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Vincent Jackson and Julian Edelman: The Perfect Marriage

One of the things that fantasy football websites usually spend countless hours talking about is how important handcuffs are when drafting running backs. But is it possible to draft a handcuff for a receiver? What if that handcuff isn’t even on the same team as the receiver?

In the strange case of Vincent Jackson and Julian Edelman, drafting them together could give you a No. 1 receiver for the entire season. A No. 1 receiver who you’d only have to spend, according to recent mock drafts, possibly fourth round and 10th round picks for.

Let’s first examine the individual situations of Jackson and Edelman. We’ll start with the most talented of the two, Jackson.



Jackson
is going to miss the first three games of the season.

Jackson
is a terrific receiver who has had two straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons, coupled with 16 scores and plays in one of the NFL’s best offenses. He’s an elite talent, whose play has improved year after year.

Now, let’s get to the bad stuff.  According to an article by NBC Sports this week, Jackson is telling teams interested in trading for him that he’s facing a three-game suspension for a couple of DUI arrests. That’s right. I said a couple. 

His suspension has been rumored for almost all of the offseason. And don’t forget, we’re talking about Mr. Law and Order Commissioner Roger Goodell here. I seriously doubt Goodell’s going to look the other way on this one. Goodell has shown a consistent pattern of laying down the law especially hard on repeat offenders, which is exactly what

Jackson
is. 

And we haven’t even started talking about the fact that

Jackson
is still holding out.  He’s been completely absent at organized team activities and the chances of him showing up to training camp are slim to none.

Almost all the news regarding

Jackson
this offseason has been uniformly bad.  Remember that story from a couple weeks ago where Chargers’ general manager A.J. Smith predicted that

Jackson
would hold out well into November? Not encouraging, guys. We’re talking about the general manager who shipped Drew Brees out of town. You really think he’s going to cave in to

Jackson
? And most importantly, how high of a draft pick are you willing to risk on that?

I don’t think there’s any way around it. 

Jackson
’s missing some time. At least three games, which may be the best case scenario. And we’re talking about a crucial part of the fantasy season.  You could be 1-2, even 0-3 and desperately needing a win in Week 4. Even if

Jackson
performs when he comes back, it may already be too late.

Edelman to the Rescue!  (but only for a little while … )

I have to admit, I’m a huge Edelman man. There might not be another player in this draft who’ll give you more value than Edelman. We’re talking about a potential No. 2 receiver who’s currently going in the eighth round. 

Need more convincing?  Let’s take a look at what Edelman did last year subbing in for points-per-reception legend Wes Welker.

Against
New York:  8 receptions, 98 yards
Against

Houston
Texans:  10 receptions, 103 yards
Against Baltimore Ravens:  6 receptions, 44 yards, 2 TD

Not too shabby. And the fact that he did it against two of the best defenses in the NFL is even more impressive. We’re not talking about Kevin Kolb here, who built his entire exalted fantasy reputation by obliterating the lowly Kansas City Chiefs. He certainly didn’t do anything notable against the New Orleans Saints, where his performance was ‘Cutlerish,’ with tons of yards matched by tons of pickles. 

Unlike, Kolb, Edelman performed against top tier teams. But of course, it’s almost too good to be true. Welker will return eventually. He’s even been seen practicing at organized team activities recently. If anyone can make a huge recovery, it’s Welker, one of fantasy football’s brightest stars in recent years.

And when Welker returns, Edelman will be a ghost. Make no mistake about it. How did Edelman do when Welker returned after the Jets game? How about three receptions for 20 yards? Not poopy enough for you? He had one reception for 12 yards in the next game.

And he continued to be missing in action until Welker got hurt at the end of the season. So once he’s gone, he’s gone forever. When you draft Edelman, you’re drafting a player, who at some point in the season will become utterly worthless. His final destiny is the waiver wire. You might drop him for Jason Campbell at some point. When you break the news to Edelman that you’re dropping him for

Campbell
, make sure that you break it to him delicately.

There is a bright side though. And that bright side is Bill Belichick, fantasy football’s greatest tormentor. Sorry, Mike Shanahan. You lost that title when you left football for a couple years. With the three-back committee Shanahan’s got going in

Washington
though, it’s very possible he might reclaim his title this season.

Anyway, back to Belichick. Belichick has a long, shameful history of breaking fantasy football owners’ hearts with his vague injury reports and always unpredictable starting lineups. Laurence Maroney, Deion Branch, Welker and many others Patriots over the years have had long, unexpected absences, which have hurt tons of fantasy owners, especially owners that aren’t sitting by their computer minutes before game time.

Recent rumors have suggested that Welker will be put on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list when the season starts.  That means Welker’s out for at least six games. With Belichick though, you can never be sure. Maybe Welker will be out longer. Just being on the PUP list means that Welker won’t be able to play until late October.

Hmmm.  Kinda sounds like the moment that Edelman will become worthless is right around the time Jackson will be returning to action. Interesting.

I Now Pronounce you Vince and Julian

If you put Edelman and Jackson together, you’ll be getting top value for two otherwise risky stars.

Jackson
’s average draft position will drop now that his suspension has been announced. Right now

Jackson
is being drafted towards the end of the third round. Once owners realize he’ll miss the crucial first month of the season, he’ll fall to at least the fourth round, probably the fifth. Maybe lower.


You can spend that critical third- or fourth-round pick on a quality quarterback like Tom Brady or Tony Romo. Or you could spend it on a good running back like Pierre Thomas or countless other running backs that will be available.

You’ll be in an even better position if you’re draft is held before it’s announced that Welker’s going to be on the PUP list. Edelman’s value will undoubtedly go up if Welker’s out for nearly half of the fantasy season.

When it comes to fantasy drafts, sometimes you have to get creative with a ‘ridonkulous’ scheme like this one. Remember, just like Ben said, always have a plan.

Good Hunting!

Ed Bonfanti

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