There were dynasty ownerts who thought Martellus Bennett’s career may be done after the Green Bay Packers released him. After all, he announced his retirement at the end of the season and was struggling to really get going this season.
It didn’t take long before he was back in business, as he latched on with the New England Patriots for a second go around. Let’s look at what this means for the players involved.
Martellus Bennett, TE NE
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You may remember that Martellus Bennett had over 700 yards and seven touchdowns with the Patriots last season. It is important to note that four of his seven touchdowns came in games that Rob Gronkowski was out last season. However, in games that both he and Gronk were on the field together, Bennett put up a line of 34-412-3 on 43 targets.
I know those three touchdowns came all in his single week five performance, but the numbers demonstrate that Bennett and Gronk can play nicely together. I should touch on something else here. You might be tempted to say Tom Brady is an upgrade over Brett Hundley, and duh. However, did you know that Bennett failed to top 45 yards even with Aaron Rodgers at the helm?
I wrote before the season that Mike McCarthy doesn’t often target his tight ends, which led to me being off the Bennett train. However, that wasn’t the problem with the Packers. In fact, Bennett saw 13.1 % of the team’s targets this season.
So, what we have is a guy who has a history of producing, but is struggling this season. He’s returning to a team where he’s found success, but is already talking about his own retirement. I wouldn’t rush out to acquire him, but the Patriots do love to use two tight end sets. If you can acquire him for a 2018 third or later, I think you have to at least consider that if you need some tight end depth.
Rob Gronkowski, TE NE
You have absolutely nothing to worry about if you own Rob Gronkowski. He is still one of the top tight ends in the game, and only health is holding him back. Bennett should have little-to-no impact on his role. There’s a chance the touchdown total is slightly capped because Bennett is another red zone threat, but Gronk will still smash. Oh yes, Gronk smash good.
New England Wide Receivers
This shouldn’t have a huge impact on the wide receivers, but it is worth noting. There’s already a ton of mouths to feed with Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, and Danny Amendola all on the team. Chris Hogan is currently wearing a sling for his shoulder, so some of his potential absence targets might go to Bennett rather than Amendola. That said, I don’t see a dip in current production or targets for any of the receivers.
New England Running Backs
I can see this hurting the running backs, but not in terms of the run game. Did you know that James White has seen 17.4% of all the Patriots’ targets this season? No? How about that the running backs combined have seen 25.2%? That’s right. They have seen over a fourth of the targets! The addition of another healthy option should eat into that a bit.
Dwayne Allen, TE NE
Dwayne Allen has a long history of not living up to his potential, and that’s continued with the Patriots. In eight games with the team, he has six targets for zero catches. The move to bring back Martellus Bennett means any hope of him redeeming value is gone. Feel free to relegate him to the waiver wire.
Tom Brady, QB NE
It’s been a good couple of weeks for Old Tommy Boy. He’s seen his primary backup traded, and he gained another weapon. The addition of Bennett shouldn’t mean a huge increase in production for Brady, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Adding another red zone weapon always helps your quarterback.
Lance Kendricks, TE GB
Lance Kendricks is probably the biggest beneficiary of this whole ordeal. He goes from being targeted 12 times all season to the likely primary tight end for the Packers. It’s not as enviable a position as it may have been at the beginning of the season with Aaron Rodgers out, but Hundley should rely on his safety blanket a good amount. Just to give you an idea, Hundley targeted Bennett 17 times in four games as a starter.
Don’t get overexcited though. Sure, tight ends break out late, but Kendricks is 29 and his best season was back in 2012 when he put up 519 yards and four touchdowns. Still, he should be usable. If you don’t own one of the top tight ends you’re really rolling the dice on the position this year anyway.
Brett Hundley, QB GB
It’s not much of a secret. Hundley is struggling. The Packers have lost three of the four games he’s started, and he has a 1:4 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his four starts. Not that Bennett was amounting to much, but getting rid of one of the starters on offense doesn’t seem likely to help the Packers with the problems Hundley has been having. Hundley is still worth owning in superflex or 2QB leagues, but if you’re relying on him then your season is likely as done as the Packers is.
Aaron Rodgers, QB GB
You might find yourself wondering why I am writing about Aaron Rodgers when he likely isn’t playing until next season. Well, Bennett was signed through the end of the 2018 season as well. This article is both a reaction to his release, signing by the Patriots, and announcement of his retirement.
It shouldn’t impact Rodgers to any significant degree. I’m convinced that you could put a lawn chair out on the field, and Rodgers could find a way to make it into a relevant receiver. He will be fine without Bennett in 2018.
Green Bay Running Backs
I know. You think, “you’re joking”, but I’m not. Did you know between 2009 and 2015 Bennett didn’t rank lower than 20th in run blocking according to PFF? I can’t find his grades for the past two seasons, but it’s hard to imagine his skills deteriorated to a level where he wasn’t at least still decent.
Owners of Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery have more of a reason to worry than just the running back by committee. In case you were curious, Lance Kendricks currently ranks 42nd of 72 qualified tight ends in run blocking. That’s one less guy opening lanes for a run game already having problems.
That should about cover it. ‘Martellus Rex’ is taking his prehistoric ferocity back to New England in the hopes of scoring another Super Bowl ring, but it shouldn’t have a significant impact on your fantasy rosters. Just enjoy the end of what has been a very interesting career.
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