Jimmy Graham Fantasy: Does Strong Week 1 Justify Starting Packers TE?

Jimmy Graham Week 2 Fantasy

Getty Jimmy Graham caught the first touchdown of the NFL season during Week 1 against the Chicago Bears, but should that make the Packers tight end a starter in your fantasy football league?

Jimmy Graham put the NFL on notice during the offseason when the 32-year-old veteran tight end said he was determined to silence critics who thought he was “old and slow.”

His first step in doing that? Making a 10-yard touchdown catch, the very first of the NFL‘s 100th season, that proved to be the only in the Green Bay Packers‘ 10-3 victory at the Chicago Bears during Week 1. He finished the night with three catches for 30 yards, which means he averaged a first down each time he touched the ball.

The question now is whether his production will improve with the Packers offense or if a modest few catches per game are about all fantasy football owners can expect from the starting tight end week to week. There is also the matter of his lingering finger injury sustained during training camp practices, which limited him all week in practice but didn’t keep him from getting the OK to suit up Week 2 — or making that crucial catch in the opener.

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Jimmy Graham Fantasy Outlook:  Matchup vs. Vikings

Though he wore a protective glove in Week 1, Graham didn’t seem too bothered by his injury, which is good news entering a matchup against a Vikings defense that allowed Atlanta tight end Austin Hooper to lead the Falcons in receiving with nine catches for 77 yards.

Graham has something to prove, as do the Packers against the notion that their offense will take some time learning to function in first-year coach Matt LaFleur’s new system. That could see him receiving a number of targets — he drew five in Week 1 — if the Vikings’ pass protection focuses on covering deep-ball threats Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Davante Adams.

In four career matchups against the Vikings, Graham has averaged roughly 12 yards per reception on 21 catches for 253 yards but just a single touchdown. One of his best games of the last season also came against the Vikings in Week 2, making six catches for 95 yards.

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Should You Start or Sit Jimmy Graham in Week 2?

Graham is expected to pull down 8.5 points in PPR leagues heading into the week, according to FantasyPros, which projects him as the week’s 16th-best tight end. Not terrible for a backup option during a starter’s bye week later in the season, but low enough to disqualify him for the TE1 slot in the majority of leagues.

That said, there is a small amount of FLEX consideration with Graham against the Vikings, depending on what else you might be working with on your roster. The Packers offense struggling Week 1 makes the situation murkier, but it would be foolish to bet against Rodgers on righting the ship.

Final verdict: While No. 16 overall is likely too low for Graham’s historic talent, leave the veteran on the bench in Week 2 against the Vikings. Roughly 20 tight ends caught more passes than his three in the opening week, making him hardly worth the chance at TE1 or FLEX even if he does catch a touchdown for a second straight week.

READ MORE: Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s Stock is Rising, but is Packers WR a Starter?

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