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WR Travis Benjamin - Los Angeles Chargers

5-10, 172Born: 12-29-1989College: Miami (FL)Drafted: Round 4

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Week 7: vs Denver Broncos

All WR vs DEN

FBG says: Tough matchup. Philip Rivers and the Chargers passing game has been up-and-down in 2017, with the ups and downs mostly correlated to the quality of the opposing defense. Rivers has shredded the shaky secondaries of Miami (31 of 39 for 331 yards) and Philadelphia (347 and 2 touchdowns), but been limited in efficiency by the Broncos and Giants (just 5.84 yards per attempt). If we can project this trend along, Rivers should struggle noticeably in this rematch - and his three touchdowns from the season opener don't seem particularly repeatable. Rivers has surprisingly been among the league's least effective passers in the red zone. There's definitely hope, though, if the tight ends can get going. The Broncos have struggled against the position, and Rivers has always been able to put his tight ends in position to score touchdowns. It's hard to overstate the devastating impact we tend to see from this Broncos pass defense. No 2017 opponent has yet topped 250 yards against them, and in fact, only 3 of their last 21 opponents have hit the modest mark. All-world cornerbacks Chris Harris and Aqib Talib have smothered opposing receivers as usual - no wideout has managed more than 64 yards in a game, and the top guys they've faced have been thoroughly neutralized. Dez Bryant, Keenan Allen, and Amari Cooper combined for a staggeringly low 103 yards across 34 targets. You could quibble with their tight end defense, which has indeed been worked over by opposing starters for an average of 5.2 catches and 56.2 yards (and 3 touchdowns). That will happen when a secondary like this pinches a passing game inside and erases boundary receivers. All told, it's hard to get excited, or even care at all, about any quarterback or wideout matched against Harris and Talib. It's a dominant coverage unit only made stronger by the occasionally suffocating pass rush.

Recent Stats and Projections

3 vs KC 44 1 9 0 8 5 105 0 0 11.4
4 vs PHI 37 0 0 0 5 2 21 0 0 1.1
5 at NYG 46 1 14 0 3 2 18 0 0 3.2
6 at OAK 21 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
7 vs DEN PROJ-Dodds * 0 * * 2 * * * *
7 vs DEN PROJ-Tremblay * 0 * * 2 * * * *
7 vs DEN PROJ-Bloom * 0 * * 1 * * * *

Recent Game Summaries

2017 Week 6 vs OAK (1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Benjamin failed to record a reception, although he was targeted on a deep ball early on. The play never had a shot to be completed, as Benjamin was being double covered on the play (and there was even a third defender in the area nearby).

2017 Week 5 vs NYG (3 / 2 / 18 / 0 rec, 1 / 14 / 0 rush)

Benjamin was an ancillary element of the Chargers offense against the Giants. While using his speed to get loose on a reverse, Benjamin was held in check through the air. Benjamin's best opportunity for impact came when Benjamin gained separation deep, but Philip Rivers overthrew the speedy receiver. An accurate throw would have resulted in an easy touchdown.

2017 Week 4 vs PHI (5 / 2 / 21 / 0 rec)

Benjamin came close to a couple of really big plays, but just couldn't quite connect with Rivers. He was on track for a deep bomb reception, but the ball was knocked away at the last moment (and nearly intercepted). There was a holding call on the Chargers anyway, which would have negated the catch. He was targeted on another deep ball down the seam on the next play, but was badly overthrown. His main contribution was a quick slant to the inside which he caught and took up the seam for a nice gain early on, but he was the clear third fiddle in the passing game behind Keenan Allen and Tyrell Williams.

2017 Week 3 vs KC (8 / 5 / 105 / 0 rec, 1 / 9 / 0 rush)

It's not a huge sample size, but Benjamin had one of his best games since joining the Chargers at the beginning of the 2016 season. The Chiefs were very leery of his deep speed, which opened up a lot of the field for him on the underneath routes. But even when they had a defender guarding the deep ball, Benjamin found a way to make things happen. He hauled in a 40-yard bomb deep down the right side that was essentially a 50-50 ball. Philip Rivers simply hoisted it up for grabs and trusted Benjamin to come down with it, which he did. He made the nice adjustment that the defender failed to do, which made all the difference. Benjamin also had a touch in the run game, with an end-around going for nine yards that was sprung by a Hunter Henry block.

2017 Week 2 vs MIA (3 / 1 / 11 / 0 rec)

Benjamin's usage was sporadic, and it showed with only one reception being the result of his performance. He was targeted early on a crossing route near the sideline, but he failed to drag his back leg to stay inbounds. He was also the target of a deep ball to the end zone that was well overthrown. It was a third down and long pass play, so Philip Rivers likely assumed that a worst-case scenario of an interception would be essentially the same as a long punt. But fortunately for fantasy owners, Benjamin made a nice "defensive" play on the ball to break it up and create an incompletion instead. Benjamin's one reception in the game was a short pass where he stopped on a dime and planted his toe to pick up the first down after a quick out route.

2017 Week 1 vs DEN (4 / 3 / 43 / 1 rec)

Benjamin didn't get a ton of action in the game, but he sure made his one big opportunity count. Trailing by ten late in the fourth quarter, the Chargers took over after a Denver turnover. Benjamin streaked down the left side of the field to beat the last man and Philip Rivers connected for a perfect 38-yard bomb touchdown to cut the deficit to just three. As the fourth or possibly even fifth option in the passing game, Benjamin will lack for volume in most games. But if he can convert those few opportunities into big plays, he'll stand to gain a lot more work if injuries should strike.


Los Angeles Chargers Team Links

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7vs Denver Broncos
8@ New England Patriots
9--- BYE WEEK ---
10@ Jacksonville Jaguars
11vs Buffalo Bills
12@ Dallas Cowboys
13vs Cleveland Browns
14vs Washington Redskins
15@ Kansas City Chiefs
16@ New York Jets
17vs Oakland Raiders