Summer is officially here. We are talking barbecues, plenty of ice-cold refreshments and of course fantasy football. Yes, that is right people, the time of the year where the NFL camps start to heat up and smack talk around the water coolers hit full throttle. We hear arguments about who the top quarterback in the game is in regards to fantasy football, and that is before even one snap has been played.
That my friends is why I love fantasy football so much. And that is why FFLockerRoom will be helping you out on a daily basis as the season nears. So as I do many summer nights, throwing some good ol’ food on the grill and cracking a nice icy cold brew, I will spend the cooking time answering a question from one of our many fantasy football enthusiasts.
On today’s menu is some bbq chicken and asparagus. Beer of choice, Modelo Especial. And with the chicken now seared and slow cooking, it is time to answer Mike’s question.
FFLockerRoom, love your site. I am sitting here putting together an early cheat sheet of tiered rankings and I was wondering what your thoughts of Danny Amendola are this year. I see him as a lower-tiered third string wide receiver. Am I not giving him enough credit? I think he can be a sleeper. Thanks, Mike K.
Mike, thank you for your question. You are the first of the Fantasy Football Grillers series and your question is much appreciated. But the chicken on the grill won’t take too long and I need to prep the asparagus, so let’s answer your question.
[pullquote]”Danny has come in and he’s been fun to play with,” Brady said. “He’s come in and worked so hard. He’s diving out there for catches. He’s really done everything that we’ve asked him to do. It’s been a lot of fun.”[/pullquote]
Amendola is entering his sixth season in the NFL, along with joining his fourth team in the New England Patriots. And despite all the talk of him being a sleeper this year, you have to wonder if he will be a sleeper at all. My guess is no, only because he is on the radar of every intelligent fantasy football player on the planet.
His numbers for his career are pretty raw. In five seasons he has played in only 42 games, started only 17 and has missed 20 games the past two seasons due to various injuries.
His best season was in 2010 when he caught 85 passes, his next closest was last year with 63. Divided into the 11 games that he played last season that is 5.7 pass receptions per contest. And considering that he has only 7 receiving touchdowns during his whole career, it is hard to believe that he will be able to put it all together for a 16-game span and dominate the fantasy football world.
But there is a chance that he does just that. Tom Brady is more than excited about having him on the team most likely agrees. “Danny has come in and he’s been fun to play with,” Brady said. “He’s come in and worked so hard. He’s diving out there for catches. He’s really done everything that we’ve asked him to do. It’s been a lot of fun.”
There are a few things going in Amendola’s favor:
- The Wes Welker Advantage – Welker was a little known average wide out for the Miami Dolphins before joining the Patriots back in 2007. Since then he has averaged 116 receptions per season, had averaged over 1,200 yards receiving annually and was always good for an average of 5-6 touchdowns a year. While not remarkable, those are excellent PPR numbers.
- Amendola is expected to take on a role similar to what Welker had done the past several seasons. And while Amendola’s health can be questioned, it is worth noting that when players find themselves on a team that they are excited about, all of a sudden they are capable of staying on the field more. Funny how that works.
- Aaron Hernandez, a player who was Brady’s third most targeted receiving option, is now possibly in trouble with the law and could find himself playing for the prison team in 2013. Those targets have to go somewhere as well.
Personally I think you are right on as he has a ton to prove. I am very iffy on his health issues and can he stay healthy being targeted well over 100 times during the season, up-the-middle and taking several bone crushing hits? I personally am a bit more timid than what Nardone expects out of him, and for that fact I would slot him as a mid-low end WR3 in deeper fantasy formats, with a bump up in PPR leagues.
But of course, that ranking takes into account that I really don’t see him staying healthy for 14-16 games this season. But if he does, then he could very well live up to Nardone’s expectations and possibly even more. Remember, the unknown Welker was turned into a fantasy football stud by Tom Brady and the New England offensive system. There is no reason that the same can’t happen to Amendola, health permitting.
Mike, I have never been one to overpay for what could be, as I am someone who prefers proven talent when using higher draft choices, saving my sleeper picks for the middle-to-late rounds. But as Nardone said, the upside is huge on this 27-year-old wide receiver.
So is the risk worth the reward? My answer is potentially. But personally I do not see him staying on the board that long as the summer starts producing more and more fantasy football drafts. Look for him to be targeted anywhere in the WR2-WR3 tier in deeper fantasy formats, as he most likely will be drafted well before what you would had felt comfortable paying the price for.
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