2013 Fantasy Football Week 9 Dark Horse Sleeper: Martellus Bennett

By Dustin Manko

When Jay Cutler went down to a groin injury in week seven, fantasy football owners who had members of the Chicago Bears felt a collective shudder. Josh McCown came in and played pretty well, but it was against the Washington Redskins. Matt Forte seemed to be the one to benefit from the injury, while the outlooks of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey seemed to drop a little or a lot, depending on who you listen to.

One name that has been left out of the conversation is Bears tight end Martellus Bennett. Behind stories like the return of Rob Gronkowski, the emergence of Jordan Cameron and the consistent excellence of Jimmy Graham, Bennett has been quietly putting together a decent season, ranking ninth in tight end scoring. With big names like Julius Thomas and Vernon Davis on bye this week, Bennett could be a great plug and play if you can get your hands on him (85 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues).

Bennett has 32 receptions for 356 yards and four touchdowns on the year. That equates to about a four catch, 50 yard average with a touchdown every other game. Seeing as Bennett has found the end zone once in his last five games, you could argue that he is due for a score this week.

The Green Bay Packers have 23 sacks on the season and are capable of generating pressure on the quarterback. That pressure can be a double edged sword, as that pressure can leave the defense susceptible to hot reads and quick outs, something the Packers have struggled with. Currently Green Bay allows the third most fantasy points against to opposing tight ends, allowing an average of 63 yards against per game, along with five touchdowns allowed to tight ends on the season. I don’t think it would be too crazy an idea to picture pressure coming on McCown, and the Packers looking to shut down Forte (good luck with that), leaving Bennett open to do some damage.

In week one, Vernon Davis lit up the Packers for six catches, 98 yards and two touchdowns. In week five, Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler dusted them for eight catches and 114 yards. In week six, the Packers allowed four catches, 81 yards and a touchdown to Dallas Clark, who is currently 20th in tight end scoring. With the exception of Davis, Bennett is a superior athlete to those tight ends and should be able to continue to exploit the Packers down the middle.

If you are needing a fill in tight end, or looking for a dark horse sleeper at the flex, Bennett could be a sneaky choice. Green Bay is leaky down the middle, McCown should be looking to get the ball out quickly and Bennett has the size to give the defense troubles. You could do worse this week than Bennett.

As always, I welcome your comments. If you think I’m wrong, I’m willing to listen. Just back it up with some facts and solid evidence. Thanks for reading and good luck this season.

Dustin Manko is an author at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @DustinManko, ”Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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