WR Julian Edelman - New England Patriots
|6-0, 198||Born: 5-22-1986||College: Kent State||Drafted: Round 7|
Week 21: at Atlanta Falcons
Mark and Joe say: Good matchup. Tom Brady has posted a phenomenal set of records during his post-season performances - for example, Brady is the all-time leader in Super Bowl completions (164), passing yards (1,605) and passing touchdowns (13) - but he comes into this Super Bowl with several of his targets ailing - Martellus Bennett (knee, ankle), Malcolm Mitchell (knee), Danny Amendola (ankle) and Chris Hogan (thigh) were all limited during practice Friday, January 27 - keep an eye on how the various receivers progress/don't progress in their recoveries this week. So far during the 2017 playoffs, Brady has thrown 18/38 for 287 yards, two TDs and two interceptions vs. Houston (with two sacks taken for -8 yards and several other hits/pressures), followed by a stong 32/42 for 384 yards passing, three TDs and zero interceptions thrown (with two sacks taken for -10 yards) against the Steelers two weekends ago. He threw to three main targets against the Steelers - Hogan (12 targets for 9/180/2 receiving), Julian Edelman (10 for 8/118/1) and Bennett (five for 5/32/0) - Mitchell (four for 1/5/0) and Amendola (two for 2/12/0) were sparingly employed during the Conference Championship game. Brady has found enough offense to win both games by comfortable margins, and his talents as a quarterback remain formidable. The Falcons' pass defense has averaged 238.0 net passing yards allowed per game, with five passing scores given out vs. three interceptions and five sacks generated during the 2017 post-season. Russell Wilson managed 17/30 for 208 net yards passing, with two TDs and two interceptions thrown at Atlanta in the Divisional round (three sacks taken for -17 yards), while Aaron Rodgers managed 27/45 for 268 net yards passing, three TDs and one interception thrown (with two sacks taken for -19 yards) at Atlanta two weekends ago. Atlanta was ranked 28th in the NFL averaging 266.7 net passing yards allowed per game, with a whopping 31 passing scores given out during regular season (vs. 12 interceptions and 34 sacks generated). Over the final three weeks of regular season, Atlanta averaged 19.8 fantasy points allowed per game to opposing quarterbacks (13th-most in the NFL); 21.8 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (14th-most); and 8.2 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends (17th in the NFL during that time span). The Falcons have played stronger during the post-season in this phase of the game, though, as the 28.7 net passing yards allowed per game drop in their post-season average demonstrates. Brady is one of the all-time best players at his position, and he has a wealth of post-season experience. The Falcons are a young, brash defensive unit that has improved over the course of 2016-17 - but they are still suspect against the league's top talents, as Aaron Rodgers showed us two weekends ago. Advantage, New England.
Recent Stats and Projections
Recent Game Summaries
2016 Week 20 vs PIT (10 / 8 / 118 / 1 rec)
6th on the all-time postseason reception list? Not too bad for the former Kent State quarterback, who once again carved up the Steelers. His touchdown was a simple sit down route in the end zone, as he juked a defender by pretending to cut in once he ran roughly 10 yards on his route. Edelman set the tone for his big day early, turning a ~10 yard gain into 41 yards, as he avoided tackles and waltzed down the sidelines before cutting back up the field for more. With a few chunk gains on the day, Edelman continued to be a hot commodity.
2016 Week 19 vs HOU (13 / 8 / 137 / 0 rec, 1 / 12 / 0 rush)
Julian Edelman manned up against the Texans, making critical catch after catch, especially in the second half. He and Brady repeatedly hooked up on an early drive in the 3rd quarter to help break the game open after the offense struggled throughout the first half. Edelman caught a couple deep balls as well, something he normally doesn't do. He did have a drop, but that can be forgiven given the quality of the rest of his play.
2016 Week 17 vs MIA (13 / 8 / 151 / 1 rec, 1 / 6 / 0 rush)
Setting career highs in the process, Julian Edelman's big day was thanks to a 77 yard catch and run for a touchdown, highlighted by a devastating block from Michael Floyd. Edelman displayed very good straight line speed on the play, something he isn't always known for. Beyond the score, his other 7 catches were his usual gritty, underneath type routes. He did have a drop, but the score probably made up for that.
2016 Week 16 vs NYJ (8 / 5 / 89 / 0 rec)
As usual, Edelman led the way for the Patriots passing attack. There was one missed touchdown connection early in the game, but it ended up not mattering much in the grand scheme of things. The best play of the day for Edelman was more Brady than Edelman, as the quarterback did a 360 in the pocket to avoid a sack, then fired a 28 yard strike to Edelman.
2016 Week 15 vs DEN (12 / 6 / 75 / 0 rec)
Surprise surprise - Edelman saw nearly half the team targets. He caught critical balls, and though the Patriots primarily used the run game to attack the Broncos, Edelman also had the game-sealing play in a way. Tom Brady missed Edelman on a 4th down pass to ice the game, but the Broncos' TJ Ward, known for being a dirty player, put a late suplex on Edelman for no reason and got called for a personal foul penalty. The result was a first down, game over. Edelman's chippiness likely contributed to Ward going overboard. Edelman will continue to be a target hog going forward.
2016 Week 14 vs BAL (15 / 7 / 73 / 0 rec)
It was almost a tale of two games for Edelman. On one hand, he had a terrible first half, marred by drops and a bad route that drew the ire of Tom Brady like you seldom see. He settled down as the game went on, operating as the typical chain mover and short slot route receiver. Clearly Brady's favorite target, Edelman will be integral to the Patriots season going forward.
