Danny Amendola's Return Is Vital for Rams and Fantasy Owners' Playoff Push

Brandon GalvinFeatured ColumnistOctober 25, 2012

ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 16:  Danny Amendola #16 of the St. Louis Rams enters the field during player introductions prior to the game against the Washington Redskins at Edward Jones Dome on September 16, 2012 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Danny Amendola returned to St. Louis Rams practice this week and although we don't know for sure when he will return to the field, we do know his presence it's essential for St. Louis' and fantasy owners' playoff hopes.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jim Thomas does offer more insight on when he could return.

Those close to Amendola estimated the recovery and rehab time as four to eight weeks. There's no way Amendola plays this Sunday against New England. But with a bye week once the team returns to the U.S., don't be surprised if 

Amendola was a strong breakout candidate in 2011, but an elbow injury cut that dream short. He bounced back in a big way this season and has recorded a whopping 26 receptions through the first four games of the season before injuring his collarbone in Week 5. He even has an absurd 15-reception, 160-yard under his belt this year.

The Rams' nifty receiver is of the Wes Welker mold. He is nearly impossible to control due to his deceiving speed, footwork, hand-eye coordination and agility. He can get adequate separation on deeper routes, but is a deadly weapon for third-year QB Sam Bradford in the intermediate passing attack.

Amendola is lethal on slant routes because he knows exactly how to use his body to block his defender as he opens his numbers up to Bradford, who is one of the better precision passers in the game despite misleading stats during his career. 

The four-year man from Texas Tech is also an ideal target on out-routes towards the sidelines for quick gains. Yet on these plays, it is that footwork and stop-and-go ability that allows him to take would-be short-gains and turn them upfield for additional yardage.

Though Amendola has been injury-plagued the past two seasons, he was a durable receiver the first two years to start his career. Fluke injuries happen, but shouldn't define a man. Amendola is one of the most dependable targets in the entire league and the Rams will utilize him as normal whenever he returns. Anybody questioning the man's toughness should look no further than when he ate a suplex from Rolando McClain.

Fantasy owners must hang on to Amendola and insert him into their lineup as soon as he is ready to return. Considering Bradford has been able to get teammates Brandon Gibson and Chris Givens the rock in Amendola's absence will only assist Amendola when he returns. Defenses will have to gear up to stop three receivers instead of focusing their attention on Amendola like they started, but failed to do, after his 15-reception performance.

With Steven Jackson and Daryl Richardson running strong to start the season, the Rams boast a balanced offensive attack that is best suited for somebody of Amendola's talents. Jeff Fisher and his coaching staff is well aware they need to get Amendola the rock when he returns, so fantasy owners should be beaming to hear he is progressing this quickly.