Graham trade to Seattle creates fantasy ripple effect

Holy Jimmy Graham trade, Batman!

In a stunning move, the New Orleans Saints have traded Graham and a fourth-round pick to the Seattle Seahawks for center Max Unger and a first-round pick according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport. This is one of the biggest offseason trades we have seen, and it's chock full of fantasy implications.

Let's start off in Seattle, where Graham becomes the unquestioned No. 1 target in a pass attack that lacks an elite option. But can he duplicate the sort of numbers he recorded as a member of the Saints? He's finished no worse than third in fantasy points among tight ends in each of the last three years, including first-place finishes in 2012 and 2013. In that time, he's scored a combined 35 touchdowns. Of course, that was also in an offense that threw the football a ton.

In fact, the Saints attempted 659 passes in 2014 ... that was the second-most in the league. On the flip side, no team threw the football fewer times (454) than the Seahawks. That has to be a cause for concern from a fantasy perspective when projecting Graham's value in what has been a run-based offense. The twist here, of course, is that the tight end position has no depth; aside from the likes of Rob Gronkowski, there isn't a player worth more than a third-round pick. And after Julius Thomassigned with the Jacksonville Jaguars, well, fantasy fans will be waiting on tight ends in 2015 drafts. As for Graham, he's still ranked second at the position but loses a bit of his luster in the Great Northwest.

While Graham's value takes a hit, Russell Wilson's stock is soaring.

The third-highest scoring player in fantasy football last season, he now has a huge red-zone target and the best receiving weapon he's ever had at the pro level. Sorry, Percy Harvin. He'll move up to No. 3 on my quarterback draft board ahead of both Drew Brees and Peyton Manning.

Speaking of Brees, one has to wonder if his statistical cliff is ahead. He's lost his top option in the passing game in Graham, and is now left with Brandin Cooks, Marques Colston and Kenny Stills as his three top options. Coming off a disappointing campaign by his standards and heading into his age-36 season, Brees is no longer a lock to rank among the elite fantasy quarterbacks.

Cooks will see the biggest increase in value, as he has the highest ceiling and should see more opportunities to produce in the stat sheets. In fact, he'll move into the No. 2 wide receiver conversation for next season. The addition of Unger, who rated as the No. 4 center on Pro Football Focus last season, also improves the value of Mark Ingram. The Alabama product will no doubt see a bigger workload in the new-look Saints offense and is now pushing second-round value.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on 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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