2019 Fantasy Football: WR Positional Battle – Stefon Diggs vs. Julian Edelman

Senior Fantasy Football Expert Adam Ronis decipher which player is more worthy of a third-round draft selection: Stefon Diggs or Julian Edelman!

Stefon Diggs vs. Julian Edelman

When you get to the third round of drafts, there are a bevy of wide receivers to choose from. Some have higher floors, while other have higher ceilings. Two receivers going close to one another are Stefon Diggs and Julian Edelman. Which one is the better pick?

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Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings

Diggs has always shown talent and ability and had his best season last year. He had career highs of 149 targets, 102 receptions, 1,021 yards and nine touchdowns in 15 games to finish as a Top 10 Fantasy receiver. The year before Diggs was the WR19 with 64 catches on 849 yards and eight touchdowns. 

Diggs isn’t the clear cut No. 1 wide receiver on his team since Adam Thielen gets targeted frequently, too. Thielen had 153 targets last season and both finished as a WR1. The Vikings don’t have a lot of depth at wide receiver and most of the targets go the duo’s way. One of the issues for Diggs is nagging injuries. He has trouble performing well when he’s tried to play with an injury. Since 2015, he’s played with hamstring, groin, hip, and knee injuries and when he’s been on the injury report for that week, the stats suffer. Over the last seven games last season, Diggs got more targets than Thielen, who was playing through injury. Diggs averaged nine targets and 6.3 receptions and Thielen averaged 7.1 targets and five receptions.

The Vikings offense shifted more to the run late in the season, especially when Kevin Stefanski took over as offensive coordinator with three games left. While it’s not a big sample, the offense passed at a 52.5 percent rate in that span. 

Diggs is an explosive player and can give you the huge week that can win a matchup. He had several monster games with nine catches for 128 yards with two touchdowns, 11 catches for 123 yards, 10 catches for 91 yards, 10 catches for 119 yards with a touchdown and 13 catches for 126 yards with a touchdown. 


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Julian Edelman, New England Patriots

If you took the discount on Edelman last season due to his suspension, it paid off. He was suspended for performance-enhancing drugs last season and missed the first four games. When Edelman returned, he caught 74 passes for 850 yards and six touchdowns on 108 targets. Over 16 games, it projects to 97 catches for 1,133 yards and eight touchdowns on 144 targets. He reached double-digit points in PPR formats in 11 of 12 games.  In the playoffs, Edelman had 26 catches for 388 yards on 35 targets.

Edelman has never finished higher than WR16 in a season, he’s 33 years old and played 16 games twice in ten seasons. He is missing training camp with a broken thumb. The Patriots lost Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan and Cordarelle Patterson from last season’s team and Josh Gordon’s status is still unknown. The Patriots don’t have established receivers that command the football and Edelman should be targeted heavily and Tom Brady trusts him. 

It’s about health for Edelman. He is going to get a huge target share. Last year, Edelman had a 25.7 percent target share and it should be in that range in 2019. In 2016, Edelman had 98 catches for 1,106 yards with three touchdowns on 159 targets. The ceiling is limited because he’s not going to gain a lot of yards. He averaged 11.5 yards per reception in 2018 and has never caught more than seven touchdowns in a season. Without Rob Gronkowski, Edelman could see more red zone looks. 

Verdict

In non-PPR leagues, Diggs is the pick. In PPR formats, it’s closer. Edelman has a high floor every week. Diggs will be more erratic, especially if the team shifts to the run more. Diggs is the more explosive player and has the bigger upside if you play in an overall. It comes down to the way you draft and what you need at that point of the draft. I have Edelman slightly ahead of Diggs in PPR. 


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