Buffalo Bills wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin returned to fantasy football relevance in Week 7 against the Indianapolis Colts. While the Bills lost an ugly 37-5 game, they managed to get Benjamin going a bit, as he caught four passes for 71 yards on five targets. A large part of this likely has to do with the fact that Derek Anderson was under center.
While Josh Allen is dealing with an elbow injury, it’ll be Anderson holding down the fort once again in Week 8. Unfortunately, the Bills have a brutal matchup against the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football at home. Allen has been ruled out for this game, but for fantasy football owners in need of a receiver, that may actually help when it comes to possibly starting Benjamin this week.
Anderson and Benjamin spent time together with the Carolina Panthers and have obviously built a rapport. That’s certainly not enough to make the 27-year-old wideout an immediate starting option, but he’s at least worth considering. Let’s take a deeper dive into the situation and see if Benjamin is a start or sit against the Patriots.
Should You Start or Sit Kelvin Benjamin?
The good news is that Benjamin played 79 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in last week’s loss, per Football Outsiders, so it’s apparent the team wants to use him. The bad news? That’s just a bit above his season-long snap count percentage of 67.5. Regardless, the fact that the coaching staff was obviously aware of his rapport with Anderson is good to see.
Let’s also not forget that the Bills are almost undoubtedly going to be playing from behind in this game, so they’ll air it out quite a bit. Benjamin’s five targets last week don’t make me think he’s on the path to double-digit looks from Anderson, but he could easily see 7-8 if the game flow works out as expected.
On the season, the Patriots have been right near the middle of the NFL in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers. They’ve given up 92 receptions for 1,134 yards and nine touchdowns, per ESPN, so it’s not as if they aren’t beatable there.
Even with the numbers somewhat on Benjamin’s side, I’m not going to roll the dice on him very much this week. I think the Bills receiver is worth playing in 14-team leagues or above, likely as a flex option. At the very least, he’ll get looks from Anderson, but his value will take a hit when Allen returns.