Jimmy Graham Injury: Fantasy Owners Must Not Trade Saints TE

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIOctober 23, 2012

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 30:  Tight end Jimmy Graham #80 of the New Orleans Saints runs after a reception against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 30, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The fortunes of New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham look to be taking a turn for the better, which makes him a premium fantasy asset who owners must not trade despite his ankle injury.

Just past noon on Monday, Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune broke some encouraging news about the goalpost-dunking star (via Twitter):

#Saints VItt: We're gonna test Jimmy Graham out Wednesday. Right now we feel good about it.

— Mike Triplett (@TripTP) October 22, 2012

The Saints' official Twitter shed more specificity on the situation minutes later:

Vitt on Jimmy Graham "We will test him out Wednesday...we think he has a pretty good chance of being full go"

— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) October 22, 2012

It's one thing for interim head coach Joe Vitt and the Saints to say there's a pretty good chance that Graham will play. But to say he is pretty likely to be "full go" brings about a different context entirely. It should also bode well for fantasy owners.

While Graham has notched a relatively disappointing 10.1 yards per reception in 2012, he has still managed to find the end zone in all but one of the full games he's played. That was in Week 4 against Green Bay, and Graham still managed seven catches for 76 yards.

It's safe to say that Drew Brees orchestrates the best passing attack in football, based on production without much of a running game and a poor excuse for a defense.

And when Graham is in the lineup, the Saints' future Hall of Famer looks his way very frequently.

It would be one thing if Graham were dealing with turf toe, an Achilles injury, a knee issue, or something of that nature. But a sprained ankle is hardly a devastating injury. Depending on the severity of the sprain and a player's pain tolerance, it can even be played through.

Graham was able to rest it Sunday and didn't travel with the team to Tampa. Now that Vitt has projected his optimism about Graham's status for the team's next game at Denver, there shouldn't be much reason for concern.

The epic duel between Brees and Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is just about guaranteed to yield a lot of points. If Graham is able to go, Brees will again put the ball in the air somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 times.

Even if he can't go against the Broncos, what is the harm in letting one of the best tight ends in the NFL sit on the bench for just one more week?

Under no circumstances is Graham worth a knee-jerk trade, because it's possible he will return in Week 8 to post his typical monster numbers.