So much for being Wes Welker 2.0.
There were very high hopes for Danny Amendola when the New England Patriots got their hands on him in the offseason. He was expected to step right into the slot role that Welker had vacated and be a big part of the offense, provided he could stay healthy. Of course, this is the glass-like Amendola we’re talking about and we should have realized there was no chance whatsoever of him staying healthy. Indeed, he was injured in the Pats’ very first game of the season and from then on was nothing but a waste of space on fantasy benches. He’s sustained several injuries this season, keeping him off the field for most of it, and when he has been healthy he hasn’t done all that much either. He has 41 receptions for 448 yards and two touchdowns on the season, a major disappointment given the expectations fantasy owners had when they drafted him.
In spite of finally being healthy again, Amendola still hasn’t seen the field that much in recent time. His snap-count dropped dramatically after he was outplayed by Julian Edelman, who’s been flourishing with a bigger workload. It’s entirely possibly he would be a complete afterthought in fantasyland right now, had Rob Gronkowski not suffered a season-ending injury last week.
With Gronk out of the picture, Tom Brady is now left starved for options and the Pats have no choice but to keep Amendola on the field and involved. Gronk was Brady’s favourite target by a landslide so there’s a lot of slack that needs to be picked up. Receivers Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson are also reeling from injuries and have been ruled out this week, so Amendola and Edelman are really the only men left standing.
New England’s offense wasn’t the same without Gronk earlier in the season and it remains to be seen if it can be effective without him again. Whether it is or not, however, we know for sure that Amendola is going to be heavily involved in the game plan. Despite a tough matchup, this is a good week to start him as a WR3 with upside.