The return of Danny Amendola could have major ramifications on how the remainder of your fantasy season unfolds.
According to Brian Lowe of Patriots.com, the 27-year-old wide receiver was on the practice field, along with one Rob Gronkowski.
While it's a huge boost for the New England Patriots to get the best tight end in the league, good luck trying to figure out when Gronk's going to be fully healthy. The Boston Herald's Jeff Howe recounted how much the player and team differ on the return date.
At least with Amendola, you get the feeling he's close to actually stepping on the field again in a game situation, via Comcast SportsNet New England's Mike Giardi.
As a result, you want to make sure you know what kind of fantasy impact he'd have as soon as possible. You don't want to wait until the rosters are locked in for the week and then figure everything out.
If you're an Amendola owner, you've got to be thrilled at the chance of him returning. He and Brady wasted little time in forging a strong relationship on the field. In Week 1, the wideout was targeted 14 times, making 10 receptions for 104 yards.
He'll immediately become Tom Brady's top target in the passing game. Although Amendola's not an elite fantasy WR, he'll put up strong enough numbers to be an automatic starter, especially in PPR leagues.
What's going to be great with Amendola is his consistency. Fantasy owners should count on getting six to seven receptions for 60-80 yards every game. Then you'll get the occasional 100-yard performance thrown in as well. The ceiling isn't high, but the floor isn't too low, either.
His return is also the kind of thing that could have a major knock-on effect for some of his teammates' fantasy values.
Brady should see a boost in his numbers because he'll have a much better option in the passing game. Amendola is a receiver he can trust, so Brady will look to him early and often.
It's not as if the veteran quarterback has been bad this year. With a top target open in the passing game, he should be able to put up performances closer to an elite-level fantasy QB.
There's also the effect Amendola will have on his fellow receivers.
Julian Edelman and Kenbrell Thompkins should see slight drops in their production, but not enough to seriously hinder their respective fantasy values. Edelman will still be Brady's second-favorite receiver, while Thompkins can be the deep threat that Amendola and Edelman aren't.
For the few owners who have Aaron Dobson, you'll probably want to start looking at other options. There's just not enough targets to go around to think he'll get much of an opportunity to make an impact.
The only problem with planning for Amendola long term will be his health. He was a bit of an injury risk coming into the season, and the fact that he got hurt in Week 1 isn't a good sign. This is a guy who played in a total of 12 games between 2011 and 2012.
Just don't be shocked if another injury problem crops up between his return and the end of the season.
Danny Amendola isn't the kind of player who will single-handedly win your fantasy league. However, he is an impact player whose return to the field will eventually provide an immediate boost for fantasy owners.