The New Orleans Times-Picayune has been counting down the Saints' best players from 25 to 1 for the past month. It's no surprise that the staff lists tight end Jimmy Graham at No. 2 (And No. 1 is a given). After a disappointing season by his standards -- 85 catches, 982 yards, 9 touchdowns in 15 games -- the staff thinks a bounce-back is in store for Graham.
"Graham is one of the most dynamic weapons ever to play the position in the NFL," The Times-Picayune wrote Friday. "Now he's fully healthy after battling a wrist injury that plagued him all of last season. And he insists that he is 'hungrier than ever' to get back to an elite performance level. Throw in the fact that coach Sean Payton is back, and there is every reason to expect Graham's production to be closer to his incredible 2011 level (99 catches, 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns)."
Fantasy owners are expecting that, too, as Graham has been selected in the latter half of the second round in most drafts. Graham's 2012 stats still led all tight ends and, using standard scoring, would have placed him 19th among wide receivers. If he can repeat 2011, he'll basically be a top-seven wideout playing tight end. Get him in the second if you can; the position really drops off from there.