Believe or not, Jimmy Graham—after being selected as a second- or third-round pick in fantasy drafts following a breakout 2011 season for the New Orleans Saints—might actually be a buy-low candidate for fantasy owners.
Who saw that one coming?
Now, let's get one thing straight—if you own Graham, you absolutely shouldn't trade him right now. I still think he's one of the two best tight ends in football and the sort of player who will give you WR1 numbers at the fickle tight end position once he gets healthy.
Besides, people like me will be trying to get him for less than his market worth. Hold on to him if you've got him.
But if you want him, now's the time to strike.
Graham is out this week, and some folks may be losing their patience on a player they paid so high on. If you apply a bit of tactical psychology, you may be able to convince those owners it's time to depart with the tight end.
Remind them that he hasn't had double-digit fantasy points since Week 2. Make mention of the fact that he's either been a non-factor or completely unavailable to them the past three weeks (yes, use the Saints bye week and his current injury to your advantage).
Play on the fact that he could be injury-prone, even though we don't really have any proof of that. Use words like "disappointment" and "over-drafted." Lament the demise of the Saints in general. Note how unpredictable tight ends are in general, using Vernon Davis' no-catch effort against the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night.
And hey, maybe even splash in the phrase "one-year wonder" here and there for good measure.
Now, don't lay it on too thick. If you reek of desperation, your "concerns" about Graham—and subsequent reluctance to pay a high price to land him—will reek of a ploy. Opposing owners will wonder why you want him so badly if you value him so lowly.
But you'll just say you want another tight end to play matchups with from week-to-week. You'll say that even though he may not be a top option anymore—he actually is, but they don't need to know that—he's still better than what you've got on your roster.
You're the desperate one, and Graham is just one of the players you've been inquiring about. Remind them that if he's going to come at such an expense, there are other tight ends you can easily turn to.
The truth about Graham is that he's just fine, and savvy owners know that. Take away Week 5 against the San Diego Chargers, when he sprained his ankle, and Graham has at least 7.6 fantasy points in standard-scoring leagues each game he's played.
Save for Drew Brees, Graham is the most consistent performer from a fantasy perspective on the Saints, largely because he's become one of Brees' most trusted targets.
But people are impatient, and three weeks is a long time to receive no production from a player. If nothing else, you can sow the seeds of doubt in Graham's owner. Then, if he returns from injury and has a mediocre outing—or misses yet another game—you can say "I told you so" and make your move again.
All's fair in love, war and fantasy football trades. If ever there was a time to start making inquires about Graham and potentially buying low, now is probably that time.