Kelvin Benjamin is a star in the making. Last week he recorded 6 receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown. This week he was targeted 8 times for just 2 receptions and 46 receiving yards. He had a few drops and a spectacular one arm sideline grab. He is still raw but he is a fantasy must own… period. Keep in mind that three of the four Carolina running backs are banged up at the moment. Cam Newton will pass more this season because of that fact and also through the natural NFL maturation process. This is Cam’s fourth year and Carolina is ready to become a balanced or even a pass first team this season. Benjamin has had 8 targets in each game this year so expect 8-10 per game going forward. Benjamin is available in 5-40% of fantasy leagues.
Andrew Hawkins will be getting tons of attention later in the week. In week one he recorded 8 receptions for 87 yards and this week he put up 6 receptions for 70 yards. He has 22 total targets in his first two games. Hawkins cannot sustain this pace but you cannot ignore the targets and you have to ride the hot streak while it lasts. Hawkins is available in 50-85% of fantasy leagues.
Kelvin Benjamin and Brandin Cooks were the clear fantasy winners in the first round of the 2014 draft.
Analysis: Steve Smith, Ted Ginn and Brandon LaFell have all moved on and now Cam Newton has a shortage of aerial weapons. Greg Olsen is still in the mix but the addition of the 6’5″ 240 pound Kelvin Benjamin is most welcome. Yes, the Panthers are a run first team but Cam Newton has thrown for over 3,300 yards and recorded a passer rating north of 84 in each of his first three years in the league. Benjamin could be looking at a 60 reception, 900 yard, 7 touchdown rookie campaign with room for upside pending on how heavily targeted he is.
The Saints on the other hand attempted the fourth most passes in the NFL last year. Lance Moore is gone so it appears that Brandin Cooks will be the third passing option for Drew Brees behind Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham. The 5’10” Cooks ran a 4.33 40 at the combine(second overall) and also ran a 3.81 20 yard shuttle(first overall). Cooks has more natural playmaking ability than Kenny Stills and with Darren Sproles also gone Sean Payton is sure to find creative ways to get Cooks involved. Sproles recorded 71 receptions last year and Moore notched 37 in thirteen games… those receptions have to go somewhere.