IT'S ALWAYS HELPFUL TO LOOK AHEAD
The beginning of this column is beginning to write itself: Winning a fantasy football championship is about building a table that the trophy or belt can rest upon. The four potential legs you can use for that table are the draft, free agency, trades, and lineup management.
If you excel in one of these areas, you can build it with one massive leg as the centerpiece for holding up your winning squad. If you're competent in all four, you can use them in every corner.
When it comes to building these "table legs," there are so many worthwhile methods. The key is selecting the best materials and having a logical understanding of table design and construction.
It's always helpful to state something a few times to let it sink in.
This week, we're doing a deep dive on the duo of Eno Benjamin and Keaontay Ingram, who could be the Cardinals' backfield rotation this weekend if concerns about James Conner's availability remain in question. Benjamin has already proven he's a weekly part of the offense before Darrel Williams was declared out and Conner's status became shaky. With Jonathan Ward going to injured reserve, the rookie Ingram also gets his shot to see the field.
Is there fantasy gold in the desert? Can the Cardinals coaching staff get out of its own way to let it shine? That last question may prove too difficult to answer with confidence, but if Arizona could resurrect James Conner, a player whose demise I thought was greatly exaggerated in Pittsburgh while Steelers' fans experienced the initial denial of watching a deteriorating offensive line and blaming it on the runner, then there's good reason to learn about these two runners.
Remember: Kenyan Drake, an example of Athletic Fool's Gold of a long-term starting running back talent, was actually a thing for the Cardinals for a year. If the Cardinals could make that happen, Benjamin and Ingram need to be in your sights as players whose games are worth knowing.
WHY Eno Benjamin IS WORTH KNOWING ABOUT
Beyond the obvious that he could be the starting running back this weekend against a porous Seattle defense that is the fifth-most generous unit for RB fantasy points? Benjamin is the reigning veteran of an RB room that is down to him, Ingram, and whomever the Cardinals elevate from the practice squad, which includes recently signed journeymen Corey Clement and TySon Williams.
As the most experienced back of this crew in this offense, Arizona trusts him to handle most of the playbook, especially its screen game and Alvin Kamara gutted the Seahawks' defense with a long gain on a screen pass that was a part of a 29-touch, 194-yard outing. While we're not going to confuse Benjamin with Kamara, the only other team to make a point of using its running backs as primary receivers this year was the Broncos, who targeted its backs 14 games in Week 1. Javonte Williams earned 12 of those 14 targets for 11 catches and 65 yards.
Count on the Cardinals' runners earning at least 5-7 targets this weekend, most of them going to Benjamin, who is Chase Edmonds' replacement in this scheme.
Like Edmonds, Benjamin is and shifty runner with excellent burst and dynamic short-area quickness and movement. I've often called Benjamin 90-Proof LeSean McCoy (or 80-Proof on the heels of lesser performances . . .) because he's creative and sees the field a lot like McCoy, but there's enough of a gap with his decision-making and athletic ability that his ceiling has been closer to a regular contributor than a featured starter.
In the clips below, I show you a visual scouting report of Benjamin's game with commentary:
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