Danny Amendola's Updated 2013 Fantasy Outlook Heading into Week 6

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Danny Amendola's Updated 2013 Fantasy Outlook Heading into Week 6
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

After missing three games to a groin injury, Danny Amendola returned to the New England Patriots in their loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. 

The results were mixed. On one hand, he was expected to be somewhat limited and played just 38 of 64 snaps, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston. Despite his limited usage, he still led the Patriots in targets with nine, a positive sign. 

Mike Clay of Pro Football Focus Fantasy has more on Amendola's usage:

On the other hand, he finished with just four receptions for 55 yards, managing a meager 5.5 points for fantasy owners. Of course, Patriots across the board disappointed for fantasy owners, as the team was held to six points. 

So what should we expect from Amendola moving forward?

There are a couple ways to look at this. The first is to look at Julian Edelman's stats while Amendola was injured, since Edelman assumed the role in the Patriots' offense that Amendola was brought in to fill. 

In three games without Amendola, Edelman caught 27 passes for 240 yards on 34 targets. That's eight fantasy points per game, a solid if unspectacular level of production. Of course, Amendola is a better player than Edelman, so it's probably safe to say that Amendola's floor is equaling Edelman's production.

That's not too shabby. Given the amount of targets Edelman received in his absence in the slot role—and the number given to Amendola in a limited role—Amendola promises be a major part of this passing game moving forward.

Here's another variable in the Amendola equation—will the pending return of Rob Gronkowski hinder Amendola's production, or might it actually open up the passing game even more for the slot weapon?

Seeing as Gronkowski's presence never kept Wes Welker from being a viable fantasy option in this offense, it seems likely that adding the touchdown machine into the mix will only open things up for Amendola. 

Without Gronkowski, opposing defenses can pick which receiver they want to key on. With Gronkowski, the focus will shift to slowing down New England's dynamic tight end. 

As well, the continued development of Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson should open up the underneath routes for Amendola. If the young rookies can stretch the defense, Amendola should have a field day taking advantage of mismatches over the middle of the field. 

The elephant in the room, however, is Amendola's injury history. He's missed three games already this season, and in his final two years with the St. Louis Rams, he missed a total of 20 games. If you're an Amendola owner, you probably want to be an Edelman owner as well. 

But when he's on the field—and once Gronkowski returns—Amendola becomes a low-end WR2 or weekly flex consideration. Based on his performance when he was healthy—10 receptions for 104 yards in Week 1—and Edelman's production in his role, there is every reason to believe Amendola will be a nice, consistent receiver for fantasy owners.

 

Hit me up on Twitter—I'll answer your fantasy lineup questions, make ill-fated NFL predictions and tweet knee-slapping jokes. Well, the first two things, at least. 

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