Fantasy Spin: Packers Sign TE Jimmy Graham

By Matt Johnson on Tuesday, March 13th 2018
Fantasy Spin: Packers Sign TE Jimmy Graham

After multiple wide receivers came off the free agency board on Tuesday, the Green Bay Packers found a new weapon for Aaron Rodgers. The team agreed to a three-year deal with tight end Jimmy Graham, ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported word of the agreement.

It's a big move for a team that saw its big move last year, signing tight end Martellus Bennett, blow up in its face and lead to a further lack of production from the tight end position. The team wanted to find someone who could contribute in ways similar to what Jermichael FInley did in years past and the role Jared Cook played for the team in 2016. Now they've found their man and it should be a perfect fit.

It's obvious Graham isn't the player he used to be. A torn patella tendon in 2016 took away a good portion of the freakish athleticism that made him an All Pro in previous seasons, but even post-surgery Graham still remained an impact player. The 31-year-old is no longer the big play threat of old, with very real evidence displayed in his career-worst 9.1 yards per catch average last season, a dramatic drop from the 14.2 yards per catch he averaged in 2016.

Yet there is still plenty of skill in Graham's body. Standing at 6'7" and still armed with solid athleticism, Graham is a monster inside the red zone and he showed it last season with 10 touchdowns, including eight coming from plays within the 10-yard line. His size and physical ability made him a favorite target of Russell Wilson inside the red zone and it led to a league-high 26 targets and 16 receptions inside the 20-yard line.

While we can't go off 2017 numbers for Green Bay's red zone offense given Aaron Rodgers missed a majority of the season, his 2016 numbers show how dominant he performed in the red zone.   From within 20 yards, Rodgers threw a league-high 33 touchdown passes, 463 yards and posted the third-highest completion percentage (61.34) amongst quarterbacks with 70-plus pass attempts inside the 20.

It's certainly reasonable to expect the yardage totals to be lower for Graham, given the presence of Davante Adams and Randall Cobb along with Graham's physical decline. Fantasy owners shouldn't expect Graham to suddenly break out for 800-plus yardage season, in fact many probably all know those days are long over. But this landing spot does give him the opportunity to find the end zone nine-plus times and rack up 600-650 receiving yards, which is an easy top-10 tight end fantasy option.

Fantasy Alerts

 Mar 22nd, 2018
Frank Gore (RB)
Indianapolis Colts
 Mar 13th, 2018
Jimmy Graham (TE)
Seattle Seahawks
 Mar 9th, 2018
Tyrod Taylor (QB)
Buffalo Bills

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