Texans Re-Sign Garrett Graham
Garrett Graham will be back in Houston now that the Texans have re-signed him to a three-year, $11.25 contract with $4.5 million in guaranteed money. With Owen Daniels unlikely to return, Graham will compete with promising second-year man Ryan Griffin to be Houston’s top tight end.
Graham’s return slows the momentum of the Griffin hype train. When Daniels was released on the first day of free agency, the Griffin buzz started building, as fantasy owners assumed he was the heir apparent to the Texans’ tight end throne. And he may still be, but Graham’s presence puts a slight damper on his upside.
Regardless, Griffin is one to keep an eye on, especially considering he caught 14 passes for 177 yards over the last three games of 2013. Plus new Texans coach Bill O’Brien is familiar with a fantasy-friendly two tight end system, having played an integral role in New England’s offense during the heyday of the Aaron Hernandez/Rob Gronkowski duo.
Of course, going forward, any fantasy production from Texans pass-catchers will depend upon what they do to address the quarterback situation. Matt Schaub is a free agent and spent most of 2013 generously handing out pick-sixes. Case Keenum had a few bright moments during his rookie season, but doesn’t appear to be the answer. T.J. Yates is also on the roster, but when he tells his grandkids about his NFL career, it will probably be a story about how he was under center for a 2011 Texans playoff win … and little else.
Michael Vick is still available in free agency, but Vick’s name is not often linked to Houston. Instead, the Texans figure to draft a rookie quarterback in May. They’re faced with the choice of selecting a big-name guy like Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, or Johnny Manziel with the first overall pick, or waiting until later in the draft and targeting a lesser talent.
If the Texans can fix their quarterback quagmire, Graham has a shot at putting up some decent fantasy numbers. Selected in the fourth round of the 2010 draft out of Wisconsin, he spent his first two seasons as a spectator. He contributed the last two seasons as the Texans showed a propensity to use their tight ends and Daniels struggled with injuries.
In 2012, Graham caught 28 passes for 263 yards and three touchdowns. He built on that in 2013 with 49 catches for 545 yards and five touchdowns. His 2013 numbers placed him as TE16 in standard scoring and TE15 in points per reception (PPR). Not bad considering he missed four games due to injury and played 83 percent of the snaps in the other 12 games.
The news isn’t all good, though. His points per opportunity (PPO), which shows the fantasy points he scored per route run, ranked him as TE30. His catch percentage and his pass-blocking efficiency was the sixth-worst among tight ends who played at least 25 percent of snaps. Only eight of 64 qualifying tight ends had a worse grade than his -9.2 overall PFF grade, and there were 44 tight ends that did better than his -8.3 run-block grade.
For fantasy purposes, Graham shapes up as a TE3 with upside. According to Texans reporter John McClain, Graham is set for the H-back, “move” tight end role, a spot that worked well for Hernandez in New England when he was not being arrested for felonies. Even so, the Texans offense has a long way to go and Griffin is a superior talent to Graham, so fantasy owners should tread lightly with expectations going into 2014. Still, monitor his situation considering he has produced fantasy numbers in limited opportunities.
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Johnny B. Davis is a staff writer for PFF Fantasy. He likes to root out raw, young dynasty talent and spread the gospel of IDP. Follow Johnny on Twitter @JohnnyBDavis