The New England Patriots have already ruled out one of their starters for Saturday’s all-important meeting with the Buffalo Bills.
On Thursday, the Patriots’ final injury report of the week listed cornerback Jonathan Jones as out with a groin injury. Four other Patriots, including Jason McCourty and Julian Edelman, were both listed as questionable.
For Edelman, it’s a distinction he’s carried throughout the season, though he has yet to miss a game. That streak will stay intact on Saturday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The Patriots’ top pass-catcher is expected to play on Saturday and has even been on the mend this week.
Starting with a chest injury in Week 3, Edelman has been banged up with several different ailments throughout the season. He’s currently dealing with shoulder and knee injuries, the latter of which is said to be far more serious than it seems.
In Week 4 against Buffalo, Edelman was limited in his production and blocking because of the chest injury from which he’s recovered. With Edelman in better shape than last week, he could be in line for a big day on Saturday as the Patriots go for their 11th straight AFC East division title.
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Fantasy Impact vs Buffalo
Last week against Pittsburgh, the Bills defense held the host Steelers to 10 points in a primetime game, though it wasn’t as dominant as the score indicated.
Buffalo struggled to contain Pittsburgh’s slot receivers Diontae Johnson and James Washington. The duo combined for 10 catches and 145 receiving yards on the night, exploiting a weakness in Buffalo’s short-pass coverage.
For Edelman, in a vital Week 16 where fantasy championships are on the line, his health and involvement are crucial for both the Patriots and fantasy owners’ success. Edelman had just two catches for nine yards last week in Cincinnati — his lowest output in six years.
In his career against Buffalo, Edelman averages about four catches for 40 yards per game, though he could be a major factor for the Patriots’ passing game against a dangerous Bills’ secondary. Tom Brady may opt to stick with shorter passing options to keep the Bills’ offense off the field and chew up a ton of clock.
Game Status for Saturday vs Buffalo
The veteran receiver is still listed as questionable but is likely preparing to play against Buffalo, meaning fantasy owners should start him too. If New England wins on Saturday, they will lock up the AFC East title and move one step closer to a bye week.
Depending on whether the Patriots have a bye locked up by next Sunday’s regular-season finale, New England could opt to rest Edelman against Miami in Week 17. What is more likely to happen then is Edelman plays a half and is pulled along with Brady with the game in hand.
His production will all depend on how Edelman feels on gameday. But given his competitiveness, it would be no surprise to see him play a major role for New England against the Bills.