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The New England Patriots reportedly added to their receiving stockpile Thursday when they signed tight end Martellus Bennett on waivers a day after the Green Bay Packers released him, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
When it comes to fantasy, the question is whether Bennett is worth a speculative add in deeper leagues.
The intrigue dates back to last season, when Bennett recorded 55 catches for 701 yards and seven touchdowns with the reigning Super Bowl champions.
On the surface, those numbers seem to make Bennett a quality streaming option.
However, context is important.
For starters, three of Bennett’s seven touchdowns last season came in one game (Week 5 against the Cleveland Browns). Plus, three of the remaining four scores came in contests when Rob Gronkowski was sidelined due to injury.
And now that Gronkowski is healthy, it’s difficult to envision a reoccurrence of the 77.6 percent snap rate Bennett enjoyed last season, even if the Patriots roll out more two-tight end sets upon his arrival.
Pats Pulpit’s Oliver Thomas noted Gronkowski has dominated tight end targets in New England through nine weeks:
Oliver Thomas @OliverBThomas
At this point in 2016, Martellus Bennett had caught 31 passes for 402 yards and four touchdowns. Rob Gronkowski has accounted for all but three of the catches made by Patriots tight ends this season.
There’s also the matter of Bennett’s health.
The Packers released him with a “failure to disclose physical condition” designation as he continues to battle a shoulder injury, per Schefter, and he had already been ruled out for Week 10 before Green Bay let him go.
The good news is that once Bennett is healthy, there won’t be much of an adjustment period since he’s already familiar with the playbook and has a rapport with quarterback Tom Brady.
For now, Bennett looks like a TE2 who will offer some upside as an established red-zone weapon as the Patriots continue their push for the AFC’s No. 1 seed.