Jimmy Graham's absence from Week 7 will certainly affect the New Orleans Saints in Tampa Bay. Fantasy-wise, though, this opens the door for some of his teammates to shine. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers get a sigh of relief on the defensive end.
Which players will benefit from Graham being out? Whose fantasy value will suffer? Scroll down to find out.
Winner: David Thomas
Thomas will be no fantasy slouch. New Orleans’ backup TE should fit right into the Drew Brees-led attack.
Thomas does not have the pedigree, but the Saints reserve has had success in spread offenses. In five total seasons, starting in New England and now in New Orleans, Thomas has averaged almost 10 yards per catch.
A big red-zone target like Graham, Thomas should have touchdown opportunities, as the Saints get closer to the end zone.
Loser: Drew Brees
The Saints QB loses his favorite red-zone target, which should hurt the team's efficiency in that area.
Brees may have some trouble with the stingy Tampa defense. His production shouldn’t be too stilted, as Tampa Bay has given up at least 280 yards through the air every game.
Without Graham, though, he no longer has a big target to throw it up to in tight windows. His completion rate will need to be in 2011 form to keep moving the chains. He’ll still be an obvious fantasy starter, but expectations should be tempered some for Brees in Week 7.
Winner: Marques Colston
The Saints wideout will gain a few more targets in the passing game with Graham out. The last two times out Colston has been brilliant, posting 284 yards and four scores.
The bye week gave time to Brees and Colston to work on timing, which should do wonders for their production. High numbers are in order.
At worst, Colston is a high WR2 option against the Bucs.
Mike Shiekman is a Breaking News Writer at Bleacher Report. He loves giving fantasy advice and the NFL RedZone. Follow his thoughts on sports and the universe on Twitter @TheRealShiek