Situational Buy Low: Kelvin Benjamin

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to suggest as many buy low players as I can. Walking the walk, I’ll also try to acquire these same players. I’m going to start with a few players who have been lost in the shuffle with rookie fever going around. Let’s face it. Watching where the rookies fall is what it’s all about. I love this time of year.

I want to start with some players whose situations haven’t been worsened by the addition of a veteran or a high caliber rookie at the players perspective position. Hence situational buy lows.

Kelvin Benjamin’s situation is too good to look away any longer

Over the last couple seasons, he’s become a joke in the fantasy community. Now entering his fifth season, Benjamin isn’t even funny anymore, he’s more of an afterthought. As with any of the situational buy lows, we are going to have a risk. Has the Kelvin Benjamin hate gone too far?

Why is now the time to buy Kelvin Benjamin?

Unless you’re a huge Jeremy Kerley truther, the Buffalo Bills did nothing to address their wide receiver woes. In fact, I would prefer the departed Jordan Matthews over Kerley. As of now, the Bills are set to go into training camp with Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones, and Jeremy Kerley looking to be the three main benefactors for targets. Say what you want about Kelvin’s tight-fitting clothes, but at least he was wearing some.

All jokes aside, I’m not too worried about Jones. I do expect him to have an increased role in the offense in his sophomore season, though the recent news on Zay’s knee doesn’t hurt Kelvin either. But let’s focus on  Kelvin. He’s in line to be the number one wide receiver for the Bills. At 6’5” Benjamin is a red zone threat and like it or not he has the size to get to the ball.

Deep breath, we are about to go down a bumpy road together, and I’m not sure our guts will feel the same at the end. The more we learn about Kelvin Benjamin and Buffalo the more I need a drink. This would be a good time to remind you we need our glasses half full, but not too full. Remember we are going down a bumpy road, we don’t want to spill.

Since 2014, Buffalo hasn’t targeted a receiver one hundred times or more in a season. I say to that, Tyrod Taylor wasn’t the QB in 2014 and as we know, he won’t be in 2018. As fun and flash as Tyrod Taylor is and as great of Fantasy quarterback he can be I don’t view him as the type of QB to help get the maximum potential from your Fantasy receivers. While not as flashy I believe A.J. McCarron and or Josh Allen, along with the new coaching staff, will help Kelvin Benjamin. He needs around 120 targets to meet the expectations I’m going to heap on him.

Where will the targets come from?

We can’t put too much stock into what happened on the Buffalo Bills in 2017. Benjamin played in just six games for the Bills last year and only saw 27 targets. Averaging less than five targets per game is not enough for me to be interested in Kelvin Benjamin let alone to project him as a top twenty wide receiver.

Not to worry though, there should be plenty of targets left behind to go around. Never mind the fact that we have to go back to 2016 to find them. When Mike Gillislee, Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, and Marquise Goodwin departed for other teams in 2017, they left behind 207 targets. With Zay Jones, Jeremy Kerley, and Charles Clay the only real threats for targets outside of LeSean McCoy, Kelvin should be targeted early and often. Eight targets or more a game should be our expectation.

While Kelvin Benjamin is a buy low based on his current situation, to see what he’s truly capable of we need to look at his first couple of healthy seasons as a Panther.

As a rookie, he surpassed 1,000 yards with Cam Newton and again just shy of 1,000 in 2016. In 2017 Benjamin played another eight games with Cam Newton before being traded. In these games, he added another 475 yards and could have hit 1,000 yards for the 2nd time in his career.

As I mentioned above about Tyrod Taylor, Cam Newton is a great fantasy QB, but I’ve never looked at him as the type of QB to help his receivers. While A.J. McCarron and Josh Allen will never be as fun to own as Cam Newton, I wouldn’t say it’s a huge downgrade for the pass catchers. After all, Kelvin Benjamin has only had mobile QBs passing him the ball thus far in his career and should benefit from traditional pocket passers. I don’t think 70 receptions and 950-1,000 yards is out of the question at all. If we use that as the threshold, Benjamin is with some pretty decent company. To get an idea of the type of season that is below are some players with similar stats.

I’m not saying that I prefer Kelvin Benjamin over any of the above wide receivers, not at all. But based on his cost….These numbers aren’t at all out of reach.  With an entire offseason with the Bills, Benjamin should be acclimated to the offense and enter week one as solidified WR1 on the team. With the new coaching staff, they want to make sure Benjamin can fit with the new offense before they commit to him. In a contract year, Benjamin will have additional motivation to prove he’s a valuable receiving option.

Benjamin is a tricky asset to acquire via trade unless he hits the trade block or someone sells cheap during a rookie draft. He’s that player everyone wants to hate until asked about him. As soon as interest is shown the price goes up. He needs to be a throw-in, someone you add in once a deal is close to done. It shouldn’t be tough to have him added for a small piece, maybe a handcuff to a starting RB on your trade partners team.

Benjamin is being drafted in some cases as WR50 give or take. He’s one of the biggest draft day bargains you could have in a startup this year. Wide receivers drafted in the same area are Corey Coleman, Anthony Miller, Dede Westbrook, James Washington, and even Chris Hogan. Give me KB all day here. As cheap as Kelvin Benjamin is this year it will be tough to get burned.

Put me down for 70 receptions, 1,100 yards, and 7 TDs. This should be good enough for a top 25 wideout finish.

Thanks for reading. What do you think Kelvin Benjamin will do in 2018? Are you willing to buy-low on him? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @DFF_Swag.


Shane Swaget @DFF_Swag Host of Fantasy Football Breakdown podcast! Creator of FLA Census rankings Writer for @DFF_Dynasty, #DynastyFootball #DFFArmy

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