Jimmy Graham Fantasy News

Tuesday, July 7, 2015, 9:31am

Pro Football Talk - [Full Article]

Per Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News Tribune, the Seahawks may begin to groom Gary Gilliam at left tackle as the season progresses, given that Russell Okung is in the last year of his contract. Also, rookie Mark Glowinski eventually could push J.R. Sweezy at right guard.

Regardless of who plays in 2015, they’ll need to play better than they have.

Fantasy Impact:

The story pointed out some who could be directly affected by poor line play if it continues, mentioning quarterback Russell Wilson has faced consistent pressure in passing situations, which could make it difficult for the Seahawks to take full advantage of tight end Jimmy Graham. And it could make running back Marshawn Lynch more likely to call it quits following a season of getting banged around by defenders that the offensive line fails to keep away from him.

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C.J. Spiller should have Darren Sproles-like role

Sunday, July 5, 2015, 3:20pm

Fox Sports - [Full Article]

Whether or not Saints RB C.J. Spiller ends up being the starter is question in and of itself, but he is going to come through with a big season.

He may not see the same type of usage on the ground, but he is going to fill a role that is very similar to the one that Darren Sproles had during his tenure with the Saints. As Robert Cobb of TheInscriberMag.com stated, Spiller’s ability to be a receiver out of the backfield is going to be a major help for the Saints’ offense.

New Orleans head coach Sean Payton loved what Sproles brought to the field, and it was obvious that they missed him last season after trading him. Signing a player like Spiller shows exactly how much the Saints wanted to bring back a player who is similar to Sproles.

Fantasy Impact:

Unfortunately, Spiller has struggled with quite a few injury issues throughout his career. He has only played an entire season as a workhorse in one of his five NFL seasons, and he was an absolute star in that season, the story said. Other than that, Spiller has been inconsistent at best or simply wasn’t used much. Spiller should help to fill a void left by TE Jimmy Graham, so Spiller's value should come in PPR leagues as Mark Ingram is expected to get a bulk of the carries. We forecast Spiller for 68 catches, the most among RBs.

Sunday, June 28, 2015, 9:34am

ESPN - [Full Article]

When the offseason program ended Thursday, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll pointed to two players who stood out to him through the rookie camp and organized team activities (OTAs).

The first one is rookie wide receiver Tyler Lockett, the team’s third-round draft choice.

“It’s been really fun to learn about Tyler," Carroll said. “He’s got a lot of responsibilities. He’s going after this return job, he’s inside playing in the slot in the receiver position, and he’s been outside.

“We’ve just thrown everything at him because he seems to be able to handle it. He studies really hard. You don’t really know until you get these guys how dedicated they will be, but he’s been an exciting addition to the team.”

The other standout for Carroll is tight end Jimmy Graham, the Pro-Bowl player who should make a big impact on the offense this season.

“Jimmy coming in with the big history and all the accomplishments that he had, he could have been all kinds of things,” Carroll said. “He’s a great kid. He’s as hard a worker as we could hope to get. He loves the game. He loves the challenge and he loves coming to a new setting and having to prove himself. He’s feeding off that.”

Fantasy Impact:

Lockett is listed fourth our Seattle WR depth chart and isn't expected to be a typical fantasy league option - at least to start the season. Graham, on the other hand, is second among our TEs heading into fantasy drafts and projects as a third round pick. We think his value takes a little hit in a Seahawk, run-oriented offense, but given there isn't really a standout among the WRs, Graham should still get his targets.

Sorting out the Seahawks receiving corps

Friday, June 26, 2015, 2:03pm

Seattle Times - [Full Article]

Seahawks beat writer Bob Condotta (of the Seattle Times) was asked to predict the pecking order at receiver:

If you go with just two receivers, then I’d still go with Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse being the two starters for the opening game. They are the two most experienced and proven receivers on the team and also excel at a really underrated aspect of the game that is hugely important to the coaches — blocking. That’s one reason you rarely saw those two come off the field last season. Teams obviously often run three-receiver sets. And if what we saw in OTAs and mini-caps is any indication, then the starting 3-WR sets would well include Baldwin, Kearse and Chris Matthews. Tyler Lockett projects as Baldwin’s backup, with the other spots sort of a jumble at the moment. But as of now, I’d go with Kevin Norwood and Ricardo Lockette as the other backups. As you note, Paul Richardson could well being the year on the PUP list. If he’s healthy by opening day, I’d put him on the second unit. As for the Kearse and Matthews, there’s no question that what Matthews did in the Super Bowl creates a lot of excitement going forward. But Kearse is one of the team’s most versatile receivers and as noted, also excels at blocking. For now, I think he holds on to a role as being more of an every down receiver.

