After letting Wes Welker leave in free agency, the New England Patriots surely envisioned Danny Amendola serving as a viable replacement and being a top target for Tom Brady last season. Fantasy football owners may have bought into the hype as well, and 10 catches for 104 yards in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills verified it, but a groin injury suffered in that season opener limited Amendola all season and he finished with 54 receptions for 633 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games.
Amendola reportedly did not need groin surgery during the offseason, and is participating fully in voluntary workouts. Is he in line for a big rebound in 2014?
Amendola’s injury history during his time with the St. Louis Rams added some risk for even the most optimistic fantasy owners heading into last season, and that obviously came to fruition with his injury and dismal production. He had 85 receptions in 2010, the one season in his career that he’s played all 16 games, so with a better quarterback throwing him the ball in New England Amendola’s fantasy upside is still hard to ignore.
If he’s healthy Amendola is in line for a ton of targets this season, and if tight end Rob Gronkowski (torn ACL) misses the first few games that volume has a chance to increase even more. It’s notable that he set a career-high in yards per catch (11.7) last season, and there may be some untapped potential there, but Amendola’s value in touchdown-heavy fantasy leagues is not great with just nine touchdown receptions in 250 career catches.
90-100 receptions is within reach for Amendola this season if he can avoid nagging injuries and play all 16 games. As things are right now, I like him as a risk/reward WR2 in PPR leagues with plenty of upside.
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter.