As first reported by Mr. Scoops, Jay Glazer, Jimmy Graham and a fourth-round pick were shipped from New Orleans to Seattle for center Max Unger and a first rounder.
Well … that was out of left field.
The move is an enormous shot in the arm for a Seattle passing offense sorely lacking big-play receivers. Doug Baldwin has shown flashes and Paul Richardson and Super Bowl standout Chris Matthews offer upside, but adding Graham is a game changer. At 6-foot-7, 265-pounds, the man is Groot with a helmet. A touchdown scoring machine, he’s routinely dunked footballs averaging 138.3 targets, 88.7 receptions, 1099 receiving yards and 11.5 scores per season since 2011. As a result, he’s finished inside the tight end top-four in four consecutive seasons. The man is a beast.
Unfortunately, his address change could reduce his numbers measurably. Seattle’s largely conservative offense likely won’t open up, especially with Marshawn Lynch back. Graham will continue to be a red-zone staple and is capable of 8-10 scores in 2015, but his receptions and yards will likely decline. Yes, the ‘Hawks didn’t have a player the caliber of Graham, but Seattle TEs totaled a 48-757-6 line last year, the 16th-best output at the position. The multi-time All-Pro is a top-five lock, but it would be no surprise to see him slip a round or two in drafts. Rob Gronkowski will be the unrivaled No. 1 TE in fantasy drafts.
As for Russell Wilson, Graham’s arrival greatly increases his overall value. Already a projected top-five passer by many, he should see an uptick in vertical production, though possibly at a rushing TDs cost. Roughly 27-30 total scores with 4,200-4,500 combined yards are in my fearless forecast. Covet his consistency and multi-dimensional contributions come August.
In New Orleans, the Saints will continue to do what they do best, throw like mad. Graham’s departure is a significant blow for an aging Drew Brees, but the scheme won’t change. The Saints could fill the void in the NFL Draft. Maxx Williams, for example, is similar in size and skills as Graham. If a suitable replacement isn’t found, Brandin Cooks and Kenny Stills would stand to benefit, each potentially enticing some 7-9 targets per game. Tight end Josh Hill is another player to watch. He's no Graham, but he possess considerable athleticism and has the trust of Brees.
• Elsewhere in the wild and wacky NFL, Chip Kelly was up to his usual unpredictable ways as the Eagles sent Nick Foles and draft-pick compensation to St. Louis for Sam Bradford.
Yes, I’m just as perplexed as you.
Bradford has only occasionally delivered startable numbers in fantasy. Since playing a full 16-game slate in 2010, he’s missed a whopping 15 games to various injuries. Putting it mildly, he would break a bone in a snowball fight. Still, IF he can stay healthy and IF the Eagles don’t sell the farm for Marcus Mariota, he will be a popular breakout candidate on ‘expert’ lists. Philly’s frenetic, high-flying offense, even sans Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy, is a terrific setup. Last year, Mark Sanchez averaged 21.3 fantasy points per game in the system for crying out loud. Comparatively, Tom Brady clocked in at 21.4 fantasy points per game.
Though he is now more of a middling QB2 in 12-team formats, Foles, meanwhile, should provide stability for a young Rams offense. Stedman Bailey, Brian Quick, Tavon Austin and Tre Mason receive upgrades. Quick, in particular, could bust out, especially for the PPR masses. Recall, he was on pace for a quality 57-857-7 campaign before a torn rotator cuff sidelined him. Still, the division, despite the Niners' lost defensive potency, is a major fantasy obstacle.