Jimmy Graham made waves this offseason when he chose to sign a three-year contract with the Green Bay Packers. There were rumors early on in free agency that he was strongly considering signing with the New Orleans Saints, but new Green Bay general manager Brian Gutekunst made him a top priority and convinced him to join Aaron Rodgers in the Packers’ high-profile aerial attack.
Not only will Graham make a major impact for the Packers, he will also make Fantasy Football owners extremely happy. Those that pick him will be getting one of the top producing tight ends in the NFL.
Why should Fantasy Football players view Graham as a top-three tight end this year heading into their respective drafts?
Last season with the Seattle Seahawks, Graham was a bit of a disappointment. He caught 57 passes for 520 yards and 10 touchdowns. Those numbers aren’t horrible, but the yardage was not quite to the liking of most players. Heading into 2018, those numbers are expected to skyrocket.
#Packers TE Jimmy Graham on why he's already caught so many passes from Aaron Rodgers this offseason: "It’s easy to catch it. He throws it perfect. I can’t even drop the thing. It just hits me in the chest."
— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) July 28, 2018
After signing with the Packers, Graham made it clear that he made the decision due to Rodgers being the quarterback. Having the best all-around quarterback in the game throwing him the football makes Graham a nightmare for opposing defenses.
“There was a lot of teams out there who were really pulling on me and I turned down quite a significant amount of money to come here because I believe in not only Mike (McCarthy) but, I mean, ‘12’s’ hungry.I know how he is and I know how competitive he is and I want to ride that wave and try to help him as best I can.”
Rodgers is known for loving to utilize big, athletic tight ends. Dating back to the days when Jermichael Finley was the starting tight end in Green Bay, Rodgers has looked to his tight ends early and often, especially in the red zone.
Before signing with the Packers, reports have stated that Rodgers and Graham had discussed teaming up. Rodgers also has talked about the signing of Graham and how excited he is to play with his new target.
“He’s a big target,” Rodgers said. “He catches the ball with his hands. We haven’t had a guy like that around here in a while.”
#Packers Aaron Rodgers made an incredible throw in red zone to Jimmy Graham. A rocket. Those two making amazing plays each day.
— Mike Clemens (@MikeClemensNFL) July 31, 2018
All of that being said, what should Fantasy Football players expect from Graham this coming season?
Quite simply, his numbers across the board are going to go up in a big way. He should be able to put up a line of at least 70 receptions for 850 yards and 10 touchdowns. Those numbers would make him one of the most valuable tight ends in the NFL, especially from a fantasy scoring perspective.
Green Bay thought they had an impact tight end last season when they signed Martellus Bennett in free agency. Now, however, the confidence level is at an all-time high with Graham. Things are already looking good for Graham early on in training camp, as Rodgers and Graham have developed chemistry.
Drafting Graham in Rounds 3-5 should be a consideration for Fantasy Football players. In a PPR league, especially, Graham has the potential to be a top producer. He can even be a FLEX option for players that decide to grab another top tight end like Travis Kelce.
Trust builds between Jimmy Graham, Aaron Rodgers https://t.co/cAchPb8zsZ
— The Packers Wire (@ThePackersWire) July 29, 2018
It has been a long time since Rodgers had a weapon like Graham. At 6-foot-7 and 265 pounds with excellent speed and athleticism, Graham projects to get back to monstrous numbers. Whether he is used over the middle or up the seams, Graham will create mismatches and big plays on a consistent basis.
Health may be a concern for some Fantasy players with Graham, but in a new system with a new quarterback, the fresh start may be all he needs.
Expect to see Graham live up to the hype this season in Green Bay. The Packers are going to make getting Graham going early a priority and that will snowball into the biggest season that Graham has had since his superstar days in New Orleans.