If somehow you haven’t heard … today is Pi Day! It’s one of those days when nerds unite to point out that the date on the calendar (3/14) is the same as that irrational number that describes the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.
(Although we secretly hoped today would be a day-long celebration of the intricacies of the pass interference rule. What? It’s not PI Day?)
While we could regale you with a recitation of an infinitely long number or point out all the improbabilities of a 16-year old boy making a trans-ocean voyage while trapped on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger, there are other forms of nerdism that we prefer to engage in here on “This or That.”
Namely, we want to figure out who will have a larger slice of the fantasy football pie (see what we did there?) in 2013 — Danny Amendola or Wes Welker? It’s a Red Raider Rivalry … a Slot Receiver Showdown. Lubbock might not be big enough for the both of them. Time to go to the tape!
This or That: Danny Amendola or Wes Welker?
Age: I’d like to give Welker a bonus point for sharing a birthday with me, but that that point gets taken away since he’ll be 32 before the 2013 season kicks off. That fact probably had a lot to do with why he’ll play his home games much further above sea level this year. Similarly, I can give Amendola kudos for sharing a birthday with my beloved mom. Even better for Amendola, we’ll be about midway through the season before he turns 28. Two is better than none!
Rankings history: In the past four seasons, Welker has finished in the top 12 among receivers three times. The only time he missed the mark was 2010 which turned out to be a down season as he recovered from major knee reconstruction. Even then, he ended the season ranked 23rd at the position — which is better than anything Amendola has ever accomplished.
Injury: What good is a fantasy receiver if he can’t stay on the field? That was the biggest caveat about Amendola among the NFL.com fantasy staff when we took up the question in Thursday’s Instant Debate. For all of his talent, he’s missed 20 games over the past two seasons. Welker has missed just four games over an entire nine-year career. No one ever earned fantasy points from the bench.
Beefs: As well as being physically tough, you want a player on your fantasy roster that can stand up to the mental rigors of an NFL season — namely, can they handle a little beef? We all know that Welker can handle a little criticism. He took a Twitter lickin’ from Gisele Bundchen and kept on tickin’, catching 118 passes the following season. On the other hand, it seems like Amendola has taken to starting beef with unsuspecting ushers. I kid, especially since Amendola later apologized to the man. Although, does that somehow make him less tough? Let me think on that one.
Supporting cast: Amendola walks into a situation where the top two targets on the roster are tight ends — more proof that this isn’t your big brother’s NFL. But there should be opportunities abounding for him to catch passes since the Patriots are expected to part ways with Brandon Lloyd and are fairly bereft of proven receivers. Meanwhile, Welker goes to a team that already has two quality wideouts in Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker and has a pretty good tight end in Jacob Tamme. There’s a great chef under center serving up meals, but even for Peyton Manning, that’s a lot of mouths to feed.
Schedule: The Broncos gallop away with this one. When it comes to overall strength of schedule for 2013, Denver is tops — they face teams that posted a combined winning percentage of .430 in 2012. The Pats rank in the bottom half of the league with the 14th-toughest schedule. Likewise, the Broncos have the fourth-most forgiving schedule for fantasy wideouts in 2013. The Patriots? Dead last.
Follicle follies: At first I was fully prepared to award this round to Welker. After all, he spent some time rocking this glorious mustache during his time in New England. Then I was reminded of this. Dirty pool, Mr. Welker. While Danny Amendola hasn’t treated us to any particularly over-the-top styles, it seems safe to say that all of his hair is his own.
There you have it. The tête-à-tête was expected to be close … and it was. And by a nose, Wes Welker is your winner. Looks like the veteran gets to own bragging rights around Texas Tech for the time being.
— Marcas Grant
Follow Marcas on Twitter @MarcasG