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Jimmy Graham's deal cements top fantasy TE status

It sure is good to be Jimmy Graham.

The fantasy football superstar has agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with the New Orleans Saints, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. The deal makes Graham the highest-paid tight end in the National Football League, while allowing him another chance to reach free agency when he is just 31 years old.

In fantasy land, Graham's contract agreement just reinforces his status as the top player at his position. It also means that owners won't need to be concerned about a potential training camp holdout. Such a move has hurt the value and production of players such as Larry Johnson, Steven Jackson and Chris Johnson in the past.

But that's no longer an issue.

Graham, one of the toughest offensive skill position players to defend in the entire league, led all tight ends in fantasy points a season ago. He's also averaged 190 points over the last three seasons, making him more of a No. 1 fantasy wide receiver (based on the numbers) than a traditional tight end.

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His level of success has been so massive, in fact, that Graham is the lone player at his position who warrants a first-round pick in both standard and PPR formats. He won't last beyond the first 15 picks in most drafts.

The next best player at the position is Rob Gronkowski, as long as he suffers no setbacks in his return from major knee reconstruction. However, his proneness to injuries in recent seasons makes Gronkowski more of a third- or fourth-rounder depending on the size of your league.

Julius Thomas and Vernon Davis make up the next tier of tight ends, though the latter could be a risk himself should he decide to hold out over his own contractual situation.


Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

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