Fans hate the preseason, except for week three when the teams have their “dress rehearsal” game and play their starters for a solid chunk of the game. While fans love seeing the starters play, week three makes fantasy owners cringe. With the starters playing in a meaningless game, they are put at risk for injury with no real return. This year, week three was painful for several fantasy owners as Julian Edelman, Spencer Ware and Cameron Meredith all got hurt and are out for the season. Obviously those players have no fantasy value this season and now their teammates’ values has changed.
🙏🙏🙏 Pats WR Julian Edelman tore his ACL on this play last night pic.twitter.com/khPyJPaQmm
— Fanatics View (@thefanaticsview) August 26, 2017
In the first quarter of Friday’s preseason game, Julian Edelman suffered a non-contact injury to his right knee. It was later discovered that Edelman had suffered a full tear to the ACL in his right knee. Obviously a devastating blow to the Patriots, a team primed for consecutive Super Bowl rings. However, the Patriots aren’t slim when it comes to offensive weapons, particularly in the passing game. How does Edelman’s injury shake things up in New England?
With Edelman done for the season, Cooks will now see an increase in targets and catches. Before the injury Cooks was a high-end WR2, but now is a low-end WR1 for me; he is currently ranked as WR11 for me. Last season Cooks had 78 catches in New Orleans and I expected similar numbers this season, but now Cooks should have about 95 catches this year. <blockquoteclass=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”>
— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) August 28, 2017
Unless you’re in a deep 14 or more team league, Hogan wasn’t a guy fantasy owners were drafting. Now Hogan becomes a WR5 and should be drafted in most 12 team leagues in the last few rounds. Hogan averaged a league high 17.9 yards per catch last season and with Cooks more likely to take on some of Edelman’s routes, Hogan could average similar yards per catch again this season. Hogan is now ranked as WR57 for me and should have sneaky good value in daily fantasy matchups.
Last season through weeks 9-12, Mitchell averaged 66 yards per game and had four touchdowns; giving him an average of 12.6 fantasy points per game (FPPG) in standard scoring. While I don’t think he will average that many FPPG this season, Mitchell gets the biggest boost for me with Edelman out. Mitchell went from off my board to WR59 and could have a bigger impact if he can push Hogan for snaps. The Patriots used 3-WR sets 47% of the time last season. If Mitchell can cement himself as the team’s new number three receiver, he could be a wavier wire gem this season. Either draft Mitchell as a WR5 or make sure to put him on your watch list after the draft.
Before the injury, Amendola was on the roster bubble, but now his roster spot should be safe. Amendola fits a slot role similar to Edelman and many will believe he is first in line for Edelman’s slot snaps. However, Amendola is injury prone, he has missed 10 games in four years in New England including four last season. Edelman also has an underrated knack for getting in the endzone. Over the last four seasons, Edelman has 20 touchdowns while Amendola has only 10. Last season Amendola struggled and had only 23 catches on 29 targets. In deeper PPR leagues Amendola is worth a late round flier, but I wouldn’t expect much from him this season.
There isn’t much room for Gronkowski’s value to increase as he is already the consensuses TE1. However, with Edelman out for the year, Gronkowski will need to take on a few more targets per game now. Assuming Gronkowski can stay healthy, a big if, he could return to double-digit touchdowns this season and 1,200 yards. With a few more targets, Gronkowski’s value takes a slight bump up, but overall Gronkowski is still, well Gronk.
RELATED: Who is TE2 Behind Gronk?
The loss of his good friend and security blanket hurts Brady’s value some, but not enough for me to move him down from his QB2 spot. The Patriots have plenty of weapons left on offense, so many that other quarterbacks would kill to get Brady’s receiving core, even minus Edelman. Brady should remain the QB2 for fantasy owners.
For the Patriots they will miss Edelman, but they have the depth and coaching staff to still be a dangerous offense and team without him. For fantasy owners who already drafted, losing Edelman obviously hurts. For fantasy owners who haven’t draft yet, the Patriots’ offense is a strong option if you are looking for a potential sleeper receiver. The Patriots will be fine without Edelman and fantasy owners will be too as long as they don’t overvalue the receivers behind Cooks.