Julian Edelman Fantasy: Is Patriots WR a Start or Sit in Week 1

Julian Edelman


Julian Edelman has become Tom Brady’s favorite receiver over the last few seasons. Among New England Patriots‘ wide receivers last year, Edelman led the pack with 108 targets, 74 receptions, and 850 yards in only 12 games.

With a Super Bowl MVP in toe, Edelman is aiming to pick up right where he left off last season. But will he be able to replicate that production from the start?

Edelman was limited this preseason because of an offseason thumb injury that delayed his return to practice. Once healthy, Edelman appeared in just one preseason game — the finale against the New York Giants where he had just one catch before tweaking his thumb again.

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Though it appears Edelman is fully healthy for Week 1 against the Steelers, there are still some concerns that linger.

Edelman’s Fantasy Outlook vs. Pittsburgh

The Patriots really boosted their receiving corps with Josh Gordon’s reinstatement, Demaryius Thomas’ acquisition, and drafting both N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers. While Harry is out and Thomas’ status for Sunday is up in the air, there’s still plenty of options for Brady.

Edelman is his top target in the slot and is consistently open over the middle. His ability to find openings in opposing defenses as well as make difficult catches under pressure makes Edelman one of the premier pass-catchers in the NFL.

But with so many receivers and the Patriots’ heavy use of its check-downs like James White or Rex Burkhead, it might be tough for Edelman to see consistent touches.

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In his past three games against the Steelers in the regular season, Edelman has been targeted at least 10 times. That includes seven catches on 11 targets last season for 90 yards. He also played 94 percent of the offensive snaps, according to Football Outsider.

In the 2015 season opener, Edelman had his best career game against Pittsburgh with 11 grabs and 97 yards and another nine yards on the ground.

However, he has never scored a touchdown against Pittsburgh, something to keep in mind despite his high yardage totals.

Should You Start or Sit Edelman in Week 1?

There’s no question whether Edelman will get a lot of snaps as he’s routinely on the field for 80-90 percent of the Patriots offensive plays.

The real question is over the number of touches he will see. But as a slot receiver in the Patriots’ offense, that number is usually elevated.

If you’re in a PPR league, getting Edelman into your starting lineup is a must for Sunday night. He’ll likely be around 10 catches barring any injury and his yardage total could be over 75 depending on his yards after the catch.

A non-PPR league is a little different. Is starting Edelman worth risking his 7.5-12.5 points for another receiver or tight end who could put up larger numbers? In that regard, it depends who you have on your roster, but still slotting Edelman into the flex spot would be a wise move.

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