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The Kelvin Benjamin Long Game


Yesterday was a rough day for Kelvin Benjamin primarily because it could have been a monster. Benjamin drew a pass interference in the end zone, that if it had been a TD, would have salvaged a lackluster day. On another route in the end zone he lost a ball while turning his head around. Cam Newton had thrown a perfect ball that should have hit Benjamin in the hands. Between these two “could have beens”, his drops, and his fumble, he left a big one out on the field. For what it’s worth, I’m not really worried about KB’s drops. Most people only care about a high drop rate as it relates to receivers they’re already not fans of. For instance, nobody ever brings up Brandon Marshall’s drop rate. That’s because they correctly focus on the total value of his targets, rather than some component of his targets that only matters to the extent that it’s part of the bigger picture.

Benjamin’s missed big day is too bad because he also has a pretty difficult stretch of schedule coming up in the next three weeks. CIN, GB, and SEA are all above average at restricting WR fantasy points. Here’s the image from the Buy Low Machine.


As a note on methodology, everything in The Buy Low Machine is based on adjusting for opponent. So CIN, GB and SEA only get points for being a good defense against WRs if they hold opposing WRs to fewer points than they usually score. This calculation is made on the team level.

While Benjamin’s schedule is getting more difficult in the near term, the clouds also part in Week 9 and he has the easiest schedule in the league from that game through the end of the fantasy playoffs. So my point here is that Benjamin could be a pretty important piece for a playoff run. While it might be nice to offload Benjamin and let him sit on another team’s roster while he goes through the next three weeks, the fantasy trade market isn’t usually liquid enough to allow for easily reacquiring him before Week 9. If Benjamin over-performs his matchups against CIN, GB, and SEA, then he’s going to be tough to get back.

So there’s a long game required when thinking about trading him. First, yesterday’s down game might have impacted the KB trade market enough that you won’t get full value (oversized receiver seeing 26% of his team’s passing targets) for him anyway. Then even if you do trade him now, you’re probably going to want him back at some point anyway.

I’m all for out-thinking myself as it relates to fantasy trades, but even I can’t talk myself into trading Benjamin now and then trying to buy low later on. I mean unless you dare me to do it. In which case I might just have to try.

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