In one of the bigger free agent signings of the NFL off-season, tight end Jimmy Graham signed a three year, $30 million contract with the Green Bay Packers. $18 million of that is guaranteed. Graham is coming off what many would describe as a disappointing three-year stint in Seattle with the Seahawks. Graham, Packers fans and fantasy owners alike are hoping for a renaissance for the 32-year-old tight end. Jimmy Graham, the “Fantasy Spotlight” is officially on you!
2018 Fantasy Spotlight: Jimmy Graham
Saint Marching to Seattle
Graham was acquired by the Seattle Seahawks in a 2015 trade with the New Orleans Saints. The first five years of his career in New Orleans were extremely successful. Graham was instantly a favorite target for future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees. The two connected for 41 touchdowns and Graham caught 85 or more passes four consecutive seasons. The Seahawks were looking for a big target for Russell Wilson so the trade for Graham was made.
The chemistry between Wilson and Graham was nonexistent from the start. The two would only connect on 48 passes for 605 yards and two touchdowns during an injury riddled 2015 for Graham. 2016 would be a little better for the pair as the stat line read 65/923/6, but still the numbers were not what Seattle and their fans were expecting. In 2017 Graham scored ten touchdowns for the Seahawks but his catches dropped and his yardage (520) was the lowest of his three years in Seattle. Many argued it was injuries that caused the lack of success and some said it was the switch from the dome in New Orleans to the outdoors of Seattle. Despite finishing as a PPR TE6 in 2017, Graham became almost a fantasy afterthought in Seattle.
Calling Mr. Rodgers
The next chapter of Jimmy Graham’s career takes him to Lambeau Field and gives him the chance to play with arguably the best quarterback in the game today, Aaron Rodgers. While there is certainly reason for optimism, we have seen this story before. Over the past two off-seasons the Green Bay Packers had brought in both Jared Cook and Martellus Bennett to secure the tight end position. While neither had the track record of Graham, it was believed the pairing with Rodgers would lead to big numbers for both. That would not be the case as neither Cook or Bennett lasted longer than one season in Green Bay. Does this mean Graham will fail in Green Bay? Absolutely not, however it would be safe to temper expectations when preparing for your 2018 fantasy football drafts.
Fantasypros.com currently ranks graham as a TE6 in draft leagues and a TE8 in dynasty. His current ECR (expert consensus ranking) is 72nd placing him right around the sixth round of most drafts. The 6′ 7″ Graham is a good fall back option if you miss out on some of the top tight ends like Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz and so forth. However, he is no longer a top five tight end target in fantasy drafts.
Graham will finish as a PPR TE7. Do not overpay and fall into the hype of playing with Aaron Rodgers. He will get his looks in the red zone but his inconsistencies leave a lot to be desired. Target him in the 7th round of fantasy drafts.
Embed from Getty Images