Who is Julian Edelman you ask? He is apparently the best impersonator of Wes Welker the Patriots can muster. Yesterday the rookie strolled in, with Wes Welker inactive due to a knee injury, lined up in the slot and was targeted 16 times, finishing with 8 catches for 98 yards, not bad for a rookie. Sound familiar? Yeah, thats what Welker does game in and game out.
Does he have lasting Fantasy relevance? Obviously, the first question is how long will Welker be out? Its likely the Patriots won't try to employ both consistently, meaning Edelman is probably only going to be a great source for Fantasy points when Welker is hurt. Since the Patriots are notoriously mum on injury issues, the dreaded wait 'n see approach is the only one we can take. However, if Edelman does crack the lineup, now we know he is about as close to an interchangeable Fantasy part as you can get.
The interesting bit is how physically similar Edelman and Welker are. Edelman is 6'0 / 198, Welker is 5'9' / 185. Edelman was drafted in the seventh round and Welker was not drafted at all.
Both of these players have phenomenal versatility. Edelman played QB at Kent State and led the Golden Flashes in passing and rushing his senior year, breaking the single season record for total offense formerly held by Joshua Cribbs. He also punted four times and played some safety. Welker's history is worthy of a movie, having been proficient at virtually every conceivable football position since his high school days.
Although I find all that stuff fascinating, it won't score you any more Fantasy points. Still, it goes without saying now that we have seen Julian once, you'd be foolish not to at least put him on your watch list. If you own Welker, consider adding him now for insurance if you have the roster space.
This article also appears on FantasyFootball.com