The similarities between Danny Amendola and Wes Welker are numerous. Some are ridiculously obvious, while others hide just below the surface.
Let us dispense with the sidenotes.
Welker isn't done yet. He will be a solid contributor somewhere regardless of where he lands, if it isn't with the New England Patriots. He's sure-handed and will be playing with a raging fire under his rear.
In short, he's still an asset.
Now onto the man of the hour in St. Louis.
Amendola was performing well under the old regime, but he has become the go-to receiver in Brian Schottenheimer's system. Last year could have been the step that this season has the potential to be, but those plans were shelved due to a nasty triceps injury.
Otherwise, Amendola's career almost looks to be a carbon copy of Welker's. Both wide receivers are Texas Tech products who had solid early years, and then blossomed in their second years as wideouts (Welker's rookie year was spent returning kicks). But these aren't the only reasons that Amendola is going to become Welker 2.0.
The game of each player is not predicated on physical prowess. Welker is 5'9" and 185 pounds. Amendola is slightly larger at 5'11" and 188 pounds. Neither is going to out-jump defensive backs or blast through linebackers with their power.
However, their diminutive statures allow them the ability to freely float through zones and find the holes. They are also difficult to keep up with since they can cut in and out of traffic with a grace and quickness that is difficult to match.
Although, the ability to get open wouldn't be of much use without the exceptional hands that each player possesses.
Trusty Sidekick Status
Welker made his mark as Troy Brown 2.0, the reliable pass-catcher that Tom Brady could always rely on. Brown helped Brady ascend to to the lofty status he now enjoys. In Brady's third year, Brady upped his touchdowns by 10 to 28 total, partially due to Brown's steady presence.
After two games, Sam Bradford has four touchdowns against only one interception. While it's always dangerous to talk about pace, saying Bradford could match the above-mentioned feat in his third year is certainly not a stretch. Helping him out will be Amendola, who will provide the reliable hands necessary to keep the chains moving and boost the touchdown total.
Barring injury, Amendola will be Bradford's Brown and Welker.
Fantasy Football Megastar
Every fantasy owner remembers those rare occasions when they catch lightening in a bottle. For those who got lucky with Welker, it was 2007. He was in his inaugural season with the Patriots and exploded for 112 catches and eight touchdowns. The kicker is that no fantasy owner grabbed him before the seventh round, if that.
Amendola is on pace for the same type of season. He wasn't an unknown, much like Welker, but he wasn't a household name. After his 15-catch, 160-yard performance, whoever is lucky enough to own him this year is certainly clogging the league message boards and Facebook walls with stories of how they knew it all along.
Welker's time will extend for a little longer as a fantasy stud, but Amendola's is just beginning. And he'll be here for quite awhile. Just like his predecessor.