Have you ever picked up a tube of superglue and thought, “What would happen if I glued two of my fingers together?” It’s a ridiculous thing to wonder because you already know the answer. If things ended there, we would move on with our day, but you and I both know that isn’t where this story goes. Instead, like the apes we all used to be, you take the glue, put a healthy dot on your thumb, then make contact between the opposable appendage and your pointer finger. Why would you do such an idiotic thing when you knew the outcome? One may ask themselves the same question when putting Sammy Watkins in their lineups this week. With that, I bring you this week’s Five Burning Questions.
1.) Why do people continue to glue their fingers together?
I’ll leave the mechanics of this one to somebody well-versed in the human psyche, but as somebody who pulled Jason Witten for Rob Gronkowski at the last second this past Thursday, I am here to tell you that the glue doesn’t come off any easier the 50th time than it did the first.
As this point, we have mounds of evidence to suggest playing barely healthy players, even the really good ones, is a bad plan. Their ceilings are never as high as we think and their floors are one target from a third string quarterback on Thursday Night Football when no teams score points anyway. Just as starting Calvin Johnson during his multiple decoy stints the last few years was a futile exercise, so is using Watkins this, and any subsequent week, until he is at least somewhat healthy.
Put down the glue. If you don’t, it won’t end well for anybody but your opponent. Yes, these questions actually have a point. Except this next one.
2.) Have you really glued your fingers together?
Have you ever lifted up a blanket to smell a trapped fart?
3.) What do you make of Travis Benjamin?
Expected to fill the Malcom Floyd role, Benjamin came to the Chargers with a ceiling of maybe 60 catches, 1,000 yards and a handful of touchdowns. All this would be useful to us, but hardly the stuff of a regular contributor to a fantasy title. Of course that potential ceiling changed when Keenan Allen tore his ACL, thrusting the little speedster into a more prominent role in a pretty prolific offense thanks to Philip Rivers, a surging Melvin Gordon, and, at the time, the superb Danny Woodhead. With Allen out and Woodhead right behind him, Benjamin now finds himself with the weight of the offense on his diminutive shoulders.
Evidence from the first two games of the season shows Benjamin is going to be deployed in a much different manor than anticipated. Exhibit A: Of his 15 targets (including one on a play nullified by penalty), nine have been within six yards of the line of scrimmage. By my expert calculations, Benjamin’s average depth of target (ADOT) on the season is 9.1, a far cry from the 14.1 in Josh McCown started games in 2015. With short game experts Allen and Woodhead on the mend, this is a trend I’m confident will endure for the remainder of the NFL season.
When you combine Benjamin’s target volume with this type of usage, then add in a dash of “slicker than you think” route running and those 4.36 wheels, you get a high floor, high ceiling producer. I am well aware this won’t last forever, making him more of a short term play (although, he will still be very useful in 2017 and beyond). I am also aware Benjamin has issues beating the press (something their usage of him on screens and quick slants will help negate). But I can’t really see how he isn’t at the very least a WR2 for the rest of the season. Personally, I’m looking at him as a top 15-18 option.
4.) How do I know if I should trade for players on IR?
Making moves for a player like Keenan Allen can be risky business. Aside from the obvious questions about injury recovery, committing a sizeable investment to something you won’t see a return on for twelve months can really hamper your chances during the current season. With this being common sense, the owners most likely to make the jump for an Allen-type would be those in possession of a rebuild or reload. Moving current production for future returns is a pretty basic way to improve your odds in subsequent seasons and something we have all done with regularity when the situation calls for it.
Owners of depleted rosters aren’t the only ones who should get in on the fun. If you have a team stacked to the gills with talent or rich in future picks, you ought to be on the horn to Allen’s owner with the quickness. Having the likes of Kelvin Benjamin as your WR6 rarely does you any good. Instead of having him rot on your bench, throw in a late second and go after Allen. Your 2017 team will thank you.
5.) Who is more upset you are writing this on Saturday evening instead of when you were supposed to: your deadline watching editor, Ken Kelly, or your endlessly patient for reasons nobody understands wife?
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