There's no hiding the fact that Jimmy Graham is not a lock to play in Sunday night's game between the New Orleans Saints and Denver Broncos.
Graham sprained his right ankle during the first half of the Saints' 31-24 win over the San Diego Chargers in Week 5, and we've not seen him since as he's been resting and rehabilitating the injury.
He's been listed as questionable for Sunday night's game on the official injury report filed with the NFL. According to Sheldon Mickles of The Advocate in New Orleans, Graham's status won't be decided until Sunday night:
Mickles (@SheldonMickles) October 26, 2012
So how can I sit here and say that he should be in your fantasy team's starting lineup this weekend?
Because with the Saints sitting with a 2-4 record as we enter the eighth week of the NFL regular season, New Orleans needs to get themselves on a winning streak if they have any hope of playing in the postseason this year—and Jimmy Graham makes achieving that goal a lot more realistic.
It's also important to note what Doug Mouton, sports director of the CBS affiliate in New Orleans, reported from Saints practice earlier this week after speaking with interim head coach Joe Vitt:
Joe Vitt said Jimmy Graham "looked good" but didn't say if he thought Graham would play Sunday.— Doug Mouton (@DMoutonWWL) October 24, 2012
He looks good, he's pumped up, and he says that he feels fine.(h/t New Orleans Saints)
Happy to be back on the plane with the boys! Wheels up..— Jimmy Graham (@TheJimmyGraham) October 26, 2012
Jimmy Graham is one of the most dangerous tight ends in football, and we've seen the production he can put up when he's clicking with Saints QB Drew Brees.
There is certainly an element of risk involved here—with the Saints not playing until Sunday night, you'll lose out on the chance to use the vast majority of tight ends waiting to find out if he plays or not.
But all signs point towards Graham taking the field Sunday night. Unless you have another top-end option to replace him with—Vernon Davis, Rob Gronkowski or Tony Gonzalez—Graham is the way to go with your tight end spot in Week 8.