Jimmy Graham Injury: Latest News and Fantasy Outlook for Saints Starting TE

Mike MoraitisAnalyst IOctober 14, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Tight end Jimmy Graham #80 of the New Orleans Saints catches a 27-yard touchdown in the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 30, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints star tight end Jimmy Graham came up with a leg injury during his team's Week 6 loss to the New England Patriots, but it shouldn't have much of an impactif anyon his incredibly high fantasy value moving forward.

Graham, who failed to record a catch on Sunday against the Pats, is having his foot evaluated, but as Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports, it's looking good that Graham will be able to return after the team's Week 7 bye:

Saints TE Jimmy Graham is still having left foot evaluated but sense of optimism he will return after this week's bye.

— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) October 14, 2013

A good sign for Graham's injury was the fact that he was able to return to the game after initially leaving the field, although he did limp off once again before the game ended. His catchless day was the first Graham has seen since his 2010-11 rookie campaign.

Graham has been a stud this season for the Saints as he leads the NFL in receiving yards (593), and his six touchdown grabs tie him for No. 3 in the league. Not only does he lead his team in those two categories as well, but Graham also has the most receptions (37) and targets (60) on the Saints roster.

In ESPN leagues, Graham is the No. 1 scoring tight end after six weeks and has 23 more points than any other player at his position. In fact, Graham has totaled more points than any receiver as well.

There is a chance this injury does affect Graham's value.

Foot injuries are a tricky thing for receivers and can often linger week to week. As a result, an explosive player like Graham may not have the same speed or jumping ability with an ailing foot, and that could lead to less targets and production if he has problems getting open.

However, there is no indication that the injury is that serious, and having a bye this upcoming week is huge for Graham. He will now have time to rest his injury without missing a game, although fantasy owners will have the daunting task of trying to replace the best tight end in fantasy and real football this season.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Jimmy Graham #80 celebrates with  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints after scoring a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 30, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chri
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The biggest thing will be to keep an eye on the injury report and stay on top of all the latest news on Graham's status for Week 8.

Even if he turns out to be a game-time decision and does play against the Buffalo Bills in the team's next game, Graham is still worth a start based on the great season he is having. But if it comes down to that scenario, the Saints will likely bench their star player in order to make sure he's around for the long haul.

With that being said, fantasy owners would be wise to find themselves a potential two-week option just in case the 5-1 Saints rightfully err on the side of caution with Graham in Week 8.