I’ve been writing Fantasy Football for 3 years now, and the first article I ever wrote was about where Jimmy Graham should be drafted. This was heading into 2014 when he was a fringy first-rounder.
After a solid 2015 season (85 receptions, 889 yards, 10 TDs) in New Orleans and a subsequent blockbuster trade to Seattle where they’re known much more for running than throwing, Graham’s fantasy draft position was still a legitimate question. It was also one of the first articles I wrote heading into last season.
Graham posted 48 catches for 605 yards and two touchdowns before tearing his knee in Week 12 of the 2015 season. In that span, Graham only had one game over 100 yards and four games with six or more receptions. He had a 64.9% catch rate – which isn't dreadful but still definitely no bueno.
Let’s keep the tradition intact. Where the hell should we draft Jimmy Graham this season?
My major issue is that I have no idea which Seattle offense we’re going to see.
From Week 1 through Week 12 last season (Graham’s final week), Russell Wilson threw an average of 1.63 touchdowns per game. From Week 13 until the end of the season, Wilson’s average went up to 3.2 touchdowns per game – a significant increase, and one that I wish Graham could have experienced. On a lesser note, Wilson threw and completed about 2 more passes per game and had a QB rating that was almost 25 full points higher in the latter period.
Marshawn Lynch’s last regular season game was Week 10, which had to have impacted the drastic increase in passing touchdowns per game. Lynch is gone now, and it remains to be seen if Thomas Rawls can single-handedly fill that Skittle-less void, or if there will be a committee (everyone’s fantasy nightmare).
If I had to guess, I’d imagine we’ll see more of the Week-13-forward Russell Wilson in 2016. Seattle scored at least 30 points in four of those five games (4-1), while posting 30 points only three times in the previous 11 (6-5). If I was a Seahawks fan, that’s the offense I’d like to see.
If that’s the offense we’re going to get, I don’t hate Graham’s potential.
If you checked out my Mock Draft Analysis article, you’d notice that I got Graham in the 12th round of a 10-team standard league, which I was ecstatic about. If you can get that on Draft Day, I’m on board. I mentioned that I’d be fine taking Graham in the 8th or 9th round, and that’s pretty much where I am now. He could reasonably be a dud, but most tight ends are anyway. According to FantasyPros.com, Graham is currently going as the 12th TE. I have him ranked as TE9, and the Expert Consensus Ranking on Graham is TE15.
Graham averaged 55 yards per game that he played in 2015 which was, somehow, good enough for 8th in the league among tight ends.
I’m not saying that you’re going to get 2014 Jimmy Graham (16 touchdowns), but if you’re looking for a major value pick with proven upside, why not take a shot?