The pass-happy offense of the New England Patriots has benefited slot receiver Julian Edelman the most this season. Already approaching 500 yards receiving on the season, Edelman is on pace for career-high numbers in receptions, yards, and close on targets.
With so many injuries to Patriots’ receiving weapons like Rex Burkhead (foot), Matt LaCosse (knee), Ryan Izzo (concussion), N’Keal Harry (ankle), Phillip Dorsett (hamstring), and Josh Gordon (knee), Edelman has taken over as the Patriots top receiving target.
Though teams know how heavily involved Edelman can be in the Patriots offense, no NFL coach has come up with a foolproof plan to cover “The Squirrel.” Whether he’s throwing the back end of a double pass, running an end-around, or taking off on a deep route downfield, Edelman’s lack of predictability has led to his high-end production.
After nine catches for 113 yards against the New York Giants in Week 6, can Edelman put up similar numbers against a Jets defense that has struggled to defend the pass?
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Edelman Matchup vs Jets
When the team’s last met, Edelman played in just the first half after suffering a rib injury that has still limited him in practice. Despite the shortened playing time, Edelman still racked up seven catches for 62 yards and a touchdown.
Even since that injury, Edelman has shown his toughness by playing in over 90 percent of New England’s offensive snaps over the past three games.
He’s got two straight 100-yard performances, both coming against bottom-5 secondaries in the league. The Jets haven’t been that bad defending against the pass, but still rank in the bottom half of the league allowing 262 yards passing per game. Additionally, 74 percent of the total yards allowed by the Jets have come through the air.
As for Edelman’s last four games at the Jets, he has 19 catches for 275 yards and two touchdown catches. A small sample size, yes, but it shows he has been effective in the past.
Should You Start Edelman vs Jets?
The short answer: 100 percent yes.
As to why, Edelman is still the Patriots’ top receiver despite battling through a painful, lingering injury. While most of the receiving corps around him have gone down hurt and missed time, Edelman has played through it, flourishing in the process.
In his eight career Monday night games, Edelman has only made 24 catches for 236 yards and no touchdowns. That’s right, if he finds paydirt on Monday against the Jets it would be the first time he scores on Monday Night Football.
In late games throughout his career, he has his highest catch percentage of any other time slot, reeling in two-thirds (67.7 percent) of the balls thrown his way. Primetime doesn’t phase Edelman, who thrives under pressure and against adversity.
So yes, ride Edelman this week in fantasy. It could result in good things for the Patriots and your fantasy team in a pivotal Week 7 clash.