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2011 Draft Prep: Why Amendola should be your target

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Danny Amendola isn't the type of player who sets out to win a game on his own. That's not his style, and you'll never hear him called a diva receiver. But he is looking to improve on his production from 2010 in a big way.

Now that he has Josh McDaniels as his offensive coordinator and Sam Bradford continuing to develop in his second year, we expect that to happen for Amendola. We're confident that the former Texas Tech Red Raider will have a breakout campaign this season.

Amendola is someone every Fantasy owner should target on Draft Day. And in leagues where receptions count, he could become a star. Don't be surprised if he catches at least 100 passes this season as the best receiver for the Rams.

"I have to catch as many passes as I can," Amendola said in a phone interview with CBSSports.com. "My role on the team is to catch the underneath routes and get yards after the catch. I'm not trying to be anything super human. I just want to help my team win."

Last season was a great first step for Amendola. With Donnie Avery and Mark Clayton both going down with knee injuries, the Rams were left scrambling for help at receiver. That's where Amendola came in. He became Bradford's security blanket with 85 catches for 689 yards and three touchdowns.

The yards and touchdowns aren't impressive by any means, but his reception total was good for No. 8 in the NFL. The guys ahead of him are a who's who of talent at receiver with Roddy White (115 catches), Reggie Wayne (111), Santana Moss (93), Larry Fitzgerald (90), Andre Johnson (86), Wes Welker (86) and Brandon Marshall (86).

While Amendola was pleased with his performance a year ago, he knows there are areas where he can improve. His yards-after-catch stats were below average at 8.1, and he wants to score more touchdowns.

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His lack of touchdowns is interesting because he actually led all receivers in red-zone targets in 2010. Despite being listed at 5-foot-11, Amendola had 24 red-zone targets, and he finished with 16 catches for 79 yards and three touchdowns inside the 20 yard line.

We hope Bradford continues to look for Amendola in all areas of the field -- he had 123 targets overall -- because the two have a tremendous rapport already. Coach Steve Spagnuolo said Bradford needs Amendola to be successful.

"Danny's a reliable guy," Spagnuolo said. "Sam appreciates that and has a lot of confidence in him."

Amendola, in turn, needs Bradford to take the next step in his career as he goes from unproven rookie to sophomore on the rise. Amendola was impressed with how Bradford handled the lockout since he organized plenty of workouts with his receivers. Amendola expects Bradford to play well this season, and we consider Bradford a sleeper quarterback in all Fantasy leagues.

"The main thing Sam has done is step into that leadership role," Amendola said. "We all want to follow him because we know he cares so much about it. He's always been one to throw the ball well, but he's taking his game to a new level now."

Part of the reason for Bradford and Amendola having the chance for a big season is McDaniels calling plays. He has orchestrated quality passing attacks in previous stops in New England and Denver, and he should do wonders to involve Amendola in a variety of ways.

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That's something Amendola is excited about for this year. He is expected to start for the Rams in their base offense, and he will move into the slot when they use three wide receivers. The top three receivers in St. Louis are expected to be Amendola, Brandon Gibson and Mike Sims-Walker.

"Coach McDaniels spreads it out," Amendola said. "It's a very diverse offense. It's a lot of fun. One thing with this offense is we move guys around everywhere. There are so many different variations. It's been the hardest offense to learn, but so far it's turned out to be the most effective."

The most effective already? The Rams haven't even played a regular season game yet.

"Just in practice," Amendola said. "There are no limits to all the routes we can run. It keeps you guessing on defense."

Amendola is set up for a big season in 2011. I tend to target him in every Fantasy league no matter the format, and in standard leagues he should be drafted as a No. 3 receiver as early as Round 8 or 9. In point per reception leagues, I consider Amendola a No. 2 receiver, and I would draft him as early as Round 6.

He's one of my favorite Fantasy receivers this year, and I'm confident he is going to have a breakout season. He has the chance to lead all receivers in receptions and become the next PPR-league star.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Bishop Sankey takes a step forward, at Shonn Greene's expense
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(2:29 pm ET) Titans running back Shonn Greene might have found the end zone in Week 3 against the Bengals, but he saw less of the field than any of his backfield mates in the 33-7 loss.

Maybe it was just the flow of the game, but Greene's role was much-diminished Sunday. Greene saw sporadic playing time, including deep into the fourth quarter, but took a big backseat to both Dexter McCluster and Bishop Sankey. Greene played 46 percent of the team's snaps in Week 1, but has seen that number fall to 16 and 20 percent over the last two weeks.

And while McCluster was the big winner in Week 2, his role fell to 26 percent of the snaps in Week 3. This time around, it was Bishop Sankey's turn to shoulder the load, as he jumped up from 10.9 percent of the snaps through two games to 42 percent Sunday. He responded to the increased role well, with 61 yards on 10 carries, as well as one catch for 9 yards on his lone target.

