Kelvin Benjamin will look to prove he can be the No. 1 receiver for the Bills this season after he was dealt to Buffalo in the middle of the 2017 campaign from Carolina. In six games with Buffalo, Benjamin had just 16 catches for 217 yards and one touchdown on 27 targets. He failed to score double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in any of those outings, and his best game came in Week 16 at New England when he had five catches for 70 yards on seven targets. He had minor knee surgery in January, but he's expected to be ready for offseason workouts. And Buffalo will have a new starting quarterback after Tyrod Taylor was traded to Cleveland -- either rookie Josh Allen or free agent A.J. McCarron. Benjamin has to rebuild his reputation as a Fantasy asset after his performance in 2017, and it seems like a long time ago that he was a star as a rookie with 73 catches for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns for the Panthers. He's in a potential contract year, which hopefully will provide some additional motivation, but no one is counting on Benjamin as a Fantasy starter. He's only worth drafting with a mid- to late-round pick in the majority of leagues, and we'd all love to see a rebound year from him in 2018.
Benjamin (knee) is in uniform for Friday night's preseason game against the Browns, Sal Capaccio of WGR Sports Radio 550 reports. The wideout appeared to be dealing with some knee soreness earlier in the week, but his presence on the field Friday suggests that the issue was minor.
Benjamin was sporting an ice pack on his right knee after taking limited reps at Wednesday's practice, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com reports. Benjamin tore the meniscus in the same knee last season, leading to absences in Weeks 11 and 12 and eventually surgery in January. He didn't seem to have any limitations throughout the Bills' offseason program and into training camp until his practice reps were cut back Tuesday and Wednesday. After catching all four of his targets for 59 yards and a touchdown in last week's preseason opener against Carolina, the 27-year-old wideout seems to be in danger of missing Friday's exhibition in Cleveland, though there's no indication his knee issue is serious.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott said Benjamin has looked healthy throughout OTAs and appears leaner, stronger and faster than in 2017, when the wideout was playing hurt for much of the campaign, Dominic LoVallo of the Bills' official site reports. Benjamin burst onto the scene as a first-round rookie with Carolina in 2014, catching 73 balls for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns, but his development has been slowed by injuries ever since. Even though he showed signs of promise following his trade to the Bills last season, Benjamin struggled to gain separation from cornerbacks and only hit the 70-yard mark once in seven games with Buffalo, including the team's playoff loss, when he was held to just nine yards. Benjamin's size and strength are right up there with any receiver in the league, so it'll be worth watching to see if he truly does regain some explosiveness. While the Bills have a new offense without much established talent and a major question mark at quarterback, Benjamin will be the clear No. 1 wideout and could prove to be a sneaky source of value with his disappointing production in recent seasons likely to reduce his draft-day price.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott said Thursday that Benjamin has been "practicing fully" and is "off to a good start" during OTAs, Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News reports. Though he suited up for 14 games between the Panthers and Bills in 2017, Benjamin battled knee issues for a large portion of the campaign, limiting him to 48 receptions for 692 yards and three scores. Shortly after the Bills were eliminated in the wild-card round, Benjamin underwent surgery to repair his meniscus, a procedure that required only a couple months for the wideout to make a full recovery. It's an encouraging sign that Benjamin is facing no limitations this early in the offseason program, but the Bills could still opt to manage his reps carefully once training camp rolls around in order to keep the 27-year-old at full strength entering his first full season in Buffalo. Assuming the knee issues are a thing of the past, Benjamin could have some bounce-back appeal as the clear No. 1 target in a Buffalo passing game.
The news continues to be all positive on Benjamin after the receiver had issues with his knee for much of the 2017 season, Dominic LoVallo of the Bills' official site reports. "I definitely want to come in and make this one of my best OTAs, you know, since I've been in the league," said Benjamin. "It's the right weight in the right places. I just leaned up around the waist, the abs are back out, stronger in my legs, you know and I'm stronger in my knees." Benjamin has been given a clean bill of health following offseason surgery and also plans to play this season a bit leaner. He'll enter the season as the team's clear-cut No. 1 receiver, though he'll have clouds hanging over his fantasy value, given that this team operates more as a run-based offense and currently doesn't even know which quarterback will be throwing most of its passes in 2018.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/16||Los Angeles Chargers||7||17.00|
|4||09/30||@Green Bay Packers||32||24.13|
|8||10/30||New England Patriots||27||22.58|
|10||11/11||@New York Jets||19||20.00|
|14||12/09||New York Jets||19||20.00|
|16||12/23||@New England Patriots||27||22.58|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||98||56||816||5||40||14.57||111|