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What to do with Jimmy Graham in Week 3 fantasy football

Weighing Jimmy Graham’s frustrating play through two weeks against the dearth of viable alternatives at tight end will put fantasy managers in a bind.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears presumably understood Jimmy Graham’s physical limitations when they signed him to a lucrative contract this offseason. Graham didn’t need to replicate Travis Kelce’s play in the offense run by Chicago head coach and play-caller Matt Nagy. Rather, he only needed to serve as a reliable outlet between the 20s for quarterback Mitch Trubisky and a factor in the red zone, not completely unreasonable expectations. If Graham can perform in that role, he could become a serviceable streaming option at tight end.

Fantasy Football analysis: Bears TE Jimmy Graham

Through two weeks, that vision for Graham hasn’t quite come to fruition. The veteran tight end has converted just half of his eight targets into receptions and reaching the end zone once. Those figures don’t tell the full story, as multiple poorly timed jumps from Graham in the season opener cost the Bears and fantasy managers production. While Trubisky does look for Graham in the red zone (three targets, tied with Allen Robinson for the team lead), the veteran tight end saw only one pass thrown his way in Week 2.

At the same time, the Falcons’ atrocious defense has struggled to stop tight ends thus far in 2020. They’ve allowed an average of 9 receptions for about 82 yards and a touchdown to the position. Graham seems highly unlikely to match those totals, but he could realistically see an uptick in his numbers from a poor Week 2 outing.

Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation

Even with several star tight ends in danger of missing Week 3, Graham’s inability to efficiently convert targets into production and extreme dependency on touchdowns makes him too risky to start in all but the deepest season-long leagues as well as DFS.