Sunday Takeaways: It’s Danny Amendola’s Time to Shine

A majority of FantasyDraft users suffered through at least one dud in their lineup this week because a few of the top “chalk” plays turned out to be busts. DeAngelo Williams, priced at $12,600, scored just 7.90 fantasy points after Ben Roethlisberger shockingly took over as the starter in the first quarter. As per usual, as soon as he stepped in it became the Antonio Brown show who most had faded for the sole reason that Roethlisberger would not be the one throwing to him. Approximately 60-percent of the population owned depending on the contest. Yeah, it’s a fickle game.

Furthermore, Darren McFadden, whose $9,200 price looked awfully enticing, also was around 60-percent owned most places and he too could not eclipse 70 total yards. In fact, McFadden only totaled 58 yards but his three receptions (REC) helped him surpass Williams’ mediocre tally (8.80 fantasy points so he barely edged him out). Other popular plays such as Drew Brees, Blake Bortles, Mark Ingram, Justin Forsett, Demaryius Thomas and Martellus Bennett did not reach “value.” I define value on FantasyDraft as 1.5x the salary. If a player is priced at $12,000, the expected value in order to roster them in cash games would need to be 12 x 1.5 or 18 fantasy points. If a player is priced at $9,200 it would be 9.2 x 1.5 or 13.8 fantasy points (to follow up on the McFadden example). Football is a crazy game as one inch, one dropped pass or one missed tackle can make the difference between a monster game and a dud. This is why we love this game and we as a community will just look to improve next week.

Here are other observations I had watching an eventful week number 10:

Quarterback

Kirk Cousins, Redskins – There’s no denying Kirk Cousins put together an impressive performance in week number 10. He completed 20-25 passes for 324 yards and four touchdowns (TDs) and currently leads all players at the position in fantasy points this week (31.96). Finding negatives about this effort is difficult to do so let me take a different angle: everyone goes off against the Saints’ defense. Take the last few weeks for instace: Eli Manning threw for 350 yards and six TDs in week eight and Marcus Mariota returned from injury to throw for 371 yards and four TDs against the Saints last week. Quarterbacks (QBs) are essentially erupting against them so instead of scurrying to become the first to declare Cousins has made it, I think the more reasonable route would be to say “start all QBs versus New Orleans. Period.” They are not stopping anybody.

Jay Cutler, Bears – Unlike Cousins, Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears actually faced a difficult matchup against a Rams team that had allowed the second fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs. While not all yardage came the conventional way (Jeremy Langford took a screen pass to the house for an 83 yard TD), Cutler finished with 258 yards and three TDs. The impressive part is neither of his top two options, Alshon Jeffery or Martellus Bennett, made much of an impact. Cutler found secondary options Langford and Zach Miller for the three TDs. Both Langford and Miller eclipsed 100 yards receiving while neither Jeffery nor Bennett even managed 25 yards receiving. In other words, Cutler is developing as a QB if he can find ways to get it done in both fantasy and reality without forcing the ball to the players opposing defenses are scheming for. Credit needs to be given to the Bears’ offensive coordinator Adam Gase as well; he and Cutler make a nice team and Gase gets to face his ex-team (Broncos) in week 11. They just produced against the second toughest matchup so maybe they’ll find a way to get it done in the absolute worse matchup as well.

Running Back

Charcandrick West, Chiefs – Not only does the aforementioned Broncos defense typically stifle QBs but they also had allowed the 13th fewest fantasy amount of fantasy points per game to the running back (RB) position heading into week 10…but that was before they faced Charcandrick West. Filling in for Jamaal Charles as the starter since his injury, West had carried the ball at least 20 times in the two previous games. He also had averaged at least 4.9 yards per carry (YPC) in his previous two. In week 10, West yet again carried the ball 20-plus times (24) but he wasn’t quite as effective from a YPC basis (2.9). Still, Coach Andry Reid found a way to get him involved: the passing game. He caught three passes including a wheel route out of the backfield which he turned into an 80-yard TD. When the dust settled, West had totaled 161 yards and two TDs versus the best defense in football. He has picked up where Charles left off and I value him pretty similarly to where Charles would have been due to Coach Reid’s commitment to use him as the workhorse. Next week the Chiefs face a Chargers defense that allows the most fantasy points to the RB position. Fade him at your own risk because he’s a true RB1 in a stellar matchup.

Dexter McCluster, Titans – Three different players carried the ball for the Titans this week; not a single one eclipsed 25 yards rushing. Yes, this has become the story of the Titans’ backfield who just cannot find a way to successfully establish the run other than allowing Marcus Mariota to scramble (4.8 YPC on five carries this week). The man who emerged as the best play this week was Dexter McCluster who scored a 25 yard rushing TD (and tallied zero yards on his two other carries) and added four RECs for 27 yards. Despite the productive day, McCluster can continue to be avoided in all formats as we continue to wait for David Cobb to finally suit up. Who is he? Cobb was selected by the Titans this season in the fifth round out of Minnesota and he would probably be the starter by now if it weren’t for a calf injury that sent him to the IR/designated to return list. Once he’s back, give it a week or so before rostering him for the first time and reaping the benefits of staying ahead of the curve.

Wide Receiver

Davante Adams, Packers – 21 targets. Aaron Rodgers attempted to get the ball into Davante Adams’ hands 21 targets and Adams converted just 10 of them for 21 yards. Don’t get me wrong, 10 catches is a nice day in FantasyDraft’s PPR format however Adams continues to convert opportunities into production at a futile level. Adams’ catch percentage, which is calculated by dividing receptions by total targets, ranks 87th among all WRs who have played at least 25-percent of their team’s snaps (56 percent). Only 32 WRs have produced a worse conversion percentage. Adams does have the benefit of playing with Rodgers so he should continue to produce as long as he’s given the opportunity. Considering how ineffective he has been with the volume, the opportunities may stop coming his way once Ty Montgomery returns from injury.

Danny Amendola, Patriots – Poor Julian Edelman can’t stay healthy and the injury he suffered in week 10 (broken foot) appears to most likely have ended his season…at least his regular season. This opens up a huge void that Danny Amendola seems poised to step right into. Like Edelman, Amendola has made a career out of being a possession receiver. His main weakness also has actually been his inability to stay healthy. As long as Amendola can make it through a full game, he actually has WR1 potential because Tom Brady always finds a way to get the best out of his receivers. Assuming his salary isn’t in the $12,000 range next week, he’s an auto-play in cash.

Tight End

Gary Barnidge, Browns – Not only is Gary Barnidge officially matchup-proof but he’s also QB-proof. Many avoided Barnidge this week presumably because a rib injury forced Josh McCown to sit and the two of them had developed a nice chemistry. You just never know with a new QB if he’ll find someone else to focus on or if he’ll continue to feed the safe mouths. We now know the answer: Barnidge is going to produce regardless. Most weeks he’s in the same conversation as Martellus Bennett and Jordan Reed because he has proven this is 100-percent, without a doubt his breakout season.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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2 Responses

  1. Dustin says:

    What do you think about Brandon Lafell’s upside now with Julian out? Would you not put him wr1?

    • Ricky Sanders Ricky Sanders says:

      He has potential but he is showing a tendency to drop passes and is more of the secondary option. Amendola is the guy Brady will look towards to move the chain and Gronkowski is the main red zone target. LaFell certainly moves up some in the pecking order but he needs to start showing improvement with his hands in order to be trusted.

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