By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
If you head over to the Club Fantasy Instagram page, you can stay up to speed on all the transactions as they occur, or as fast as my graphic designer can make some bomb ass pictures for you to like. Below you’ll see how I view all of the relevant NFL offseason transactions. I say relevant because, for the purposes of fantasy football, defensive signings don’t impact us as much as the offensive ones. I’ll cover the defensive signings when I do my team-by-team previews later in the summer.
I’ll identify the player, who they signed with or were traded to, and how I think it impacts their fantasy value going into 2017, positive or negative. Next up: Martellus Bennett signs with Green Bay.
Transaction: Martellus Bennett signs with the Green Bay Packers
Fantasy Outlook: When the Patriots traded for Martellus Bennett in 2016, many of us – myself included – thought the pairing of Rob Gronkowski and Bennett would bring back memories of Gronk and Aaron Hernandez. Then Gronk got hurt and missed the bulk of the season, and Bennett was forced to carry the load himself.
Bennett had a solid season, but hardly spectacular. Maybe it was the chemistry with Tom Brady, maybe they just liked their other weapons better. Regardless, many assumed it would be a one year marriage, and that this offseason would see Bennett finding a new team. And almost on cue, Bennett landed in Green Bay and moved from one Hall of Fame quarterback in Brady to another in Packers QB Aaron Rodgers.
Green Bay has been reluctant to utilize the tight end position in recent years. Maybe it’s just because they haven’t had a solid one on the roster. Last offseason, they brought in Jared Cook on a one year deal, and while he missed much of the season with an injury, his presence was sure felt in their run through the playoffs.
The Packers hope they’re getting a more reliable version of Cook in Bennett. Bennett has experience playing in the NFC North – he played for the Chicago Bears from 2013 to 2015 – where he had two of the best seasons of his career. In 2013, Bennett caught 65 passes for 759 yards and 5 touchdowns. In 2014, he bested that with 90 catches for 916 yards and 6 TDs. All that was done with Jay Cutler at quarterback.
Then last year, with Brady, he caught 55 catches for 701 yards and 7 TDs. Anyone want to guess what he’s likely to do with Rodgers throwing him passes? I think a lot depends on what they do in the draft. The Packers receiving corps last year wasn’t its usual self. Jordy Nelson returned to stardom post ACL surgery, Davante Adams rebounded after an injury-plagued 2015, but Randall Cobb regressed. Beyond them, depth was questionable.
If the Packers don’t draft upgrades at running back or wide receiver, Bennett stands to have similar numbers to last year, when he finished 7th among TEs in fantasy football. If the running game is much improved, which could be a stretch after losing their best guard, T.J. Lang, in free agency, Bennett might be lucky to catch 500 yards and 3 TDs. As it stands now, I won’t be shy about penciling Bennett in for 60 catches for 700 yards and 5 TDs. Logic says he’ll be a great red zone target, but Jordy Nelson won’t have any of that nonsense.