Though his return may be Thanksgiving come early for the St. Louis Rams, fantasy owners need to fight the temptation to start wide receiver Danny Amendola against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
According to an AP report (per ESPN), Amendola is expected to be in the starting lineup for the first time since dislocating his collarbone four weeks ago against the Arizona Cardinals. A breakout star early in the season, Amendola's presence could help stave off a blowout for the Rams, but he's far too risky for fantasy owners in Week 10.
Obviously, the top factor working against Amendola is his return from injury. Even if everything goes as expected and he's in the lineup, there is no guarantee how many snaps he takes.
All it would take is one small twinge of the shoulder for the Rams to shut him back down, leaving fantasy owners stranded without production.
Let's also remember that Amendola isn't exactly returning to the reincarnation of the "Greatest Show on Turf." Coming into Week 10, the Rams are scoring just 17.3 points and gaining 316.5 yards per game, both of which are 28th in the NFL.
What's more, quarterback Sam Bradford continues to show a complete lack of development. The third-year signal caller has thrown for 1,797 yards and eight touchdowns against seven interceptions, which isn't abhorrent until looking at the advanced metrics.
According to Football Outsiders' DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) statistic, Bradford ranks as the 24th-best quarterback in the league this season, behind illustrious names like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Tannehill and both Tennessee Titans quarterbacks.
It pretty much goes without saying that Bradford won't be flying up those rankings after this week. San Francisco ranks second in the NFL in pass defense this season, giving up just 184 yards per game thus far.
This is a matchup where no Rams should even touch your starting lineup, let alone one coming back from an injury with a limited history of production.
It's often forgotten that nearly half of Amendola's total production this season came against the Washington Redskins in Week 2, where he had 15 catches for 160 yards and a touchdown. Playing in three other full games this season, Amendola averaged just 5.3 receptions for 63.7 yards and scored only one touchdown.
In PPR leagues, Amendola is still an intriguing option as a flex play. A six-catch, 60-yard performance against the 49ers (about his ceiling for this week) would be a boon to most owners whose first options are on a bye.
However, for standard leagues, he should be nowhere near a starting lineup. The risk far outweighs whatever minuscule award could be waiting in San Francisco.
Resist the temptation this week, see how Amendola progresses and feel free to deploy him if he shows signs of life on Sunday.