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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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(12:19 pm ET) Rams receiver Tavon Austin admitted to the Associated Press that he didn't grasp the playbook as a rookie, especially early in the season. "I didn't really know what was going on," Austin said. "Everything looked like Spanish and sounded like Spanish to me."

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"This is the NFL, you're not going to play this game until you're 45 or 50," said running backs coach Sam Gash, a former Pro Bowl fullback. "A lot of people, especially the media, try to make it out, 'He's got to last.' He'll last as long as he's meant to last.

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Most Fantasy owners are leery of Romo because of his back and a track record of letting people down. Forget about that. The Cowboys will have trouble stopping people on defense, and the addition of new playcaller Scott Linehan will help Romo shine.

I love Romo as a Top 10 Fantasy quarterback, and he is a breakout candidate even at this stage of his career. For more on why, check out my column here.


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