Sankey was considered a big-time sleeper heading into the season, but we knew he would have to fight for time in a crowded backfield. Based on Week 3, he just might have earned it. Now is the time to snatch him up in the 34 percent of CBSSports.com leagues he is still available in.  


Jaguars see some changes -- and success -- in backfield in Week 3
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(2:20 pm ET) Jaguars running back Toby Gerhart has fallen flat on his face in his first three games as a feature back, and he started ceding playing time in Week 3 against the Colts.

Gerhart played 66 and 70 percent of the team's snaps in the first two games of the season, respectively, but that number dipped all the way to 50 percent Sunday. And, while Jordan Todman has served as the team's primary backup (21.1 percent of the snaps, first two games) it was converted college quarterback Denard Robinson who saw a step up in playing time in Week 3.

Robinson played 33 percent of the team's offensive snaps, after playing in just 11.4 percent in the first two games. And, though he did not have a high bar to clear, Robinson established new career-highs in carries (eight) and rushing yards (33) in the game.

The Jaguars gave Gerhart a three-year contract this offseason, but the early returns have not been promising; just ask any of Gerhart's Fantasy owners. Gerhart was drafted 41st overall on average this season, but might just be droppable at this point. Keep an eye on the team's playing time distribution, because Robinson might be an interesting sleeper if the team makes a change. 


Report: Duke Ihenacho (heel) to miss several weeks
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:18 pm ET) Redskins safety Duke Ihenacho suffered a fractured heel bone Week 3 against the Eagles and will be out several weeks, according to ESPN 980 in Washington D.C.

Report: Jonathan Goodwin to miss time due to ankle sprain
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:16 pm ET) Saints center Jonathan Goodwin suffered a high ankle sprain Week 3 against the Vikings, sources told NFL.com. Goodwin is slated to undergo an MRI Monday to determine the severity of the injury and the length of time he will miss.

Denard Robinson has earned more reps on offense
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:14 pm ET) Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said Monday running back Denard Robinson has earned the opportunity for more reps on offense. Robinson led Jacksonville in rushing during a 44-17 loss Week 3 against the Colts with 33 yards on eight carries.

Report: Vincent Jackson to remain active despite wrist injury
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:10 pm ET) Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson suffered a small fracture in his wrist during Thursday's game against the Falcons, multiple sources told FOXSports.com. However, the injury isn't expected to cost Jackson any playing time, as he plans to play Week 4 against the Steelers.

Jackson likely sustained the injury on the first play of Tampa Bay's second offensive series after he fell on his wrist following a hit from safety Dwight Lowery. Jackson continued to play without getting treatment.


Four Falcons players sit out practice Monday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:07 pm ET) Falcons wide receiver Roddy White (hamstring), wide receiver Harry Douglas (foot), running back Antone Smith and wide receiver Devin Hester sat out practice Monday. Smith has a right hamstring injury, according to ESPN, but it is uncertain why Hester was held out.

Arian Foster uncertain if he will be back Week 4
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:03 pm ET) Texans running back Arian Foster is unsure if he will return from a hamstring injury Week 4 against the Bills and said Monday he remains "day to day."

"As soon as I feel 100 percent, I’ll be out there," Foster said, per The Houston Chronicle. "It’s my hamstring’s call."

Foster worked out before Sunday's game against the Giants and admitted his leg felt "really good," but "obviously" not good enough for him to play.

"I’ve played through a lot in this league -- knees, shoulders, broken bones -- but hamstrings are the hardest thing to gauge," Foster said, "because you don’t know how it’s going to fatigue or react to a certain cut."


Who was Teddy Bridgewater throwing to?
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(2:01 pm ET) Teddy Bridgewater did not elicit as much excitement coming out of college as his fellow draft peers, and his NFL debut Sunday against the Saints reflected that. While Blake Bortles was tossing two touchdowns -- and two interceptions -- and Johnny Manziel was being used as a wide receiver on trick plays, Bridgewater came in did a solid, unspectacular job for the Vikings after Matt Cassel's injury Sunday.

Bridgewater put together a professional performance, though he didn't give the team enough to mount a comeback in the 20-9 loss. He completed 12 of 20 passes for 150 yards and added 27 on six carries, without recording a touchdown or turnover.

Bridgewater was not asked to do much, but he has plenty of weapons in this Minnesota offense, so that should change moving forward as he gets more comfortable. He targeted six players Sunday, and a breakdown of that could give Fantasy owners an idea of how he might spread the ball around moving forward:

Greg Jennings: six targets, four receptions

Cordarrelle Patterson: three targets, three receptions

Jerick McKinnon: five targets, two receptions

Matt Asiata: four targets, two receptions

Kyle Rudolph: one target, one reception

Rhett Ellison: one target, no receptions


Report: Kyle Rudolph needs surgery, out six weeks
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:00 pm ET) Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph is expected to miss six weeks after an MRI revealed he needs surgery, a source told NFL Network. Rudolph suffered a groin injury Week 3 against the Saints.

 
 
 
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