When the calendar turns to January, Tom Brady keys in on Julian Edelman, plain and simple. In fact, you have to go back to 2013 to find a playoff game that Edelman and Brady have played in together in which he saw fewer than 10 targets–and in that game he saw nine targets. So far this postseason Edelman has abused the Chargers and Chiefs to the tune of 16 catches for 246 yards on 23 targets, and Brady simply isn’t going to stop leaning on Edelman regardless of what kind of attention the Rams talented secondary pays him. With that kind of volume guaranteed, you can’t afford to not roster Julian Edelman for any kind of daily fantasy sports format or playoff pool–he’s going to be on everyone else’s roster and you can’t fall behind.
Go With Goff Once More
Jared Goff stepped up with almost 300 passing yards against the Saints in the NFC Championship Game, and he could be ticketed for that number once again in the Super Bowl. He’ll stare down a New England secondary that ranked 22nd in the NFL during the regular season, and they’ve been gashed similarly in the postseason. Philip Rivers tossed for 331 yards and three scores in the Divisional Round, and Patrick Mahomes posted 352 yards and four touchdowns. The Rams may try to control the clock and keep the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands, but no matter how the game unfolds Goff will need to throw to keep pace with the high-efficiency Patriots offense. Plan on Goff approaching that 300 yard mark and I feel confident in at least two passing touchdowns as well.
Ghost of Gronk
It’s pretty apparent to anybody with eyes that Rob Gronkowski is on his last legs in pro football. The ultra-strong, ultra-agile tight end can barely get off the line, he’s forcing almost no separation down the field, and running looks like a chore. He and Brady are connected on another level, so don’t be shocked if the future Hall-of-Famers connect down the field in a big spot somewhere in the game, but the counting stats simply aren’t going to be there. The Patriots run-pass split is as balanced as it’s ever been, and Gronkowski is far from Brady’s top option near the end zone these days. Avoid Gronkowski and avoid disappointment in the big game.
NFL Sleepers of the Week
Gerald Everett, TE, Los Angeles Rams – Once again, Everett could be a difference-maker around the red zone. The big-bodied tight end likely won’t have more than three or four catches, but he has a good shot at one of them coming in the end zone.
Phillip Dorsett, WR, New England Patriots – Dorsett will only return value if he scores a TD, but that’s definitely an option as the Rams secondary keys in on James White and Julian Edelman. This is an all-or-nothing pick, but one that could pay off for the bold who make it.
C.J. Anderson, RB, Los Angeles Rams – Anderson is proving the doubters wrong every game, and as the Rams try to keep the ball out Tom Brady’s hands they will turn to Anderson and Todd Gurley to carry the load. Anderson’s large frame is especially useful around the goal line, furthering his value.