Jimmy Graham Fantasy: Is Packers TE Worth the Risk?

Jimmy Graham Week 4 Fantasy Football

Getty Jimmy Graham #80 of the Green Bay Packers participates in warmups prior to a game against the Denver Broncos at Lambeau Field on September 22, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Jimmy Graham looked ready to prove to the NFL he wasn’t too old to compete at age 32 when he caught the first touchdown of the 2019 season for the Green Bay Packers in their opening 13-3 win over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.

Then, for the first time in his 10-year career, the veteran tight end played made no catches in two straight games in which he was targetted in the passing game, simultaneously battling a groin issue in the process on top of a preseason finger injury.

Graham also picked up a quad injury in Week 3’s victory over the Denver Broncos, listed as a non-participant on Monday’s injury report for this week’s matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles in prime-time for Thursday night Football. He was elevated to a limited participant for Tuesday’s practice, but two injuries on an older player raise a fair number of red flags after two straight goose eggs.

Graham was once a fantasy football force of nature at the tight end spot, but now? Owners would be wise to evaluate how much they want him on their rosters.

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Jimmy Graham Fantasy Outlook: Matchup vs. Philadelphia Eagles

After Aaron Rodgers admitted both Graham and Davante Adams deserved more targets in Sunday’s win over the Broncos, first-year coach Matt LaFleur seemed to accept responsibility for the limited opportunities. Graham was targetted just once for a second straight week while Adams, the Packers’ star receiver, caught all four of the ball thrown to him.

“You always want to get your playmakers the ball, and Davante is a premier playmaker in the league,” LaFleur said Monday evening, via ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “So is Jimmy.”

Deserving more looks and getting them, though, are two entirely different things. The Packers tight end appeared with two injuries on the injury report in a short recovery week, while veteran Marcedes Lewis and Robert Tonyan — who last season hauled in a 54-yard touchdown for his first NFL catch — have been effective in their limited use behind him.

The good news is all three of them have multiple catches through the first three games, showing the Packers’ willingness to incorporate positions outside of wide receiver into their passing game. Unfortunately, near-equal production in their limited opportunities makes each one of them a poor option for a TE1 spot in any league, PPR or otherwise.

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Should You Start or Sit Jimmy Graham in Week 4?

Jimmy Graham is long departed from his glory days with the New Orleans Saints, where during the four seasons from 2011-14 he caught 355 passes for 4,396 yards and 46 touchdowns while seeing more than 135 targets on average each year. As much as he and the Packers would love for him to return to power, a comeback doesn’t seem to be in the cards anytime soon.

Thirty other tight ends have logged better fantasy numbers than Graham’s 4.0 points in PRR leagues through the first three weeks, according to FantasyPros. That includes both tight ends in Dallas, Baltimore and Indianapolis among others. Not to mention consecutive no-catch games is fast-acting poison to a successful fantasy football team.

Final verdict: Not only should Graham be kept on the bench this week, but dropping him for another available option might be worth your while if the TE1 spot is hurting you week to week. Just don’t make the mistake of going for another Packers tight end. It isn’t worth the heartbreak.

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