December 3, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; New York Giants tight end Martellus Bennett (85) runs with the ball against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Martellus Bennett gets a Fantasy Football Free Agency Upgrade

The Bears’ signing of former-New York Giants tight end Martellus Bennett makes him a nice fantasy football sleeper to be aware of as you start your draft prep for fantasy football 2013 . Mandatory Credit: Jim O’Connor-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Free Agency is a time period packed with rumors, smokescreens, and high-risk leveraging by players, agents, and your favorite NFL team. There’s another important factor to remember though as players change uniforms and jump from team-to-team almost to fast to keep up with.

In the midst of the maddening carousel, make sure to remember your fantasy football draft too. Before you know it, it’ll be draft prep time and keeping track of who went where can make all the difference in draft value and making sure you get the sleepers you think are now in positions to succeed.

There was plenty of activity on day 1 of NFL Free Agency, but the player whose new team caught my attention the most was Martellus Bennett. Bennett was originally drafted by the Cowboys but signed a one-year deal with the Giants last year and had a breakout season catching 55 passes from Eli while going for 626 yards and five touchdowns.

Chicago badly needed the boost after finishing last in the league in most tight end production categories. Bennett gives them the ability to stretch the field and offers a nice big target if Jay Cutler can develop a rapport with him. His size makes him a potent redzone weapon that could help Chicago have a secondary receiving weapon in addition to Brandon Marshall.

Although the Bears’ tight ends were a fantasy wasteland last year, Cutler has made other tight ends fantasy relevant in the past. Former Bears’ tight end Greg Olsen had 108 targets, 41 catches, 612 yards, and eight touchdowns in Cutler’s first season in Chicago.

I like Bennett in Chicago better than in New York since the Giants have so many weapons, while in Chicago he’ll be able to emerge as a clear #2 option if he can work together well with Cutler.

Don’t draft Bennett over the elite tight ends, but if you miss the Graham/Gronk/Gonzalez parade, Bennett can make a nice pick as a second-level TE1 with potential to emerge. There’s risk involved in picking a player with one good year going to a new team and a new system, but Bennett could be a nice payoff and a good value if you get him at the right price.

While training camp and exhibitions are usually not worth much from a fantasy perspective, it’ll be interesting how quickly Bennett and Cutler can get on the same page and with a new coach and offensive system it could be a big year for both of them.

Tags: Chicago Bears Fantasy Football Fantasy Football Sleeper Marellus Bennett NFL Free Agency

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