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New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham was heading towards a second straight 1000-yard, ten touchdown season before he seemingly hit a wall. Graham has been dealing with a wrist injury that has, no doubt, been hindering his play. With everything at stake, should you start Graham in your fantasy football championship game?
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Before you even consider benching Graham, you will have to have a pretty serious backup. I’m talking a Greg Olsen or Dennis Pitta type. If you’re going to sit down one of the games best tight ends, you better have a great alternative.
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Sure, Graham has failed to score a touchdown in three straight games.  Sure, he has not topped 60 yards since Week 10. You know, given his size and athleticism, that he is capable of breaking out in a big way any time he steps on the football field.
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Graham is averaging 49.2 yards per game in his past five games.  He has just one touchdown during that stretch. There aren’t many tight ends that average 50 yards per game. If you have one that is capable of doubling that mark, you almost have to stick with him.
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Graham may have just one touchdown catch in his past five games, but he has 19 over the past two years.  He is a nightmare to cover around the goal line because he’s too quick for linebackers and too big for defensive backs.
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I know you’re frustrated that you haven’t getting the big game from Jimmy Graham lately. I suggest you ride it out and hope that he delivers you a championship next week against the Dallas Cowboys.
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Boser’s Tweetbeat –
Sifting through the hashtags to bring you the hottest trending Twitter topics in the Fantasy Football industry.
By Ryan Boser
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Golden Graham
Casual fantasy footballers everywhere have earmarked New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham as their favorite 2011 sleeper. They’re in for a rude awakening. Graham’s a household name inside industry circles. In fact, he’s so so popular that I’m beginning to wonder if he’s being overvalued. Listen, I love him as much as the next guy. A 6’6″, 260 lb. power forward in a pass-happy offense? Sign me up.
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My only caution is that we’re still working with a minuscule half-season sample size. Graham’s four touchdowns over the final three regular season games mask the fact that he reached 30 yards just once in his past six. What’s more, Drew Brees spreads the ball as much as any quarterback in the league—how many happy Marques Colston owners do you know? I can appreciate getting ahead of the curve on Graham, but too often I’m seeing him come off the board in the same general vicinity as guys like Vernon Davis, Jason Witten, and Jermichael Finley. That’s too rich for my blood.
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Star Search
Every draft or auction has a couple of guys (or gals) who love their rookie wide receivers. They dream of turning up the next Randy Moss, Marques Colston, or Mike Williams (Tampa Bay). Moss was a first round prodigy back in 1998. Colston, as the 27th wide receiver selected, was a seventh round gem in 2006. Last season, Williams was a fourth rounder and the 14th receiver off the board. Noticing a trend? Me neither… there is none. Rookie receivers certainly are capable of having great seasons, but they’re incredibly unpredictable.
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Let’s stick with Williams for a moment. He was a borderline fantasy WR1 last season, with an impressive 65 catches, 964 yards, and 11 touchdowns. However, those 13 wide receivers drafted before him averaged 22/280/1.5, and outside of a nice six-game midseason stretch by Dez Bryant, none of them really provided anything noteworthy. Of the six 2009 first rounders, Percy Harvin and Hakeem Nicks gave us decent WR2/3 options, but Jeremy Maclin, Michael Crabtree, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Kenny Britt were plug’n plays at best. DeSean Jackson topped the 2008 rookie charts—he was the seventh receiver drafted, and the No. 34 fantasy wide receiver. Dwayne Bowe paced the 2007 first rounders (including Calvin Johnson, Ted Ginn, Jr., Robert Meachem, Buster Davis, and Anthony Gonzalez) with an ordinary 70/995/5 season.
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You get the point. A.J. Green, Julio Jones, and Jonathan Baldwin are creeping up draft boards. Chances are that one of them will give us solid production next season, but keep this post in mind when you’re choosing between a rookie and a proven commodity. For every boom, there’s a dozen busts.
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Beanie Blinders
Shockingly, there’s still a small segment of the fantasy community infatuated with Beanie Wells’ “potential.” Despite the injuries and the struggles in pass protection, they’re still holding out hope. They refuse to accept the fact that the coaching staff loves Tim Hightower, one of the least talented backs in the league, because he’s more dependable than Wells in every facet of the game. For reference, Beanie’s averaged 10.7 touches per game over the past two seasons, while Hightower’s averaged 11.9. What’s more, Arizona’s offensive line is lousy, and Beanie can’t break a tackle (he broke just four in 116 carries last season). Don’t be fooled again in 2011—Beanie’s a bust.
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Reaching for the Blount
This past week, Andy Benoit’s critical analysis of LeGarrette Blount in the New York Times drew a heavy Twitter response, and the opinions were overwhelmingly one-sided. Industry insiders agree—Blount is overrated. The consensus seemed to be that he’s not especially talented, and that he’ll be hard pressed to overachieve again. People are especially wary of him in PPR leagues (he caught just five balls last season) and keeper/dynasty leagues, as most don’t think he has the chops to stick for long as an uncontested starter. Personally, I’m fine with him as an RB2 in standard scoring leagues for 2011, but because of his deficiencies in the passing game I think his ceiling is lower than some of the other backs drafted in that same proximity.
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Ryan Boser is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA), and regularly contributes writing and commentary to numerous media outlets. Ryan’s own website, Out of My League, covers both fantasy football and the Minnesota sports landscape.


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