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He had three catches for 52 yards on New England's opening drive, but his final yard might have been costly. Edelman hurt his right knee when he planted his foot in the turf, and he went down immediately.
He clutched the back of his knee and was eventually carted off, and the initial report isn't good. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Friday night that Edelman suffered a torn ACL. Schefter reports that Edelman will have a MRI on Saturday to determine the full extent of his injury, but Fantasy owners probably know where this is headed. It's likely Edelman's season is over.
While we Patriots offense (Brandin Cooks and Dwayne Allen, to go with a now-healthy Rob Gronkowski), he was still a No. 3 Fantasy receiver at worst in standard leagues. And he was a low-end starting option in PPR.this season given his ADP (No. 22 receiver at No. 60 overall) and the new additions in the
Last year, Edelman was the No. 23 Fantasy receiver in standard leagues with 98 catches, 1,106 yards and three touchdowns on 159 targets. Most teams would struggle to replace that kind of production, but the Patriots certainly have plenty of candidates to fill the void. And you know Tom Brady loves to spread the ball around.
Gronkowski (Round 2) and Allen (late-round flier) won't see their value change much, but this injury will help Cooks. He is now the No. 1 option for the Patriots without question, and he should see an increase in short-area targets.
If the report is accurate that Edelman is out, you should target Cooks toward the end of Round 2 in all leagues. He is worth drafting as a top-10 Fantasy receiver now, and I will rank him as high as the No. 9 receiver off the board behind Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham, A.J. Green, Mike Evans, Jordy Nelson, Michael Thomas and Dez Bryant.
Last year in New Orleans, Cooks was the No. 9 Fantasy receiver in standard leagues with 78 catches, 1,173 yards and eight touchdowns on 117 targets. Those stats are within reach to repeat with Edelman out.
Hogan had several good moments for the Patriots last year, finishing the season with 38 catches for 680 yards and four touchdowns on 57 targets -- and that isn't counting 17 catches for 332 yards and two scores in three playoff games. He is now a sleeper to consider in all leagues, and I would target him as a No. 4 Fantasy receiver in Round 10.
Danny Amendola will also see a boost in value, and he could see plenty of snaps in the slot with Edelman missing. He'll help the Patriots in real-life football, but his Fantasy value should be limited to deeper leagues given his inconsistent level of play.
Edelman's injury shouldn't downgrade Brady at all. He's the No. 2 quarterback coming off the board behind Aaron Rodgers, and he should stay in that spot. With Gronkowski and Cooks, as well as quality second-tier receivers led by Hogan, Brady will still produce at a high level. He's a solid Round 3 pick in standard leagues and Round 4 in PPR.
It's a tough loss if Edelman's season is over. But Cooks and Hogan should benefit, and hopefully Brady won't suffer with one of his favorite targets no longer on the field.