Fantasy Impact:

Matthews is a deep sleeper this year despite a great performance in the Super Bowl. Baldwin should be usable in fantasy leagues, but with the addition of TE Jimmy Graham, there will be fewer targets available to the Seattle receivers.

Saints Beat: Don't expect 'a major breakthrough' for TE Josh Hill

Sunday, June 21, 2015, 7:28pm

Mike Triplett, ESPN - [Full Article]

Saints beat writer Mike Triplett on the Saints' TE situation:

I've written a lot about Josh Hill this summer, as well. I think he'll pop up on the fantasy radar since he'll get an opportunity at more touches with Graham gone. But I'm not expecting a major breakthrough. I think Hill's 5 TDs last year were a bit misleading since he was usually benefitting from being the "open man" on those plays instead of a red-zone monster. He had only 14 catches overall. I actually think tight end Ben Watson could be a sleeper late-round pickup in deeper leagues and during bye weeks, etc. Watson might have led the Saints in catches during the OTA and minicamp practices that were open to the media. He won't have a breakout year at age 34, but he'll be regularly involved.

Fantasy Impact:

Jimmy Graham, Hill and Watson combined for 1,634 snaps last year, with Watson playing 50 percent of the team's snaps. Sean Payton said that Watson's role won't change in 2015, but didn't say if that meant he would play about the same number of snaps. Hill's snaps should at least double (to 50 percent) and he even has upside from there since Jimmy Graham played on 68 percent of the snaps. It was worrisome that Payton mentioned "two-TE sets" when discussing Hill's potential playing time, since it indicates that he's not going to start. At the end of the day, the Saints are looking for playmakers in the passing game, so while we're not as bullish as we were a month ago on Hill's upside, he's still looking like a nice pick in the later rounds of fantasy drafts. If he's producing, he'll play.

Saints HC Sean Payton 'anxious' to use C.J. Spiller in offense

Friday, June 19, 2015, 4:09pm

USA Today - [Full Article]

Saints HC Sean Payton indicated that he is experimenting with plays specifically with C.J. Spiller in mind.

"When you sign a player like that ... you are anxious to see how it fits with what you are doing and you begin to expand some things," Payton said.

Quarterback Drew Brees said he envisioned plenty of snaps for Spiller, not only because of his explosiveness, but also because at 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, he's sturdy enough to run inside and even block in pass protection, as former Saints running back Pierre Thomas did.

"He's got some of the quickness and the speed and kind of that slash element like a Sproles," Brees said of Spiller. "But he's bigger in stature like a Pierre, and so there's really not anything he can't do."

Fantasy Impact:

While New Orleans may not be an ideal landing spot in the carries department, Spiller should have a big role in the passing game with Pierre Thomas, Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills no longer on the roster. He’ll likely take over the role of Thomas, who averaged 11.6 touches in the last two seasons. Thomas finished with a top 30 PPG (PPR) in six of the last seven seasons, so that's a reasonable baseline for Spiller. New Orleans running backs caught 275 passes in the last two seasons, so there are plenty of catches to go around. In short, he has significant PPR upside in this offense, but his workload will be somewhat limited since he'll be part of a committee.

Saints Beat: RB C.J. Spiller primed for 'breakout year'

Wednesday, June 17, 2015, 1:07pm

nola.com - [Full Article]

Saints beat writer Jeff Duncan:

Word of advice: Draft C.J. Spiller on your fantasy football team. The Saints are going to get him the ball in a number of ways this season. If he can stay healthy, he could have a breakout year. It certainly won't be for lack of opportunity.

Fantasy Impact:

While New Orleans may not be an ideal landing spot in the carries department, Spiller should have a big role in the passing game with Pierre Thomas, Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills no longer on the roster. He’ll likely take over the role of Thomas, who averaged 11.6 touches in the last two seasons. Thomas finished with a top 30 PPG (PPR) in six of the last seven seasons, so that's a reasonable baseline for Spiller. New Orleans running backs caught 275 passes in the last two seasons, so there are plenty of catches to go around. In short, he has significant PPR upside in this offense, but his workload will be somewhat limited since he'll be part of a committee.

Brees: Saints WR Nick Toon has a 'great opportunity' in 2015

Tuesday, June 16, 2015, 9:01pm

New Orleans Saints - [Full Article]

Talking about wide receivers, Nick Toon has been here for years now, do you think that this could potentially be his year to emerge.

Saints QB Drew Brees: “I do, absolutely. This will be his fourth season and that first year he was injured, the second year he made progress, and then last year he had a chance to kind of break out a little bit and get some opportunities to play once (Brandin) Cooks went down and I felt like made the most of it. We saw glimpses. For him it’s just a matter of repetition and the more opportunities he gets I think the more plays he is going to make. We’ve had the ability to maneuver him around and give him more opportunities that way and he’s been able to handle it very well. So I’m excited for Nick Toon, he’s got a great opportunity I think there’s a great fit for him and a great opportunity for him and a great role for him in this offense.”

