Just as the Patriots finished their final day of minicamp, news broke that wide receiver Julian Edelman will be suspended four games in 2018 for violating the NFL’s performance enhancing drug policy:
Patriots WR Julian Edelman is facing a four-game suspension for a violation of the league's performance enhancing substances policy, league sources tell @AdamSchefter and me.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) June 7, 2018
The natural reaction to this as a Patriots fan would be to freak out, call the NFL out for targeting the Patriots, cuss up a storm at Edelman screaming how could he do this, then cry into my pillow about how unfair the world is.
But honestly, I’m actually really ok with this. Sure it’s never great getting caught “cheating” (I use quotes around cheating because everyone uses PEDs and Edelman is faaaaaar from the first player to be busted for it), but I’m totally onboard with Edelman missing four games. More time for him to make a full recovery and get into game shape and less time for him to hurt himself before January rolls around. Thanks NFL.
From a fantasy perspective, Edelman is an interesting enigma. He’s never been a top receiver simply because he doesn’t catch a whole lot of touchdowns but he is very useful in PPR leagues as he’s by far Tom Brady’s favorite target. My first suggestion would be to buy low on Edelman. His ADP should drop now that he’s set to miss a quarter of the season but that doesn’t mean he won’t be worth drafting and stashing, especially if you can get him in later rounds. He’s currently going top of the 7th according to Fantasy Football Calculator. If that drops into Round 10 or 11, I’m totally buying.
If you’re looking for players who’ll benefit from this suspension, look no further than Chris Hogan and Jordan Matthews. Hogan has already established himself a touchdown machine in New England and when Edelman was out last year, he quickly became Brady’s go-to-guy in the redzone, catching five touchdowns in a four week span last year.
Reminder that Chris Hogan is the ONLY player in football since the beginning of the 2016 season to record a 4-game streak of 60+ receiving yards AND a receiving TD (Weeks 2-5 in 2017 … a season that feature no Edelman).— Matthew Berry (@MatthewBerryTMR) June 7, 2018
I’ve been aboard the Jordan Matthews hype train since he signed with the Patriots and the Edelman suspension might just be the final coal to get this train moving. Before his injury plagued season in Buffalo, Matthews was turning into a very productive, sometimes dominate, slot receiver in Philadelphia. In his first two years in with the Eagles, he finished WR24 and WR20 in standard leagues. I could easily see him return to that level of production now that he’ll likely be the recipient of more snaps.
Who’d you rather have for the 2018 season?
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