The New England Patriots find themselves at 1-2 for the first time in over a decade, and when the team takes the field Sunday in Buffalo to try to get back on track they'll do so without one of their offensive weapons.
As Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe reports, wide receiver Julian Edelman, who injured his hand in last week's loss to the Baltimore Ravens, will not play against the Bills after not practicing all week.
The fourth-year pro, who has 10 catches for 85 yards and a touchdown so far this season, had seen his playing time increase of late at the expense of veteran Wes Welker, playing time that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels recently told Mike Reiss of ESPN that Edelman earned with his play on the field:
I think we have a lot of guys that can do different things and help us make some plays and move the ball. Julian is certainly one of those guys. He made quite a few plays the other day in the game and really helped us, and came up big, in a couple of those two-minute situations there. He's a guy that gives you everything he's got on every play.
Of course, this is all moot with Edelman now on the shelf, which raises the question of his fantasy value moving forward.
For fantasy owners who already grabbed Edelman off the waiver wire, this represents a pretty sticky situation. It's slightly harder to get accurate injury information out of the Patriots than it is to get blueprints for a nuclear submarine, so it's anyone's guess how the long the 26-year-old might be sidelined.
However, a starting wide receiver for an offense as prolific as the New England Patriots absolutely has fantasy value, especially one who has shown the ability to produce in the past and returns punts to boot. This gives him added value in fantasy leagues that award points for return yardage.
If you've already rolled the dice on Edelman and can afford to, hold for now in the hopes that his hand injury only costs him a game. If Edelman is still on your waiver wire, you have an extra spot, and, if you feel lucky, consider picking him up—although that's an awfully speculative move.
Finally, if you are a Wes Welker owner rejoice.
The reasoning behind his rather baffling reduction in playing time aside, Welker's fantasy football funeral has at the very least been delayed. And so long as Edelman and tight end Aaron Hernandez are out, Welker can be started with confidence, as his eight catches for 142 yards against the Ravens demonstrates.