Fantasy Impact:

Toon figures to serve as the WR3 behind Brandin Cooks and Marques Colston. The role hasn't traditionally been a big fantasy producer, but Jimmy Graham is gone so the team figures to get less production out of the tight end position. If anything happens to Cooks or Colston, fantasy owners should have Toon on speed dial.

Saints WR Brandon Coleman showing major improvement

Friday, June 5, 2015, 5:50pm

nola.com - [Full Article]

Last year, Saints WR Brandon Coleman struggled with the offense and consistency catching the football was nonexistent. Both of those facets have improved dramatically during the first two weeks of OTAs. Coleman came up with several receptions Thursday during first-team drills to drive the point home.

Coleman nabbed a deep ball from Drew Brees as safety Kenny Vaccaro lost him coming off the line as an inside receiver. Coleman picked up another nice reception on a back shoulder throw from rookie Garrett Grayson with cornerback Kyle Wilson in coverage.

Coleman's most impressive play wasn't his flashiest. The Saints wideout outmaneuvered Keenan Lewis in one-on-one coverage on a crossing route to pick up another pass connection with Brees.

It's very early, but no longer does Coleman appear to be just some 6-foot-6 guy you're hoping can become something. He's getting past that point with each practice.

Fantasy Impact:

There is opportunity in the Saints' passing game with Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills gone and Marques Colston getting older. Coleman stands 6-6 and could turn into a serious weapon for the Saints if he proves he's ready to play.

Seahawks TE Jimmy Graham says team's running game makes his job 'easier'

Friday, June 5, 2015, 4:46pm

CSN Bay Area - [Full Article]

"No. 1, with maybe multiple tight end sets, that's gonna just open it up," Seahawks TE Jimmy Graham told the Seattle Times. "These last couple of years for me, playing against guys who aren't concerned about the run at all. They know I will try to do a double move and run this go route. It makes it more difficult. So this will just make my job easier when it comes to the passing game."

Graham's height and downfield ability have made him a feared weapon, but now paired with Russell Wilson, the tight end foresees a new dynamic in his game, which could lead to increased production.

"Russ’s ability to extend a play is unbelievable. Out there in New Orleans, everything was about timing so when you hit that step, that ball is coming ... And now when you hit a step and look back, maybe he saw something and now he’s scrambling so there’s a second opportunity.

"This offense and this team is dangerous on those second opportunities. When he gets out of the pocket and he’s able to work and kind of play street ball, which I’ve always been pretty good at, the offense is extremely explosive.”

Fantasy Impact:

Graham finished with 85 catches for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns, but his season was somewhat disappointing, especially down the stretch. He averaged 4.0 catches for 44 yards and 0.2 TD in his final five games, including a weird zero-target goose egg in Week 13 against Pittsburgh. Now he heads to Seattle, where the Seahawks have been looking to upgrade at tight end for a while. Graham's value takes a minor hit as he heads to the run-oriented Seahawks, though he'll continue to be a target hog given the current state of the Seattle receiving corps. His 14.6 PPR fantasy points was second at his position to Rob Gronkowski, and he's likely to be the second tight end off the board in 2015 fantasy drafts.

Seahawks TE Jimmy Graham 'practically unstoppable' in redzone

Wednesday, June 3, 2015, 9:39am

PFT - [Full Article]

Jimmy Graham put on a one-man show during red zone drills in practice with the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday.

The Seahawks newest addition on offense was practically unstoppable near the goal line in the team’s first workout open to the media with Graham participating since the trade to acquire him from New Orleans in March.

Graham caught four touchdown passes in 7-on-7 drills and added another in full team drills. Any time Graham got singled up on a defender, Russell Wilson was throwing Graham’s direction and finding success in doing so.

“He’s a superstar, he’s going to be one for a long time, and my goal is to help him continue to grow,” Wilson said. “He looked great today, as you guys saw, and that’s how he looks every day, so it’s a spectacular thing.”

Fantasy Impact:

Graham finished with 85 catches for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns, but his season was somewhat disappointing, especially down the stretch. He averaged 4.0 catches for 44 yards and 0.2 TD in his final five games, including a weird zero-target goose egg in Week 13 against Pittsburgh. Now he heads to Seattle, where the Seahawks have been looking to upgrade at tight end for a while. Graham's value takes a minor hit as he heads to the run-oriented Seahawks, though he'll continue to be a target hog given the current state of the Seattle receiving corps. His 14.6 PPR fantasy points was second at his position to Rob Gronkowski, and he's likely to be the second tight end off the board in 2015 fantasy drafts, especially if his shoulder injury is fully behind him.

