The hits just keep on coming. This time it’s Jimmy Graham signing with the Packers for three years and $30 million. This news was immediately followed up with the news that Jordy Nelson has been released. Let’s examine what that means for the Packers’ offense.
Jimmy Graham, TE GB
This off-season we’ve seen many different takes about Jimmy Graham ranging from he’s washed up to he’s going to become elite again with Drew Brees. Instead, he now finds himself catching passes from Aaron Rodgers. There are likely those of who still believe this to be a bad thing and that the move is overhyped.
It’s true that the under Mike McCarthy, the Packers historically have not targeted their tight end very much. Green Bay has only targeted their tight end at least 75 times in a total of three seasons. However, besides Jermichael Finley, what super talented tight ends have the Packers had to throw to? In recent years, they’ve run with the likes of Andrew Quarless, Richard Rodgers, Jared Cook, and a washed-up Martellus Bennett.
I know this inspires a chicken or egg conversation, but I truly believe the Packers intend to use Jimmy Graham and often. The release of Nelson does nothing to change my opinion that they plan to future Graham heavily in their offense. Recent months have seen Graham’s dynasty stock fall greatly, and I hope you took full advantage because he has at least another few seasons of high-end tight end play left in him.
Davante Adams, WR GB
Davante Adams has been one of the big beneficiaries this off-season. He signed a contract extension with the Packers for four years and $58 million. Being tied to Rodgers for a long time is never a bad thing.
I do have some concerns about Adams however. Most of his fantasy value to date has come from his ability to catch touchdowns, as he has never had a season where he has more than 75 receptions. I expect this to change with him becoming the true No. 1 option for the team, but it is still something to keep an eye on.
Additionally, adding Graham adds another red zone threat for the Packers to use, which may limit Adams’ touchdown upside a bit. Rodgers is such a talented quarterback that there will be plenty of touchdowns to go around for both, but it may mean that Adams isn’t the primary option in the red zone. Regardless, the addition of Graham should help take some defensive attention off Adams.
For dynasty purposes, Adams has already been working his way towards the edge of first-round value. If Graham can help him get open more frequently, you may be looking at a future first rounder as early as next season. If you have him, I’d recommend holding, but I wouldn’t recommend trying to buy at his current price.
Randall Cobb, WR GB
If you asked me about a month ago who gets cut between Randall Cobb and Nelson, I would have guessed Cobb. I’d never guess that the Packers would release the guy that Aaron Rodgers has a true bromance with. The one advantage Cobb has over Nelson is that he is five years younger and thus can be a contributor to the Packers’ offense for longer than Nelson could have.
Cobb has a had a few down seasons in a row, but the signing of Graham helps him. You may not think as much initially but remember that he plays out of the slot. Graham will be used over the middle and down the seam, which will help Cobb to get open as well as defenses are more likely to key on Graham.
The release of Nelson also means that Cobb is back to be the de facto No. 2 wide receiver. If you recall, he had his best season when he played the No. 2 to Nelson back in 2014. We are a few seasons removed from that, but his ADP is cheap enough that he’s worth taking a flier on if you think he can recapture any of his old form.
Geronimo Allison, WR GB
Sorry Jeff Janis fans, but it more likely that Geronimo Allison emerges as the new Packers’ receiver to take snaps in three wide receiver sets. In his career to date, Allison hasn’t shown all that much but he also has seen at most 39 targets in a season. I expect that to increase a bit this season, and as you all know being the third receiver for Rodgers can be very profitable especially at the right price.
Aaron Rodgers, QB GB
I’m not sure how Aaron Rodgers feels about this move. On the one hand, he has gotten one of the premier tight end talents in the game to throw to. On the other hand, he lost his best bro in Jordy Nelson.
Ultimately, I imagine he feels pretty good about it. I must admit that Rodgers is no longer my QB1 for dyno purposes, but the addition of Graham certainly helps his case. Remember, this is a guy who has finished as a Top 10 quarterback for fantasy purposes in every season since 2010 except the two seasons where he was injured. Buy him if anyone like me is dumb enough to discount him even slightly because of his age.
Nick Vannett, TE SEA
Nick Vannett is one of the worst-kept secrets in the fantasy football community right now. So many different writers have been touting him that if you don’t know who he is you haven’t been paying attention. The former third-round pick is in line to become the pass-catching tight end for the Seahawks and that’s a very profitable place to be when Russell Wilson is throwing you the ball.
However, it may not be too late. Vannett didn’t even rank in DLF March ADP. Go out and acquire him from your waivers or for a fourth-round pick before your league mates realize what’s happening.
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