So after I posted the Stock Up/Down article on Reddit, a user (ZeeArrGee) argued that former Browns WR Travis Benjamin has landed in a better situation, especially because he will have a better QB throwing him the ball. It really made me think and here’s what I came up with
Benjamin’s 2015 key stats:
966 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns: 123.8 fantasy points (Standard Leagues/no W17 stats)
8.25 fantasy points per game
5 game with 10+ points
7 games with less than 5 points
Games watched: 2015: W16 @ KC (20 yards); W6 vs DEN (117 yards); W2 vs TEN (115 yards/TD); W8 vs ARI (26 yards)
Tale of the Tape:
This is a small and very light player: 5’7’’ & 175 lbs. However, this didn’t stop him from becoming a number one WR in Cleveland. He has a killer speed and a lot of quickness to beat the defenders when making cuts including a great ability to use his breaks on curl and hitch routes. And because of that he barely faces man press, which allows him to get open more often on short to intermediate passes. The QB situation in Cleveland really hurt him, because he was open several times and the ball just didn’t get to him.
On this game against Arizona he could only receive for 26 yards but he managed to beat defenders more than once (including standout cornerback Patrick Peterson):
Even with a tight man coverage, Benjamin gets open with a solid cut to complete a slant route on a 3rd & 12 to go.
You can see that he is almost three yards away from the nearest defender. On this game Josh McCown was under a lot of pressure and wasn’t able to make the proper reads, but the WR delivered a solid game.
On the next play, Benjamin runs a hitch route on the left side against Patrick Peterson:
Although he tries to fool Peterson on the first four yards, the defender maintains a very good stand and mirrors the WR like the elite CB he is:
But when Travis Benjamin hit the brakes and finishes the route, the defender is unable to cover him no more and gives the 17-yard reception thanks to almost three separation yards:
Another example of his good footwork and the ability to take advantage of the coverage is the next play versus the Denver Broncos. Again he runs a hitch route on the left side on 3rd & 10 to get the first down:
The Broncos are playing on a zone coverage and off man, that way Benjamin has the edge that allows him to stay away for almost 5 yards from the nearest defender at the end of the route and gets his team a new set of downs:
This young player was a WR3 with flex potential at best last season (on 10-team Standard Leagues), even though he was a WR1 and by far the best one at his position. One of his biggest obstacles in Cleveland was the fact that he had to face top Cornerbacks every game, and when one of them got his hands on him it was really tough for Benjamin to disengage. And of course the QB situation with Manziel-McCown.
Now in San Diego, he has a very good WR that can play as a split end (X WR) like Keenan Allen who will get the more physical CB and the best ones. Meanwhile Benjamin can play as the flanker (Z WR) to avoid contact, be in motion and use his speed to beat the second-string CB.
With all that in mind, we could see a raise on Benjamin and Rivers’s production on 2016. The former Brown could surpass the 1000 receiving yards, and more importantly, be a more reliable and consistent option for your flex spot. So, to conclude, his stock went up or at least deserves the “Wildcard” status.