Six years into his NFL career, former Oklahoma receiver Mark Clayton was having his best season. Acquired by St. Louis during the preseason, he became an instant favorite of rookie quarterback Sam Bradford, catching 23 balls for 306 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, Clayton went down five minutes into Sunday’s game running a route up the sideline (video at NFL.com). His absence took a major weapon away from Bradford and the Rams offense, and the sad news is Clayton has a torn patella tendon and will be done for the year.
The injury is equally devastating for the Rams and Clayton. Clayton was set to cash in as a free agent following his big year. The Rams meanwhile have now lost two of their top receivers for the season because of knee injuries — Donnie Avery in the preseason, and Clayton. Not all will be lost in fantasy land — second year receiver out of Texas Tech, Danny Amendola, becomes the hot pickup if he’s still available in your league.
Amendola was averaging five catches per game before the Clayton injury, and with Mark out he emerged as Sam Bradford’s favorite target, seeing 19 balls thrown his way. He made 12 catches for 95 yards but still has yet to find the end zone. If you’re in a point-per-reception league, Amendola will have extra value, but he’s still a nice addition to your roster, especially if you lost Clayton.
The other Rams receiver to watch is Brandon Gibson. The second-year man out of Washington State has seen 18 targets on the year and was on the field a lot more after Clayton got hurt. He’s more of a stretch, but keep your eye on him if you’re desperate. For now, Amendola is the man.
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