Winning DFS and your fantasy football league is all about finding players who can give you strong performances for pennies on the dollar. Heading into Week 2, Danny Amendola is one of those players. As of this posting, Amendola only costs $3,900 on DraftKings and is available in over 85% of NFL.com fantasy leagues. While he’s not going to put up a WR1 performance, he’s in a perfect position to outperform his value in DFS or be a solid flex play.
Danny Amendola Set to Shine for DFS, Fantasy Football
Danny Amendola has the coveted duty of being Matthew Stafford’s slot receiver. Despite his rocket arm, Stafford has turned into a player who targets the slot at an excessive rate. During Golden Tate’s 71 games in Detroit, the former second-round pick recorded 416 receptions for 4,741 yards and 22 touchdowns. Tate was a great player, but Stafford has a history of locking in on his slot receiver even if Tate isn’t there.
The Lions traded Tate midway through the 2018 season, leaving Bruce Ellington as Detroit’s primary slot receiver. Ellington isn’t nearly as talented as Tate and didn’t have an established chemistry with Stafford. Despite all this, Ellington still received 7.5 targets per game during his time in Detroit. Ellington didn’t make the most of this opportunity from a fantasy perspective, but the opportunity was there.
Based on a one-game sample, Stafford still loves to target his slot receivers. In Week 1 against the Cardinals, Amendola recorded seven receptions for 104 yards and one touchdown on 13 targets. One of those plays was a 47-yard touchdown, which boosted his overall numbers. However, the 13 targets show that Amendola is going to have a chance to be fantasy-relevant on a week-in, week-out basis.
How Good Can Amendola Be
Matthew Stafford’s targeting habits mean that Amendola has the chance to be fantasy relevant. The only question remaining is if he has the ability to capitalize on said opportunity. Based on his career history, it’s safe to assume Amendola can be productive as long as he stays healthy.
Amendola had some success with the St. Louis Rams before joining the New England Patriots to effectively replace Wes Welker. Amendola suffered a groin injury during his 10-catch debut, allowing Julian Edelman to take over as Tom Brady’s preferred target. Since New England knew that they could coast to the playoffs without Amendola, they essentially hid him in the regular season before unleashing him in the playoffs.
During his final 11 postseason games in New England, Amendola recorded 54 receptions for 632 yards and six touchdowns. This includes a three-game stretch in 2017 where he recorded 26 receptions for 348 yards and two touchdowns without Edelman by his side. He had similar success in the 2017 regular season, recording 61 receptions for 659 yards and two touchdowns with Edelman sidelined.
It’s easy to look good when Tom Brady is your quarterback, but Amendola managed to have modest success away from Brady. In 2018, Amendola spent the year catching passes from a broken down Ryan Tannehill and Brock Osweiler. Despite having one of the worst quarterback situations in the league, Amendola still recorded 59 receptions for 575 yards and one touchdown. Stafford is easily better than those two and should be able to give Amendola enough volume to remain effective while he’s healthy.
The biggest red flag with Danny Amendola is his health. He’s going to get a solid workload, but he’s struggled to stay on the field throughout his career. While the injury risk is very real, it’s also overblown. Since 2014, Amendola has appeared in 14 or more games in four of a possible five seasons, with the lone outlier being when he played in 12 during the 2016 campaign.
Amendola carries slightly more risk than the average player, but every NFL player comes with their own risk. If you’re playing DFS, the injury risk doesn’t matter in the slightest. If you’re playing a fantasy league, you just need to monitor the waiver wires for an eventual replacement. As long as he’s healthy, he’s easily worth the roster spot.
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