Comparing Brandin Cooks to Antonio Brown

Friday, May 29, 2015, 5:26pm

nola.com - [Full Article]

Saints WR Brandin Cooks' sample size was only about one-third of Antonio Brown's output. That being said, the traits between the two are strong.

The Saints wide receiver ranked second in the NFL in catch percentage among wide receivers playing in 25 percent of the snaps in 2014 by Pro Football Focus.

Drew Brees targeted Cooks 65 times with the wideout tallying 53 receptions. Only two of those missed opportunities were drops by Cooks. Brees also compiled a 110.9 quarterback rating when throwing to Cooks.

Brown's 129 catches came on 178 targets, resulting in a 72.5 completion percentage when targeted. The Steelers' stud receiver led the NFL in completion percentage when ranking the players taking at least 50 percent of the snaps in 2014.

Fantasy Impact:

The article discusses how Cooks has gone to Brown for advice about becoming a better wide receiver. Through Week 11, Cooks was the #22 WR in PPR formats and #25 in standard scoring systems. He caught at least five passes in seven of 10 games, and is likely to lead the Saints in targets with Jimmy Graham no longer on the roster. Solid WR2 numbers are well within reach, and Cooks could conceivably finish as a WR1 in PPR leagues.

Saints Beat: 'Don't sleep' on TE Ben Watson

Friday, May 29, 2015, 1:48pm

Mike Triplett, ESPN - [Full Article]

Mike Triplett on the Saints' tight end situation:

Veteran tight end Benjamin Watson was arguably the New Orleans Saints’ player of the day during Thursday’s OTA practice – catching both short and long passes alike. Watson caught one deep pass over the middle that likely would have gone for a touchdown even if the Saints were live tackling. He broke open past outside linebacker Anthony Spencer before safety help arrived.

Of course, Watson won’t become the next Jimmy Graham in New Orleans’ offense. But at the same time, don’t sleep on the idea that the 34-year-old could play an expanded role as a pass-catcher after Graham was traded to the Seattle Seahawks.

As I wrote in my recent fantasy breakdown, I don’t think this is a case where young backup tight end Josh Hill will simply leapfrog Watson in the pecking order. Watson will likely even play more snaps than Hill because of his blocking ability.

Fantasy Impact:

While Watson could cause Hill owners headaches in certain situations, he's 34-years-old and is going to have a tough time playing starter's snaps ahead of Hill. HC Sean Payton continues to fawn over Hill's skillset, so we believe he's going to breakout this season, a la Travis Kelce or Jordan Cameron in recent years.

Brees: WR Brandin Cooks has 'all kinds of talent'

Thursday, April 23, 2015, 1:35am

ESPN - [Full Article]

Saints WR Brandin Cooks was really starting to hit his stride when he suffered a season-ending thumb injury in Week 10 last year. Of all the rookie receivers who burst into the scene in the NFL last year, Cooks was actually leading all rookie receivers with 53 receptions at the time of his injury. And the Saints were starting to consistently hit on some deep balls to the 5-10, 189-pound speedster.

Drew Brees said he and Cooks have already spent some time training together this offseason in San Diego, where Brees calls home base when he's not in New Orleans.

"Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah," Brees said when asked if Cooks is one of the guys he's excited to watch develop. "Man, I love everything about him, his makeup, and then just his physical ability. I mean he's got all kinds of talent."

Fantasy Impact:

Through Week 11, Cooks was the #22 WR in PPR formats and #25 in standard scoring systems. He caught at least five passes in seven of 10 games, and may lead the Saints in targets with Jimmy Graham no longer on the roster. Solid WR2 numbers are well within reach.

Friday, April 10, 2015, 4:32pm

Times-Picayune - [Full Article]

Can Saints WR Brandin Cooks become a No. 1 WR?

Stature stands in the way of Cooks being perceived as a No. 1-type wide receiver in the NFL. Not many true No. 1 wideouts are 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds.

Yet Cooks needs to be that primary pass catcher with the Saints losing Kenny Stills in a trade to Miami and Marques Colston's best days behind him. Cooks only turns 22 in September and missed the last six games last season with a hand injury. Cooks possesses the tools to become the guy.

Fantasy Impact:

As the author points out, those are lofty expectations for Cooks. But we've all seen Steve Smith become a Pro Bowler as a No. 1 wide receiver for Carolina for several seasons. Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown is the latest example leading the NFL in catches and yards last season, the story adds. Cooks said this offseason how he's striving to emulate Brown. With no more Stills and Jimmy Graham, the Saints hope and need Cooks to quickly develop into their top option. This seems to be good news for his fantasy value heading into 2015.

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