An increased role on offense got Julian Edelman onto the radar of fantasy football owners earlier this year (while driving owners of Wes Welker crazy), but an injury led to the New England Patriots' wide receiver leaving the lineup and landing right back on the waiver wire.
However, a fantastic game in Sunday's blowout win over the Indianapolis Colts likely has many owners once again glancing at the fourth-year pro, especially given all the wideouts that posted terrible numbers in Week 11.
Edelman hurt the Colts in just about every way imaginable on Sunday, catching five passes for 58 yards and a touchdown, rushing once for 47 yards and scoring on a punt return, but even after his huge outing, it was not scoring on the long run that stood out in Edelman's mind (according to Zuri Berry of The Boston Globe):
"It was unfortunate I didn't get in," said Edelman, who sheepishly tried to downplay the day he had. "But it set us up for a touchdown. We got the touchdown as an offense and it kind of put it away, so that's good."
Edelman's big game was good enough for 20 fantasy points in leagues that award a point for receptions and even more in leagues that score return yardage, and that added to recent news from New England sends Edelman's fantasy value skyrocketing.
With tight end Aaron Hernandez out since Week 7 with a high ankle sprain the Patriots were dealt a crushing blow Sunday, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that star tight end Rob Gronkowski broke his forearm in the win over the Colts and will miss four to six weeks.
That creates a huge void in the New England passing attack that Edelman will no doubt be asked to help fill, all but assures him of a substantial role offensively for the next several weeks, and makes Edelman a top waiver target for teams looking to upgrade at the wide receiver position this week.
After all, every season a player comes out of nowhere to post big fantasy numbers at the most important time of the year, and you never know...
Maybe this year that player is Julian Edelman.