As you rigorously prepare and research leading into each week of DFS, injuries are always going to change the landscape. “Next Man Up” is a series that examines players who are now being propelled into the starting role (thus creating a larger opportunity for that player), whether it be via injury, or simply a change to the depth chart.
The injury bug has bitten New England hard of late, but Tom Brady still has the Pats sitting at 9-0 after a nail biter over the Giants on Sunday. However, the win came at a huge price for Brady and Co.
Julian Edelman’s broken foot is likely to cost him 6-8 weeks, meaning he could easily be finished for at least the regular season. The Patriots are typically the type of team that doesn’t even blink, and rallies around the next man up mentality. Edelman is a tougher loss than usual, though.
Edelman had been a beast through his 8+ games played, catching a career-high seven touchdowns, while on pace for a career-high in yards with 692 until going down. That’s a lot of production to replace.
As I wrote last week when Dion Lewis went down for the Pats, his void will be filled primarily by committee. The same is true with the gap Edelman leaves in New England’s offense. Guys like Aaron Dobson, Keyshawn Martin and Scott Chandler will all be asked to step up, and even LeGarrette Blount could be asked to pound the rock more.
But without question, Danny Amendola is going to be called upon the most in Edelman’s absence.
Surprisingly, this has already been one of the best seasons of Amendola’s career. That’s primarily because he’s had so many injury riddled seasons, and was also a huge part of the return game during his years in STL.
Nonetheless, Amendola’s career season came in 2010 when he caught 85 passes for 689 yards and three touchdowns. He may or may not be able to reach 85 catches this year, but he should shatter those marks in yards and touchdowns given the role he’s about to enter.
Amendola currently has 40 receptions for 403 yards and a pair of scores in 2015. If he can finish out the season anywhere close to Edelman’s averages (roughly seven catches for 77 yards with nearly a TD per game), Amendola is going to far exceed his value.
Amendola’s production had been scattered this season, but he’s shown he can handle the load. During a two week stretch in October, Amendola hauled in a combined 15 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown — and that was with Edelman on the field.
Once Edelman was sidelined on Sunday, Amendola was consistently targeted by Brady in the passing game — a season-high 10 catches for 79 yards being the outcome. Look for a lot more of those types of numbers from Amendola from now until we see number 11 on the field again.
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