All About the Benjamin: Kelvin Benjamin traded to Buffalo

Bobby Koch

Just when we all thought it was safe to go back to writing our articles without worrying if another player had been traded, we find out Kelvin Benjamin has been traded to the Buffalo Bills for a third and seventh round pick in next year’s NFL Draft. This trade is not only one of the biggest for what had already been an active trade deadline, but also has major ramifications in dynasty leagues. Let’s look at what this means for everyone involved.

Kelvin Benjamin, WR BUF

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This trade obviously came as a surprise to many. Sure, Kelvin Benjamin has been his usual inconsistent self, putting up good games surrounded by games where he can’t seem to do anything with his volume, but I don’t think anyone thought the Panthers were growing as frustrated with him as some of his fantasy owners. It feels as if the Panthers are attempting to place the blame for Cam Newton’s inconsistency squarely at the feet of Benjamin.

In Buffalo, Benjamin will instantly become the top option on a Bills team that is doing everything it can to seize the opportunity to steal the AFC East Crown from the Patriots. Benjamin gives Buffalo the outside receiver they desperately needed and allows them to give up on the failed experiment of making Zay Jones an outside threat. It also gives Tyrod Taylor a legitimate option to throw to as he continues his audition for a starting gig next year.

In regards to fantasy value, you’d think it’d hurt Benjamin’s value to go from receiving passes from Cam Newton to Taylor. However, over the last three weeks, Newton has only posted 5.12 yards per attempt and has more interceptions than touchdowns. Meanwhile, Taylor’s deep ball should have owners salivating at what the combo can do.

Benjamin has been valued as the WR31 according to DLF’s latest October ADP, and that should remain fairly stable. One major question that needs to be answered for dynasty purposes is who will be throwing the ball to Benjamin next season? It’s possible that his value takes a slight hit because of the uncertainty, but hopefully, Tyrod continues to make it a difficult decision for the Bills – that uncertainty should provide a good buy opportunity for those who believe his value has gone up.


Tyrod Taylor, QB BUF

You must wonder if the Bills are changing their tune on Tyrod. They seemed determined to let him fail with the likes of Deonte Thompson and Andre Holmes but then swung a trade for a star receiver despite shipping one out earlier this season. As I already mentioned, adding Benjamin certainly increases Taylor’s value this season and increases his chances of starting, whether for the Bills or elsewhere next season as well.




Jordan Matthews, WR BUF

If anything, the move should help Matthews. He hasn’t performed to expectations to date with only two games where he’s managed 50 or more yards on the season and one touchdown to date. He has been dealing with a chest injury, but the move takes the attention of the defense’s top guy off him. You may be thinking it hurts him because he’s no longer the top dog in Buffalo, but don’t forget if the arrangement doesn’t work out for him, he’s a free agent next season.


Zay Jones, WR BUF

If this trade hurts anyone, it’s the second round pick out of East Carolina. In case you hadn’t heard by now, Jones has 37 targets on the season, which he has managed to turn into ten receptions, 115 yards, and no touchdowns. Ouch. He did just have his best game of the season when he caught three-of-five targets for 32 yards, but this has to be discouraging to his owners.  The majority of hope for his value was based on the fact he could possibly end up the primary target for the Bills next season. Not so anymore, but that may be best for him. I may be a Jones apologist, but I believe, as I mentioned earlier, that moving him back to the slot once Matthews leaves is the best course of action.


Cam Newton, QB CAR

I’m not sure I understand the logic from the Panthers here at all. Your quarterback is struggling to return to form from his shoulder surgery, and you go and trade his top option. I have to believe it’s because they know they have Greg Olsen back soon, but I was already starting to lose a little faith in Cam. Trading away the player who accounted for 50% of Newton’s passing touchdowns in ’14 and 36% in 2016 certainly doesn’t help.


Devin Funchess, WR CAR

Until Olsen comes back, you’re looking at Cam’s top target. In fact, since Olsen went down, Funchess has seen 50 targets over six games which he has turned into 27 receptions for 269 yards and three touchdowns. He had back-to-back great performances in week four and week five, but has tapered off since.

How much of that is on him versus how much is on Cam being inaccurate with his passes lately is hard to decipher. The Panthers brass clearly trusts him enough to make him at a minimum the second best option in the passing game when Olsen comes back. You have to imagine his ADP will go up as a result.


Curtis Samuel, WR CAR

The trade also has to be seen as a positive for the second round pick out of Ohio State. On the season, Samuel has only seen 14 targets and has continually seen under 30% of the offensive snap share except for week three. Samuel should see his value go up as a result of the trade and a savvy owner might look to acquire him on the cheap instead of focusing on Funchess.


This trade ended what turned out to be a Madden-like deadline day. We saw the likes of Jay Ajayi, Jimmy Garoppolo, and of course, Kelvin Benjamin change teams. It will certainly be exciting to see how each adapts to their new team.