The defending Super Bowl champions were dealt a difficult blow when wide receiver Julian Edelman suffered a torn ACL in Friday's preseason game against the Detroit Lions, but it could lead to even more fantasy production from Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan.
Fortunately for the Patriots, they still have Cooks and Hogan as other targets. Here is a look at how the setback will impact their fantasy value, with Hogan's receiving more of a boost than Cook's.
Whether fantasy football players considered Edelman or Cooks the true No. 1 receiver in New England is up for debate, but Cooks was set to hold a significant role in the offense whether his counterpart was on the field or not.
New England didn't add him this past offseason to serve as a decoy, especially after he tallied a career-high 1,173 receiving yards last season and 1,138 receiving yards in 2015 while playing for the New Orleans Saints. He also hauled in a combined 17 touchdowns the last two years as a fantasy weapon.
While the absence of Edelman could lead to more double-teams throughout a given game for Cooks, tight end Rob Gronkowski is still there to absorb much of the opposing defense's attention.
Cooks was a must-start in fantasy circles entering the 2017 campaign as he teamed with arguably the best quarterback in league history in Tom Brady, and Edelman's injury doesn't change that.
While Cooks may face more double-teams, Hogan likely doesn't have to worry about that even without Edelman given the other weapons around him. Edelman's targets also have to go elsewhere, and Hogan is in prime position to be on the receiving end of many of those.
He broke through last season with a career-high 680 receiving yards and four touchdown catches, and he hauled in nine catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns in a postseason victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Hogan figured to see an increase in production in 2017 after last year's showing, but the addition of Cooks moved him down the depth chart and made him more of a risky endeavor for fantasy players.
Edelman's injury will move him right back up the depth chart, which means Hogan is worth an addition—especially if he is still somehow available on the waiver wire in a given league.