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Strategy Roundtable: How to Handle Jimmy Graham

Footballguys staff members offer their thoughts on Jimmy Graham's outlook for 2016 and beyond

What are you doing with Jimmy Graham in a redraft league? In a dynasty league?

Jason Wood: Given the utter lack of anyone coming back from this injury at max effectiveness, he's an EASY avoid at current ADP. I don't even have him in my Top 20 at the position. Let's also not forget that before his injury Graham was hardly living up to his billing within the construct of the Seahawks offense.

Stephen Holloway: Regarding redraft, Graham will only be drafted by me very late as a hope and a prayer type selection. I will not count on him due to his tough recovery from injury as well as his prior usage before the injury in Seattle. I do expect the Seahawks' passing game to be used more often in 2016, but doubt that Graham will be heavily involved, particularly in the first half of the season.

In dynasty format, I would not rank him highly nor would I seek him, but would again take him in a trade if the price was right. He is a competitive and talented player that could come back from the difficult injury that he had. It would have to be a buy low proposition and I doubt that offer is made too often.

Chad Parsons: In redraft, I am out on Jimmy Graham. He was not used in a high-volume capacity even when healthy in Seattle and now they have Doug Baldwin, who emerged since Graham's arrival, and Tyler Lockett on track for a Year 2 upswing in production. I am perfectly happy 'missing' on Graham as a late-round upside play for options like Antonio Gates, Martellus Bennett, or even Clive Walford with a lower ADP by myfantasyleague.com .

For dynasty, I have been out on Graham since even before his latest injury. Leaving New Orleans was a big sell moment for Graham owners as the Saints have been a top-producing offense for tight ends even before Graham's breakout. Outside of Rob Gronkowski, I generally recommend selling tight ends - a high-variance seasonal position - after a top season with quality long-term results. Downshift to the next rising (or touchdown regression) tight end candidate instead of riding the wave of banking on a repeat performance when there is market value to accrue through trading.

In the rare occasion of Jimmy Graham in Round 20 - or complete flyer zone - of a dynasty startup draft, I find drafting Graham acceptable to attempt to flip if he rebounds to some degree. This requires a deep roster and owner patience to wait on Graham to gain market (name) value back.

Mark Wimer: I am avoiding him like the plague in any format. His particular injury (patellar tendon tear) is especially devastating to professional football players.

Andy Hicks: I can safely say that I was one of the few that had big doubts about Jimmy Graham in Seattle last year. The old square peg in a round hole approach by the Seahawks who love to chase a big name (Sidney Rice, Deion Branch, Percy Harvin and now Jimmy Graham), but can't use them to the best of their ability. They keep thinking they can get the player to adapt to their offense, rather than the other way around. He will be turning 30 this year and is coming off a patellar tendon. I couldn't place any legitimate value on him this year or in the future. If he stays with the Seahawks, he is done. If he recovers and gets used as a pass catcher only on another team then he might have a few good games left, but I doubt it.

Justin Howe: I'm zigging a bit here from my colleagues - all in on Graham as a strong value play. His 2016 outlook isn't sexy, with a major injury rehab and emerging WR talent in Seattle. But his ADP has registered most of that risk. Even with the red flags, I'd expected Graham to boast a relatively high ADP based on name recognition, but it hasn't happened - he's currently got a Round 12 ADP across MFL10 drafts. This is despite consistent positivity from the Seahawks organization on his recovery. No, a coach's glowing "take" on an offseason injury isn't iron-clad, but it's certainly better than a negative or ambivalent one. If I assume Graham is indeed on track to return for Week 1, I start considering him around the 11th round. That's a range from where you're not particularly likely to draft anyone relevant to your roster - last year, only four of the 24 guys with ADPs in Round 11 or 12 made any real fantasy noise.

In other words, you're typically chasing upside with those picks, and Graham certainly boasts it. You don't need me to discuss his top-top-top-percentile athleticism, his dizzying touchdown rates, or his tendency to post WR1-like receiving lines. And while his Seattle debut was deemed a failure, that was really only the case in the TD department. Graham still saw a robust 22.8% of Seattle's targets prior to his Week 12 injury - the highest share on the team. If we were to apply that share to the team's pass-happy second half, it would give Graham a whopping 117 targets over 16 games. That'll scale back for sure, but even a 100-target season would create dynamite value from Round 11.

Devin Knotts: Graham isn't even on my draft board for this year, as there were major red flags even before his injury last season. The first red flag is that he was 20th amongst tight ends in red zone targets per game with 0.73 per game. This is not something that I expect to change heading into this season where Graham will turn 30 and is coming off a major injury. Seattle runs the ball in the red zone too frequently and does not have a complimentary big wide receiver to go alongside Graham. This means that Graham will be lined up against the best coverage player against big wide receivers/tight ends. Previously Marques Colston used to be able to help Graham in this regard as Colston was a physical receiver meaning teams had to choose which physical player they would focus on.

Matt Waldman: I'm sorry to ask this here but...who is Jimmy Graham?

Are you talking about that big wide receiver who plays for the Saints?

Does anyone know whatever happened to him?

I can't find him on my magazine cheat sheet.

Oh well.

I'll take Antonio Gates again. He's always good and available late.

Will Grant: If Matt Waldman can't find Graham on his draft sheet, that should tell you something. Like others, I'm avoiding Graham in redraft and dynasty leagues. Maybe as a backup TE in a best ball format, but someone will take him long before I would.

Chris Kuczynski: Jimmy Graham should not be considered in redraft leagues at all, but I'm sure a lot of people will overdraft him based on name recognition alone. His injury is career-threatening- he would be lucky to return anywhere close to his original form, but it will not happen this season. There are really not any examples of great players coming back from this type of injury with a high level of success. Add in the fact that when he was fully healthy, coming off very solid production in New Orleans, he was not being used effectively in Seattle. If he's being drafted this year, he's not being relied on as a consistent contributor to your team- he is merely a lottery ticket that would not set your team back if you have to drop him later down the road.

As far as dynasty leagues, if you have deep benches and already have your TE position taken care of, there is no harm in taking him late in startup drafts, or buy him low (it would need to be really low). Next year he might be fully healed and produce, and again, if you aren't counting on him to be used right away, sitting on your bench taking up a roster spot is not that big of a risk because not much is invested in him.

John Mamula: I won't be drafting Graham on any of my teams this season. As previously mentioned, a patellar tendon tear is a devastating injury that most players never recover from. After this type of injury, It is near impossible for a WR or TE to regain their explosiveness or power. These were key strengths that Graham used to position himself as a receiver. Until I see otherwise, Graham is off my draft board.

Dan Hindery: I agree with the consensus that at Graham's current ADP (~10th round, low-end TE1), there are better options. Zach Ertz, Julius Thomas and Antonio Gates are tight ends going in that general range with much less risk and similar upside. However, I am not going to go so far as to take Graham completely off my board. If he slides a few rounds, he is still worth a pick and I like him as a TE2. He was averaging 6.7 targets per game when he went down with injury, which was amongst the top ten for tight ends.