2016 Week 13 vs LA (12 / 8 / 101 / 0 rec)
Operating as the go-to with Gronk out for the season, Edelman was Brady's preferred target, catching balls short and long. His highlight play was a jumping deep gain for 32 yards. It was more of the same for Edelman in terms of routes and formations, and he will be a high volume target funnel going forward.
2016 Week 12 vs NYJ (11 / 8 / 83 / 0 rec)
Edelman is finding his groove again, as he has finally strung together multiple games with a high catch count. With Gronk exiting with an injury, Edelman took over as the top passing game option, often moving the chains and coming up with key catches to extend drives. Edelman's two biggest plays of the game came on the Patriots' game winning drive, as both were first down conversions, including a 24 yard catch and run. Depending on Gronk's injury, Edelman may be called upon for similar workloads going forward.
2016 Week 11 vs SF (17 / 8 / 77 / 1 rec, 2 / 12 / 0 rush)
Edelman dominated the New England targets in a rain-soaked game against San Francisco in Week 11. Edelman exceled after the catch, breaking tackles on two second half receptions for additional yardage. Tom Brady's pinpoint accuracy fueled Edelman's third down touchdown reception on the goal line for an opening drive score. Edelman's lone deep opportunity came as Edelman broke open down the sideline and one of Brady's few inaccurate deliveries took place. Edelman's 17 targets were by far a season high (previously 10) and he found the end zone for just the second time all season. Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan both missed the game and with Dion Lewis returning to the lineup, expect Edelman's target ceiling to regress back to earth in future weeks.
2016 Week 10 vs SEA (9 / 7 / 99 / 0 rec)
Though he didn't score, Edelman had a fairly productive day outside of one backbreaking error. Edelman fumbled after a reception to give the Seahawks the ball on a play where he likely shouldn't have been fighting for extra yards. In fact, from the time he made contact with a defender to the time the ball was stripped, he didn't gain any extra yardage. The Seahawks went on to score on the next few plays. Edelman seems to be finding his groove with Brady, but will need to ensure sometimes he just goes to the ground instead of fighting for yards he doesn't have.
2016 Week 8 vs BUF (8 / 4 / 37 / 1 rec, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
Though the ball was once again spread around, Edelman finally got his first touchdown of the season. Tom Brady threw a short pass to Edelman, who created yards after catch and dove into the end zone for a narrow score. It was a great effort play, something Edelman is known for. Edelman also had a 45 yard pass play taken away after a holding call on the offensive line. It's clear Edelman won't have huge games like he did last year with the Patriots in balance.
2016 Week 7 vs PIT (10 / 9 / 60 / 0 rec)
Edelman had an up and down day at the office, running free on several short routes but committing a couple of severe errors. His first error was a fumble on a punt return that probably wouldn't have happened had he held the ball as he normally does. He also dropped a huge 3rd down pass from Tom Brady with green in front of him on a short cross. As has been the case this season, most of his catches were near the line of scrimmage, but none of them went for a touchdown or were converted for a long gain, something we have seen in years past.
2016 Week 6 vs CIN (7 / 4 / 30 / 0 rec, 1 / 8 / 0 rush)
With James White and Gronk dominating targets for the most part, Edelman once again had a quiet game. Tom Brady narrowly missed him on an end zone route, but other than that, Edelman did not have any notable plays to speak of. He should have bigger days with more volume going forward, but it's clear he won't be the double digit target machine he has been at times given the wealth of weapons the Patriots have.
2016 Week 5 vs CLE (10 / 5 / 35 / 0 rec)
With Tom Brady spreading the ball around liberally, Edelman didn't have a huge day. In fact, his best play was probably taking out 3 defenders at once with a cut block on James White's long screen. He did have a drop with space in front of him, but other than that, his catches were short ones that occasionally moved the chains.
2016 Week 4 vs BUF (4 / 1 / 16 / 0 rec, 1 / 1 / 0 rush)
With the offense sputtering, Julian Edelman only caught one of a handful of targets. He also had 1 designed run out of the Wildcat formation, and handed off the ball once in the same formation. Perhaps the biggest missed opportunity was a 90 yard touchdown called back by an offensive penalty. Edelman will immediately regain his former status with Tom Brady coming back in Week 5.
2016 Week 3 vs HOU (6 / 4 / 38 / 0 rec, 3 / 14 / 0 rush)
Amidst speculation the Patriots could run some Wildcat packages with Edelman, they did nothing of the sort. Instead, Edelman was involved, but didn't get big production, as his number was called on a few sweeps and short passes. He didn't have any huge gains, though he did drop a diving touchdown grab in the end zone. Unless the Patriots go down big next week, he may again have a smaller ceiling with Brissett at the controls.
2016 Week 2 vs MIA (10 / 7 / 76 / 0 rec)
Edelman was involved early, catching his usual complement of short and some intermediate passes. He was showing good rapport with Jimmy Garoppolo prior to Jimmy G's injury, but with Jacoby Brissett likely playing, his production is a question mark in the short term.
2016 Week 1 vs ARI (7 / 7 / 66 / 0 rec, 3 / 16 / 0 rush)
Edelman had a hot start to the game, as he caught 5 passes in the first half and several on the first couple drives. Nothing he did was different from last season, as he caught passes and generally ran into defenders with reckless abandon. He didn't have any huge plays or huge errors, but did play the most snaps of any Patriots wide receiver.
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