now. I can’t imagine he was even being drafted in any type of league maybe best ball before this news broke. But now being in a four game prove it scenario with arguably the GOAT throwing his way, a pick in 12th round or later in redraft formats wouldn’t be a bad idea at all.
If he comes out of those four games with a stat line of 20 catches, 400 yards, and 4 TDs or something similar; you will be well on the road to your playoffs. If he proves himself a reliable option in your fantasy line-ups, he could be some very tasty trade bait when week 4 comes around and will likely be a high sell now candidate as it’s likely once Edelman comes back, Matthews numbers could drop off significantly.
Don’t worry about Gronkowski’s or Brady’s fantasy production. They will still get get it done and produce the numbers for your fantasy teams. Brady had done more with less and if Gronk stays healthy, he will be back to doing ‘Gronk things’. Both draft values should stay the same.
In conclusion- Edelman will be back ready to go week 5. His numbers will be fine and if you take him around rounds 6-8 you will be way ahead of the game and will have a great run to the playoffs. Stay the course and don’t not sweat the four games. Still draft Hogan but don’t reach too high and stay away from Mitchell. Take a free shot on Matthew’s late on in drafts but be preapred to sell high after week 3.
By Tyler Belawske – @TylerBelawske
*THE FANTASY FOOTBALLERS ULTIMATE DRAFT KIT* is now available and guess what? We here at Across The Fantasy Pond are proud to be one of their affiliates. That means we can get you DISCOUNT!!! and use the coupon code POND to receive 10% off your purchase. All you have to do is follow this link >> https://www.thefantasyfootballers.com/fantasy-football-draft-kit/?udk=robgrimwood&campaign=ATFP and use the coupon code POND to receive 10% off your purchase