Ladies and gentleman big news out of Seattle Seahawks camp. Tight end Jimmy Graham returned to practice yesterday for the first time since rupturing his patellar tendon. Which is great news for Seahawks fans as it looks as if one of the teams most talented offensive weapons is slowly working his way back onto the field, and, according to head coach Pete Carroll, is on track to play week 1.
Now, since this is a fantasy sports site we need to address the elephant in the room; Is Jimmy Graham still a top-10 fantasy tight end.
Graham, prior to last year, was seen as the second best tight end in the game, behind only Rob Gronkowski, but he struggled in his first year with the Seahawks posting 48 receptions, for 605 yards and only two touchdowns, TWO! That is not the same Jimmy Graham who was a dominant player in New Orleans for five years hauling in 51 TD’s on fade routes from Drew Brees.
Graham’s injury cut his season short and limited any potential chemistry him and quarterback Russell Wilson could have built up throughout the season, but Wilson did show that he is very capable of throwing the ball down the field once Marshawn Lynch was also lost to injury.
With Lynch going on to retire this past offseason, this is now 100% Russell Wilson’s team. He will be expected to lead a more pass-oriented (at least more than prior years where all they did was handoff to Lynch) Seahawks offence and that could mean more looks for Jimmy Graham.
We saw wide receiver Doug Baldwin become the prime benefactor of Wilsons emergence last year catching a league high 14 touchdowns. One may go so far as to say some of these touchdowns were the result of Graham not being in the offence down the stretch, and that with a “healthy” Jimmy Graham in the lineup he should dominate targets during Seahawks red zone trips. He only saw 13 red zone targets last year (according to Rotowire.com) so I expect that number to go way up in his second year in Seattle.
If you looked at our top-10 fantasy tight end Jimmy Graham resides in the “honourable mentions” category but don’t be surprised if he turns out to be a major sleeper pick and works his way comfortably into the top-10 by seasons end.