Travis Benjamin to Chargers limits his fantasy value
Wide receiver Travis Benjamin and the San Diego Chargers have reportedly come to terms on a new deal, taking one of the bigger offensive names off the free agent market.
Benjamin showed what he could do when given the opportunity last year, totaling 966 yards and five touchdowns on 116 targets. While his production could be higher with the amount of targets, the quality of them wasn’t near what it will be with the Chargers.
Benjamin has seen targets from Brandon Weeden, Colt McCoy, Brian Hoyer, Jason Campbell, Johnny Manziel, Josh McCown, and Austin Davis throughout his four-year career – Not what you would call a competent bunch.
Of those quarterbacks, Josh McCown would likely be considered the closest thing to an actual quarterback. Looking at Benjamin’s 691 yards and five touchdowns through nine games with him this year is what likely raised eyebrows in not only the fantasy community, but among NFL teams like the Chargers.
The number that likely caught the Chargers eye, was the 14.1 average depth of target in those games with McCown. Benjamin is being brought in to replace the newly-retired Malcom Floyd, whose aDOT had never fallen below 15.0 over the last five years.
Philip Rivers can sling the ball deep, which netted Floyd 1.37 fantasy points per target in his career with the Chargers. That’s a big increase from Benjamin’s 1.09 that he’s had with the Browns. But if you just look at his time with McCown, he averaged 1.40.
What’s even better for Benjamin’s outlook is that he isn’t even the No. 1 receiver on the team, and he won’t get the attention that Keenan Allen gets. Benjamin is arguably a better route runner than Floyd was, and his top-end speed is as good as anyone’s in the league.
The downside to this move is that there is no way that Benjamin will see 116 targets again, without injury to Allen. The Chargers will be lining up with Allen and Benjamin on the outside, with Stevie Johnson coming into the slot on three-wide sets. This should lead to roughly 80-90 targets for Benjamin in this offense. Seeing that many targets should amount to roughly 120 fantasy points, which is WR3 territory.
He isn’t a do-it-all receiver, which takes away from the possibility of him stealing targets away from Allen. But he will have games along the way where he blows up for 120 yards and two touchdowns, making you wish you had him on your roster.
In the end, this is a great move for the Chargers from a football standpoint. From a fantasy standpoint, he will be on the tail-end of the WR3 spectrum with a bit more consistency than he had with the Browns.