Martellus Bennett, #27 on our list of the top 30 fantasy relevant players that may change teams…
Martellus Bennett is best known for silly antics; like humorous homemade rapsongs that overly sensitive people get all huffy about and home videos on YouTube that occasionally reveal his manhood. What he should be known for is the fact that he may be one of the top three blocking tight ends in the game. Bennett was taken in the second round (30th overall) of the 2008 draft and has played sparingly as the understudy and back up to Jason Witten. At 6’6, 267 lbs, Bennett is an exceptional blocker and athlete. His 33 catches in 2010 represent his career high, but he has not visited the end zone since his four scores as a rookie.
Even while Jerry Jones is publically takes the position that he has no intentions of trading Bennett, rumors abound that the Cowboys may be willing to part with the talented, occasionally unfocused young tight end. It makes sense to a certain extent. Bennett is underutilized and is entering the final year of his rookie contract. He’ll be looking for a pay day in 2011 and the Cowboys are deep at the position. Witten is outstanding and Martin Rucker is an adequate back up.
Dave Halprin of Bloggingtheboys.com points out that John Phillips had essentially taken over the #2 TE role ahead of Bennett before being lost for the season before it began. Despite the fact that Bennett has not proven to be quite the pass catcher many expected, teams will certainly express interest and the Cowboys have areas of need that their TE surplus could help to fill.
The question is who longs for a starting tight end enough to bargain with the Boys for Bennett? The Cowboys may have a tough time getting a good return on investment from a tight end drafted 30th overall (how many teams are willing to give up a top 30 pick for a TE?). Before last season, Peter King wondered aloud whether the Cowboys would be willing to take a second round pick for the young TE. His conclusion was no, they would not part with him for a second. The release of Jeremy Shockey may throw a further wrench in the works. He is going to sure up the TE position for some team before Bennett has a chance to be shopped around. Then are the questions of maturity.
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From a fantasy football perspective Bennett is no lock to be a productive TE. There is a very good chance he goes to a team that chooses to take advantage of him as an inline blocker more than a passing target. Some have even speculated that teams may want to convert him to an offensive tackle. He may also never fulfill his pass catching potential. He has shown signs of brilliant talent, but he also displayed a clear lack of focus and a penchant for the dropsies. One thing is for sure, he is not going to amount to much staying in Big D. The Cowboys have done a terrific job of amassing offensive weapons and Bennett is way down the list.
Here are some possible landing spots for Martellus Bennett:
Denver Broncos – Josh McDaniels left the cupboard pretty bare at TE after shipping Tony Scheffler to Detroit for a bag of footballs. The latest Drafttek.com mock has the Broncos taking former ND standout Kyle Rudolf with the 4th pick of the second round (36th overall) of the 2011 draft. The Broncos also have the 46th overall pick later in the round (received as compensation for Brandon Marshall). The Broncos would be wise to try to plug a defensive hole with the 36th pick and send the 46th to Dallas for Bennett.
Atlanta Falcons – They have a tough decision to make on hall of fame bound Tony Gonzalez. He just turned 35 and will be entering his 15th year in the NFL. Even if the Falcons keep him on their roster, and they likely will, Bennett could come on board as the heir apparent. This would mean that 2011 would be another year where he will see minimal production, but it would bump him in dynasty value.
St. Louis Rams – The Rams would do well to upgrade Sam Bradford’s targets. Daniel Fells is decent; he managed 41 catches for 391 yards and 3 TDs in 2011. He is not dynamic, however, and the young QB could use a valve receiver with more game breaking potential. This would be a good fantasy fit. Unless the Rams upgrade their receivers they have no clear stud catching passes for uber-talented Sam Bradford.
Arizona Cardinals – The Cardinals need to get a new QB and then they need to get that QB a TE who can catch. They have a very good and deep group of wide receivers and their running backs can catch, so a pass catching TE is not among their most pressing needs, but it would help. Bennett could excel in this situation. If the Cardinals do as Larry Fitzgerald has requested and get Kevin Kolb, Bennett would benefit from Kolb’s tendency to look for the TE often. The problem is that if the Cardinals acquire a QB they would have to give up draft picks and may have none left for bartering for Bennett.
Buffalo Bills – Shawn Nelson has been a disappointment. Aside from being suspended for the first four games of last season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy he has failed to make headlines. There is no other answer at TE on the Bill’s roster. They sorely need more targets in the passing game and at the right price Bennett could really help make the offense less predictable.