Yesterday, the news broke that Jimmy Graham is joining Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. My phone immediately blew up, between friends discussing it in group chats and our group DM for the Redraft Team here at DFF. There’s a wide-range of reactions from a fantasy perspective, so I figured I’d do a little digging.
- Where Does Jimmy Graham “Win” On the Field?
- Where Does Aaron Rodgers “Win” On the Field?
- How Has Green Bay Used TEs Historically?
- Outlook for Jimmy Graham’s 2018
Where Does Jimmy Graham “Win” On the Field?
Jimmy Graham has been exceptional for his entire career at nearly every depth of target. It helps to play with guys named Drew Brees and Russell Wilson, but still, he’s able to win all over the field. His career aDOT is just under 9-yards, which makes sense when you look at where he wins. There are always going to be short routes that tight ends are asked to run. When Graham runs longer routes, he’s well above league average in RACR (converting air yards into receiving yards). You can see his career RACR by depth of target below.
Where Does Aaron Rodgers “Win” On the Field?
Ok… so, Jimmy Graham is #good almost anywhere on the football field. This guy Aaron Rodgers also knows what he’s doing on the field. As you can see in the chart below, Rodgers has been efficient at almost every depth of target. This takes into account all passes thrown by Rodgers though, and to assess Graham’s value we need to also take a look at how Green Bay’s TEs have fared in general.
How Has Green Bay Used TEs Historically?
Since Aaron Rodgers took over in 2008, there have been 13 Packers’ TEs that have played in double-digit games and averaged at least two targets per game. Here’s a look at how they’ve performed on average:
To say that TEs in Green Bay have been underwhelming would be an understatement. That isn’t meant to imply that they haven’t gone after free agent tight ends before. They have brought in guys like Martellus Bennett and Jared Cook on decent contracts to try and provide that missing part of their offense. Unfortunately, it hasn’t come to fruition over the past few years.
Outlook for Jimmy Graham’s 2018
This seems like a move that makes a ton of sense from an NFL perspective. The headache of trying to game plan for an impactful TE, along with the rest of the offensive weapons, will give defensive coordinators headaches this season.
From a fantasy perspective, I’m not sold. I’ve seen this song and dance before with TEs coming into Green Bay and disappointing. My TE Model would have put him at 154 PPR points for this upcoming season assuming he stayed in Seattle. Based on what we’ve seen from Green Bay historically, I think that’s still a reasonable expectation. About 150 PPR points would’ve put him in the TE8-TE9 range in 2017.
Unfortunately, I don’t think he’s going to be a value for you in your fantasy drafts. With the Rodgers’ bump, there’s a good chance he’ll be too expensive for me to have on many of my teams this year.