ESPN.com's Mike Triplett has reported that the New Orleans Saints have cut ties with former playoff hero, kicker Garrett Hartley . Hartley had struggled this season, making only 22 of his 30 FG attempts, ending his tenure for the Saints by missing two in a 27-16 loss to the St. Louis Rams in week 15. Hartley made arguably the four biggest FG's in franchise history during their Super Bowl XLIV championship run in 2010 when he nailed a 40 yarder in overtime to win the NFC championship game, then drilled three from beyond 40 yards in their 31-17 win over the Colts. After having a low, 36 yard kick blocked and flat-out missing a 26 yard attempt, head coach Sean Payton decided it was time for a change.
With a chance to clinch their division vs. Carolina in week 16, the Saints can ill-afford to put a shaky kicker in a late-game, clutch position. Shayne Graham, who the team had brought in for a workout in November, was signed to replace Hartley going forward.
If you're playing in a fantasy championship in week 16, and have been using Hartley, hopefully your league allows for playoff pickups. If not, you'd better have another option stashed on your bench.
If you're in the position of needing to make a pickup, Graham could be a decent option, as Drew Brees and the Saints offense figure to be out for blood after their lackluster performance in their week 15 loss to the Rams. They scored 31 points vs. Carolina in week 13, and should move the ball against the Panthers. The 36 year-old Graham made 31 of 38 field goals in 2012 for the Houston Texans, but has not played in the NFL this season.