As brothers often do, I disagree with Ryan Bonini’s assessment of Martellus Bennett as we revisit the fantasy prospects of the new Green Bay Packers tight end.
Back in March, when Bennett inked with the Pack, Ryan wrote, “Fantasy football players should rely on Bennett as a midrange TE1 in all formats. He’ll see a little extra bump in PPR flavors.”
As the more handsome, wiser and overall better Bonini brother, I have full authority to say Ryan is clueless on this one. Bennett is a fine talent, and also as the (heavy on the) elder Bonini noted, Bennett has adapted quickly to his new surroundings during the veteran’s career. While I won’t dispute that truth, my protest is that Bennett is a “midrange TE1” and also that he gets a bump in PPR formats. Hogwash.
Bennett greatly benefited from the Patriots losing Rob Gronkowski last year. In Green Bay, short of losing Jordy Nelson, there is no other player nearly as important to this franchise as Gronk is to New England. Green Bay has so many weapons — and yes, as Ryan said, so do the Patriots — that it’s difficult to assume Bennett slides in unscathed. If anything, his value is increased in non-PPR due to a likely bump in touchdown receptions on fewer catches, especially if one of my sleeper projections, running back Jamaal Williams, falls flat in the red zone.
Midrange TE1 value places Bennett somewhere in the neighborhood of TE5-TE8, if we’re being picky, and I am. That assumes Bennett falls behind an unsorted crop of Gronk, Jordan Reed, Travis Kelce and Greg Olsen. In Ryan’s world, Bennett joins the ranks of Jimmy Graham, Delanie Walker, Kyle Rudolph and Tyler Eifert. Toss in a few other contenders for that tier (Hunter Henry, Zach Ertz, Jack Doyle) and it is easy to see just how far Bennett could tumble from this perceived perch. More realistically, Marty B. is a fringe starter or matchup play.
In 2016, three of Bennett’s seven scores came in one game. Of his 701 yards, 46 percent came in three contests. Six of his 16 games offered no more than two catches. This is a theme during his career. Going back to his 2014 outburst of 90-916-6, four of those TDs came in the first three games.
Cutting to the chase: For as much fun as it can be to disagree with my brother, the point of this was to be clearer with just what owners should expect from a “midrange” tight end. Gamers who think Bennett will be consistent enough to contribute on a weekly basis fall into Ryan’s camp. Otherwise, history makes it easy to see how Bennett’s season-long stats usually are more impressive than his weekly importance to fantasy rosters.