Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 8/27/13
Fantasy Football Breakout Watch 2013: Danny Amendola           Earlier this week, I put out my annual fantasy football preview where I predict the 10 best value players. For that article click here (apologies for the formatting, it’s a new site so bear with us). Spoiler alert, I feature Dwayne Bowe, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Matt Stafford among others.I wanted to take a deeper dive on some of the players who are particularly controversial. I’ve already written about C.J. Spiller for Football Nation and am turning my attention to Danny Amendola.Ironically, in 2011, Amendola was widely considered a great sleeper pick in PPR leagues. However, after he went down with an injury (more on that later), fantasy owners had to keep him in the back pocket for 2012 and were able to get him on the cheap.Last season, Amendola missed five games due to a potentially life-threatening injury but was still able to put up solid numbers - 63 receptions for 666 yards and three TDs.  If you project those numbers out for a full season, you get 92 receptions for 969 yards.Amendola hit the jackpot when he left the St. Louis Rams for the New England Patriots. Now touchdowns are hard to predict in fantasy but it seems safe to assume that with Tom Brady throwing him the ball instead of Sam Bradford, Amendola is due for a second breakout season which will solidiy him as one of the top tier receivers in the league.Wes Welker 2.0Amendola is younger, more explosive in the open field and has a few inches on Welker as well. While Welker was limited to the slot, Amendola can play both in the slot and on the outside.  Amendola can stretch the field in a way that Welker can’t. Welker is better at getting yards after the catch but doesn’t have the speed or build to outrun or outmuscle cornerbacks.In a way, Amendola is a better fit than Welker in the Patriots' offense because of his versatility. Amendola can fill the slot role and feast underneath but he can also be a downfield threat and open things up.Non-existent injury historyNow the biggest concern with Amendola is his “extensive” injury history. This, in my opinion, is a gross mischaracterization of Amendola’s past. It’s not as if Amendola has had constant knee problems or a history of concussions - injuries which have a tracked record of repeat offense. No, Amendola has had a “series of unfortunate events” to steal Lemony Snicket’s title.In 2011, he dislocated his elbow and had to undergo season-ending surgery. In 2012, he dislocated his clavicle and almost punctured his aorta when the clavicle popped inwards instead of out. It’s pretty clear that these two serious injuries offer very low risk of re-injury.Now, Amendola sat out the last week with an ankle injury but returned to practice on Monday. It looks as if it is all systems go for the regular season.No. 1 Target with Tom BradyIn the preseason, we’ve already seen the potential for the Brady-Amendola partnership. In the second preseason game, Amendola and Brady connected for six catches for 71 yards and a touchdown in just two drives. With Gronkowski out and with two rookies in camp, Amendola has had the time and reps to build chemistry with Brady. Additionally, Brady is a much better QB than Sam Bradford. With Brady, Amendola should see more targets, better throws, and more of them. Brady can turn Amendola into Welker 2.0 and launch him into the elite WRs in the NFL.Cyril is also the Director of Fantasy Analysis for bemycommish.com. Email him with questions at fantasy_cyril@yahoo.com or on Twitter at fantasy_cyril.
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