Fantasy Impact: Jimmy Graham Traded to Seahawks
The Raiders had “Just Win Baby.”
The Patriots have “The Patriot Way.”
The Seattle Seahawks, on the other hand, seem to have taken their philosophy on acquiring skill-position players from Mike Ehrmantraut, with “no half measures.” If the Seahawks want a skill-position player (Marshawn Lynch, Percy Harvin) they go out and get them, cost (Pro Bowl Center Max Unger and a first-round pick) be darned.
Here’s a quick recap of who’s stock is moving on up and who’s crashing on down following the Jimmy Graham trade.
STOCK (way) DOWN
Luke Willson, TE, SEA
He just went from interesting dynasty stash to completely useless. The second TE in a ground-based offense isn’t going to contribute enough to earn fantasy relevance, even if you are as athletic as Willson. He’ll need a change of scenery to see fantasy relevance.
Jermaine Kearse, WR, SEA
Inefficient and drop-prone, a good chunk of Kearse’s targets should be headed towards Graham. He has zero value in all formats at this time.
STOCK (slightly) DOWN
Drew Brees, QB, NO
While Brees has been able to be a top fantasy passer without Graham before, he now deals with the uncertainty of losing his most trusted target and the looming specter of the Saints’ offensive philosophy becoming more of a balanced attack. Brees becomes a riskier pick.
Jimmy Graham, TE, SEA
Dynasty managers who roster Graham have to be grumbling, but let’s not go reaching for the hard stuff just yet. Yes, the Seahawks pass at near league-low ratio (about 65% of the passing volume of the Saints), and Graham’s days of seeing over 100 targets are probably over. But a line at 65% of Graham’s average production as a Saint still roughly comes out to 58-709-8, which would place him a tier below where he’s at right now. Lower, but not the end of the world.
Also, just look at who the Seahawks gave their red-zone targets to. It’s an assumption, yes, but we can reasonably infer that Graham is going to get all of Cooper Helfet’s 8 RZ targets and a good chunk of everyone else’s (you do not want to be giving 5’10 180 pound Doug Baldwin 12 RZ targets). Right now Graham downgrades, as he is no longer a candidate to go in the first round of fantasy drafts, and he’s going to be in that second tier with Greg Olson, Travis Kelce and Martellus Bennett. However, even with the target volume downgrade, you can still make the argument that he’s the No. 2 TE in all of fantasy football.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, SEA
Expect Graham to siphon off a TD or two that was coming for him in the red zone, but it’s not enough to take him out of RB1 status.
Doug Baldwin, WR, SEA
The angry receiver quietly had the best statistical season of his career in 2014, posting a 66-825-3 line. While nobody knows exactly how the targets are going to be distributed, it’s a safe bet that Baldwin isn’t going to see the 98 targets he saw in 2014 again in 2015.
STOCK (slightly) UP
Russell Wilson, QB, SEA
The addition of Graham may be a double-edged sword for Wilson. While it should increase his passing numbers, the inability of Seattle receivers to get open led to scrambles and valuable rushing yardage. I would mark his stock as slightly up, but early ADP data shows that this is finally the year you’re going to have to pay market price for him.
While not all of Graham’s 120+ yearly targets are going to be redirected towards Saint wide outs, things just got a lot more interesting in the Big Easy. Marques Colston is still around, and Brandin Cooks was having a tremendous season until it was cut short by injury. There are plenty of interesting options here that could see a slight uptick in value.
Mark Ingram, RB, NO
It’s not so much the fact that Graham is gone, but what the move signifies for the Saints. The acquisition of Unger and the quote from Mickey Loomis stating that the team plans to spend the first-round pick on defense leave me to believe that Ingram is going to have a featured role in a power run game in 2015.
STOCK (way) UP
Josh Hill, TE, Saints
As of right now, the undrafted Hill becomes the No. 1 TE on the Saints’ depth chart. While Ben Watson is still around, and should take some targets, Hill is an extremely interesting player who has six touchdowns on 20 career catches. The team is high on him, and he has extremely interesting measurables. As of now he is a candidate to deliver value on his draft position, and must be monitored through the offseason.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots
The biggest winner of all, at least in the fantasy sphere, is the Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski. The two biggest threats to his TE1 throne, Julius Thomas and Graham, have both been sent to far less green fantasy pastures in Jacksonville and Seattle. There is no doubt now that Gronk is going to be a 2015 first-round pick in all formats. The question now becomes just how high he will go.