First of all I am not saying that you definitely have to take Jimmy Graham in the 2nd round of Fantasy Football drafts, but if he is available at pick 20 overall then it’s a slam dunk pick.  I’m talking Dr. J  posterizing Michael Cooper type of pick. (What, you don’t know who Dr. J is? Fine, Blake Griffin over Kendrick Perkins.)  Getting a tight end that’s head and shoulders above all the others is awesome, but getting one that could put up wide receiver 1 type numbers is a huge bonus.  What type of numbers are we talking?  Well some fantasy pundits think Jimmy Graham can get to 100+ catches with 1500 yards and 15 TDS.  Those numbers are ridiculous by normal tight end standards, but only sound outlandish.  In 2011 Graham had 111 catches, 1468 yards and 14 TDs and he had room to grow.

Jimmy Graham

Crazy Numbers

Jimmy Graham’s 2011 TE numbers Compared to Last year’s Highest scoring WRs

Jimmy Graham scored 341.8 fantasy points in 2011

Calvin Johnson scored 348.4 total fantasy points in 2012

Brandon Marshall scored 334.8 fantasy points in 2012

Andre Johnson scored 323.5 fantasy points in 2012

Yeah, so when you’re faced with taking Graham or Demaryius Thomas or Julio Jones just look at those numbers.  When healthy Jimmy Graham will outscore every wide receiver in the league not named Megatron and plays a position where there is precipitous drop off after he is drafted.  I’m not condoning taking him in the first round like some other guys are, but I definitely see their point.  I just don’t like the way my team looks after taking Jimmy graham in the first round.  My running backs end up being either a year away from social security or rookies that are a complete mystery.

I’m much more comfortable taking a running back or Calvin Johnson in the first round of a draft.  I tend to like how my team looks on paper after the draft and it helps me sleep at night.  When I go running back in the first round I feel like there is an opportunity  to take Jimmy Graham in the second round because I already have that security blanket.  Just call me Linus hanging onto C. J. Spiller with all my might.  I will take Jimmy Graham before almost every receiver after Calvin Johnson.  The only one that gives me pause is Dez Bryant because of his Megatron-lite like qualities.

If I don’t get Graham in the second round you can count on me putting the tight end blinders on until the 10th round.  10th round, really?  Yep, I will only look at tight ends if there is a tremendous value.  I will contemplate Gronk at the bottom of the 4th round if my top 14 WRs have all been taken.  I will look at Jason Witten in the middle of the 5th if I’m not happy with what’s there at runningback or wide-receiver.  Almost every time they haven’t made it to where I would be willing to pick them.  So on the blinders go until the 10th.

The 9th round is usually the toughest to hold off because the ADP usually is pushing Greg Olsen or Jared Cook, but I can always find a wide receiver or a high upside back up running back to take.  I do like Olsen because he is legitimately the number 2 passing target in Carolina, but there are similar tight ends available much later.  Jared Cook is said to be the new slot favorite of Sam Bradford, but I have heard his virtues sung from many a Titans training camp only to have a giant hole on my roster.

Owen Daniels

the 10th round is where I start to survey the tight end landscape and usually to my surprise some very decent tight ends have fallen.  Guys like Jermichael Finley, Owen Daniels, and Martellus Bennett are usually available in the 10th round and you can look at other owners roster dept to plan your course of attack.  I usually take Bennett out of the equation as I have never been a fan of his sloppy route running, but I do like the huge chunks of yardage Owen Daniels rips off in the Texans play action passing game.  If Daniels isn’t on the board I have to back to Jermichael Finley once again.

Spilled Coffee

The guy has burned me more times than Dunkin Donuts coffee, but I will still go back for more. Finley’s impending free agency and his age (only 26) make for a great opportunity for him to cash in big time if he has a huge year.  He has the talent, but he is only the fourth option in the Packers’ vaunted passing offense.  It’s better now that Greg Jennings has moved on to Minnesota, but I would still be more comfortable with Daniels because of his position in the pecking order in Houston.

Let’s say I miss out on all those guys in the 10th round.  Should I panic?  Heck no!  I still have options.  Jordan Cameron of the Browns becomes my new tight end obsession.  I will him to come to me in the 11th or 12 rounds.  It’s just that simple.  I wish for it and he appears.  The power of positive thinking! (or some bullshit) Again if there is another sneaky GM just in front of me who happens to steal him from me I turn my sites to some guys that were once considered tight end 1 material.  I start to go after Brandon Pettigrew, Fred Davis and Dustin Keller like there’s no tomorrow. And usually there isn’t a tomorrow because I am doing this at the very end of drafts.(Note:Dustin Keller suffered a career threatening knee injury last night.)

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my affections for Tyler Eifert and Zach Sudfeld.  Two huge targets that are going to be a big part of their passing games.  I love to pair them with a seasoned veteran as a high upside TE2.

Looking up and having Brandon Pettigrew as my starting tight end might not feel very good, but it’s a lot more comforting than having Darren McFadden or DeMarco Murray as my RB1!  Take it from me you will sleep better at night waiting on a tight end than drafting anyone, but Jimmy Graham in the early rounds.