Currently Julian Edelman is selected as WR18 in MFL10 drafts, while that’s seems reasonable – I’ll explain why he’s being drafted at his floor.

The Patriots Offense

The Patriots have run a similar offense since the emergence of Tom Brady. Although the offensive coordinators have changed, they love targeting slot receivers on crossing patterns over the middle. First that was Troy Brown, then Wes Welker, and now Julian Edelman. It’s a role that has provided a lot of value in PPR leagues.

Let’s take a look at how Welker and Edelman performed in that role.

2014Julian Edelman14134929724213.2
2013Julian Edelman1615110510566246.6
2012Wes Welker1617411813546289.4
2011Wes Welker1617312215699332.9
2010Wes Welker15123868487212.8
2009Wes Welker1416212313484281.8
2008Wes Welker1614911111653245.5
2007Wes Welker1614511211758277.5

The lowest amount of targets either player received in this role is 123. The average season received 151.4 targets. It does, however, seem that Welker was better in this role than Edelman. Let’s take a look at their efficiency.

2014Julian Edelman9.577.250.6870.03015.2317
2013Julian Edelman9.446.990.6950.04015.4114
2012Wes Welker10.887.780.6780.03418.097
2011Wes Welker10.819.070.7050.05220.812
2010Wes Welker8.206.890.6990.05714.1918
2009Wes Welker11.578.320.7590.02520.134
2008Wes Welker9.317.820.7450.02015.3410
2007Wes Welker9.068.100.7720.05517.3410

While Edelman is being drafted as WR18, this role has only finished as WR18 once. It hasn’t produced a below WR18 finish in the last eight years. With an average finish of WR10, Edelman looks like a pretty good bet to outperform in draft position.

Let’s compare Welker and Edelman’s average seasons.

Edelman Average15142.598.510145229.9
Welker Average15.5154.31121243.26.17273.3

Here are their efficiency and per game averages.

Edelman Average9.507.120.6910.03515.3315.5
Welker Average9.968.060.7260.04017.638.5

Welker saw almost a half target more per game and averaged almost one more yard per target. This could be due to the other offensive weapons on the team (Randy Moss and Aaron Hernandez) or it could be due to Welker being a better player.

Welker caught a higher percentage of his targets and had a higher touchdown rate. Welker averaged 2.31 more fantasy points per game. This led to an average finish of WR8/9.

In Summary

While the Patriots offense may have been more potent during Welker’s seasons with the team, Welker may have also been a superior player. Either way, the targets remain there for Edelman, which gives him a very high floor.

If he can be a little more efficient, Edelman has the potential for a WR1 season while seeing this many targets. Finishing as WR17 with two missed games in 2014, Edelman is currently being drafted at his floor.