Cardinals RB Eno Benjamin has been battling with Darrel Williams for backup running back duties all season and has a great opportunity to further separate himself from Williams if he performs well this week.
Cardinals running back Eno Benjamin recorded his first touchdown of the season in last week’s 20-17 loss to the Eagles and will look to build off of it this week against the Seahawks. While he only had eight carries for 25 yards, Benjamin’s touches should significantly increase this week with the Cardinals being depleted at the running back position due to injuries. James Conner (rib), Darrel Williams (knee), and Jonathan Ward (hamstring, placed on IR) are all being ruled out for this week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.
Benjamin, 23 years old, was a seventh-round draft pick in 2020 out of Arizona State University. He has a relatively small frame by NFL running back standards, listed at 5′ 9″ and 207 lbs. His size and receiving abilities make him an ideal pass-catching back, but that doesn’t mean that Benjamin isn’t capable of taking on a three-down role, too, as evidenced in last week’s game when Conner went out. After James Conner exited the game at halftime, Eno Benjamin filled in as the Cardinals’ clear workhorse, playing 97% of the snaps in the second half, according to Davie Richard from CBS Sports.
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Cardinals Are Thin at Running Back
There’s plenty to be excited for Benjamin this week (which is also something to consider if you’re as invested in fantasy football as I am). For one, the Cardinals are now extremely thin at the running back position. Their second option at running back is sixth-round rookie Keontay Ingram out of USC, who hasn’t been active for a game yet. They also had two guys recently signed to the practice squad, Ty’Son Williams and Corey Clement. The Cardinals brought in five running backs for tryouts with Williams and Clement ultimately being selected from that group to sign with the practice squad.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury stated that Keontay Ingram is expected to be activated as the main backup. Corey Clement was also promoted from the practice squad as the third-string, Tyler Drake of AZ Sports reports.
Seahawks’ Defense Is An Inviting Matchup
In addition to the high volume of snaps Benjamin expected to play, another reason why he could have a breakout game is Seattle’s defense. The Seahawks rank 31st in defensive points allowed with an average of 30.8 points per game, which is only ahead of the Detroit Lions. NBC Sports’ Matthew Berry mentioned a stat worth reiterating, which is that Seattle has allowed over 100 scrimmage yards to a running back in every game they’ve played so far this year.
Also, according to DraftKings Sportsbook, the over/under for this game is set at 50.5 points. Only the Bills/Chiefs matchup is higher. That is suggesting that there will be plenty of opportunities for players to put up stats and for Benjamin specifically to reach that 100 yards from scrimmage milestone.
Eno Benjamin is a talented, multi-dimensional running back that can contribute to the Cardinals’ offense as both a rusher and receiver. Although he is a bit undersized to take on a ‘workhorse’ role for the entirety of the season, I believe Benjamin is more than capable of performing well in that role for a few games (if needed) while Conner and Williams recover from their injuries.
The combination of skill, opportunity and game matchup bodes extremely well for Benjamin this week. Eno Benjamin season is officially upon us. The Cardinals have a quick turnaround in Week Seven with a Thursday night game against the Saints, which may impact the other running backs’ availabilities as well.
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