Fantasy Football: Jimmy Graham is in line for a bounce back season in 2019
If you’re looking for a bounce back performer in Fantasy Football this upcoming season, you probably won’t need to look any further than Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham.
Okay, let’s start this with a disclaimer. I’ve said it 1,000 times and I’ll say it 1,000 times more – Jimmy Graham didn’t have a bad season last year. He racked up 55 receptions for 636 yards and two touchdowns.
All of those numbers were second-best on the Packers last season. They’re also numbers most teams would be very happy with from their tight ends.
However, for Jimmy Graham it definitely wasn’t his best year. The main culprit was the touchdowns. In fact, most of his numbers were extremely similar to his 2017 season – but 2018 was seen as much worse.
In 2017, Graham reeled in two more receptions (57) for 116 less yards (520) than he did in 2018. However, he had eight more touchdowns (10) – leading to it being a much better overall year.
The two touchdowns Graham had last season were tied for the worst ever in a season for the tight end. His only other season with two touchdowns was in 2015 when he only played 11 games. It was also his first season with the Seattle Seahawks. The next year, Graham posted 65 receptions with 923 yards and six touchdowns – a very strong season.
There’s reason to believe he simply needed to adjust to the new system and build a rapport with quarterback Russell Wilson. Couldn’t the same be said in Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers?
Perhaps the most important thing to look at though is the team around him.
Graham has Rodgers (as mentioned already) throwing him the football. Rodgers is one of the best of all-time and should definitely be considered a “pro” when weighing the pros and cons of Graham’s fantasy potential in 2019.
However, Rodgers doesn’t have loads of help on offense. The running game is iffy, meaning they’ll likely have to rely on the pass most times. Meanwhile, Davante Adams is a legitimate superstar at receiver but after him the receiving corps is weak at best.
That means that Graham is the clear cut number two option in the passing game. With that in mind, expect a heavy amount of targets to come his way. More importantly, expect there to be a lot of red zone targets.
Throughout his career, Graham has established himself as a great red zone target thanks to his incredible combination of size and athleticism. However, Adams proved last year that teams should be the most worried about him.
With that in mind, of course Adams is going to get a ton of looks his way – especially in the end zone. Teams will be focused on stopping that though, meaning Rodgers will have to go to a backup plan. What better backup plan than Jimmy Graham.
I won’t pretend like Jimmy Graham was a great fantasy player last season. In reality his numbers were solid but without the touchdowns he was pedestrian-at-best in fantasy football. Especially when considering people probably took him very early in drafts – expecting big things.
This could very easily be the year those big things come though. His numbers were strong outside of the touchdowns and he’s now got a full year under his belt to get familiar with Aaron Rodgers. The bounce back year potential is definitely there for Jimmy Graham in Fantasy Football. Take advantage of it if you can.