Unless you select Travis Kelce, George Kittle or Zach Ertz early, you’ll likely be waiting until the mid-to-late rounds of your fantasy football draft before selecting a tight end. One player you should avoid is Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham.
Graham finished as the TE14 in half-point PPR scoring last season, according to Fantasy Pros, despite the fact his average draft position had him selected fourth among tight ends, according to Fantasy Football Calculator.
A key reason for optimism entering 2018 was the fact Graham had put up 10 touchdowns the year prior, and was now getting to play with Aaron Rodgers. But with just two touchdowns last year, Graham couldn’t be trusted in starting lineups by the end of the season.
While things could certainly improve for Graham, and Green Bay’s offense as a whole under new head coach Matt LaFleur, drafting Graham is still a gamble. And if you’re going to roll the dice at the tight end position, you should consider players with higher upside like rookies Noah Fant or T.J. Hockenson.
The arrival of third-round pick Jace Sternberger only makes things more complicated. While Graham likely will, and should, enter 2019 as the starter at tight end, the Packers didn’t draft another TE who is best known for his receiving ability just to keep him on the bench. Sternberger could take some of Graham’s targets, especially later into the season.
Even if you miss out on the elite tier of TEs, there should still be better options than Graham in the middle rounds. Fantasy Football Calculator has Graham’s ADP as the TE14, which is about right.
Hunter Henry is currently going in the sixth round. Fully healthy after missing the 2018 season with a torn ACL, Henry could have a breakout season as one of fantasy’s top tight ends for the Chargers in 2019.
Another player to consider ahead of Graham is Eric Ebron. Andrew Luck often targets his tight ends, which was evident as Ebron brought in 13 touchdowns last season. He might not hit double-digit touchdowns again in 2019, but his role in the Colts offense should ensure he has a safe floor.
Jared Cook is another possible target in the mid-rounds. The former Packer joins Drew Brees and the high-flying Saints offense. Cook could be an excellent target in the middle of the field and in the red zone for Brees, raising his fantasy value.
Graham’s disappointing season, paired with the uncertainty of a new offense and addition of Sternberger, makes him a risky fantasy pick.
Unless you can get him in the final few rounds, avoid Graham and go in a different direction at the tight end position this year.