We knew it was going to happen. Now Jimmy Graham is confirming that he will get the franchise tag. However, we don’t know what position he will be tagged as. He will make significantly less if he is tagged as a wide receiver, but his party is arguing that because he lines up in the slot so often that he can and should be viewed as a wide receiver (and thus receiving a bigger price tag).
If Graham is tagged as a wide receiver, it will not only affect the Saints financially (and their approach to how they line him up in 2014), but it will also affect the fantasy world.
Will they list him as a wide receiver only? Or maybe a tight end only? Or will he be eligible for both?
If Graham is listed a wide receiver, that means the tight end pool loses one elite player. The wide receiver pool gains one big fantasy stud.
Taking Graham’s fantasy stats from last season, he scored the most receiving touchdowns and is ranked in the top 15 in receptions and yardage. However, if you take his total fantasy output in 2013 and compare it to all other wide receivers, Graham would have had the fourth best fantasy season among receivers.
Graham no longer would be the #1 tight end in the draft but would at least be considered as a top 5 wide receiver. Fantasy owners would reconsider drafting him so high because he is no longer a tight end. However, would the want to draft him knowing that the Saints might limit his plays lining up in the slot?
With Graham no longer as a tight end, owners will also have to figure out who would be considered the top tight end? Rob Gronkowski coming off injury? Jason Witten or Vernon Davis? Julius Thomas? None of those or any other tight ends are expected to score like Graham did in 2013, so the tight end pool loses an elite player and the draft approach will be altered, slightly.
But of course, this is a hypothetical based on whether or not Graham gets tagged as a wide receiver. In the event that does happen, fantasy owners will have to rethink their draft strategy a little. Or a lot. Depends on how intense of a fantasy player you are.