Since becoming “the man” in the 2008-2009 season, Green Bay Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers has not had anything like Martellus Bennett at the tight end position. Jermichael Finley? No. Jared Cook? Nope. Richard Rodgers? Not a chance. Get used to hearing “Rodgers to Bennett” a ton next season.
Hunter Henry is going to have a very solid season, as well, but it is not going to be anything like Bennett’s. Better quarterback play, availability and playing time are all reasons why Bennett is going to have a better season in standard/ppr/.5ppr and any other scoring format out there in fantasy football leagues.
For starters, the 2016 stats for both players provides insight on how the players might fare next season:
Hunter Henry 2016 statistics: 36 receptions, 478 yards, 8 TDs
Martellus Bennett 2016 statistics: 55 receptions, 701 yards, 7 TD’s— but here’s where it gets interesting. The Chargers and Patriots both played Miami, Houston, Denver, and Atlanta. Henry’s stat line for those games read:
13 Receptions, 144 yards, and 3 TDs, good for 32.4 standard fantasy points and 45.4 PPR points.
Bennett’s line on those games reads: 14 receptions, 254 yards and 2 TDs, good for 37.4 standard and 51.4 PPR points. The numbers don’t lie when it comes to fantasy football. A garbage time TD is still going to be six points.
Secondly, the guy who is slinging the rock is CRUCIAL to what kind of fantasy season the pass catcher will have. Martellus is going to have the 2nd best quarterback in the league, running a high-octane offense, and who dominates in fantasy year in and year out. Henry on the other hand, has Rivers, a 14 year vet who is one of the leagues best, but has been very inconsistent as of late. Rivers threw the 21 interceptions in 2016 (2nd most in the league), to Rodgers’ 7. With Rodgers’ accuracy he is going to put the ball where he wants to, week in and week out. Another advantage for Martellus.
Lastly, availability and playing time are key to fantasy success. Martellus does not have another tight end in front of him to steal targets like he did last season. Henry has Gates, the future Hall of Famer. Futhermore, Martellus only missed 4 games last season, Henry missed 6, only 22 and missing six games is not a good sign. Advantage: Martellus.
Barring tremendous injuries, I believe Henry and Martellus will both have spectacular 2017 campaigns. I expect Bennett to have around 60 catches, 800 yards and 10 touchdowns. Henry on the other hand will have around 45 catches, 575 yards and 6 touchdowns. Martellus is going to be the guy you want if choosing between the two.