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Fantasy Football: Lance Kendricks, Marcedes Lewis Won’t Replace Jimmy Graham

Fantasy Football: Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham will be sidelined for a while, but don't pick up a Packers tight end to replace him in fantasy.
Jimmy Graham

The 2018 season has been an absolute nightmare for the tight end position. Outside of three or four guys, just about every big-name tight end has either underperformed or fallen victim to injuries. On Thursday Night, Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham broke his thumb and is expected to be sidelined for four-six weeks, per the San Diego Tribune. Jimmy Graham owners need to find a tight end off the waiver wire, but they shouldn’t look to Green Bay for Graham’s replacement. Even with Graham absent, Lance Kendricks and Marcedes Lewis, aren’t capable of putting up starting fantasy numbers.

Fantasy Football: Don’t Replace Jimmy Graham With Lance Kendricks, Marcedes Lewis

Jimmy Graham’s absence means more snaps for Kendricks and Lewis, but that doesn’t mean they’ll start producing with their newfound opportunity. None of the tight ends left on the Packers roster have the skillset to play a role in the passing game.

So far on the season, Aaron Rodgers has targeted Kendricks 16 times. Kendricks hauled in 11 of those passes for an underwhelming 103 yards and a touchdown. He’s never had more than 50 receptions, 519 yards, or five touchdowns in a season, and all that production came years ago.

Marcedes Lewis is even less of a passing threat. So far on the season, the 13-year NFL veteran has just two receptions for 35 yards. He’s a fantastic blocking tight end, but that doesn’t mean anything in fantasy football. Lewis’ best season came all the way back in 2010 when he recorded 58 receptions for 700 yards and 10 touchdowns. Since then, he’s never come close to replicating that type of performance.

Graham’s Loss Won’t Drastically Affect Green Bay’s Offense

Even if the Packers had a natural pass-catcher stepping into Graham’s role, said player probably wouldn’t see that much volume. As it is, the Packers started to phase Graham out of the offense, and his absence will probably have no real effect on the passing attack.

Graham posted a fine-but-unremarkable 34 receptions for 452 yards and two touchdowns through the first 10 games of the season. However, most of that production came earlier in the year. Graham wasn’t being effective with his target share, so the offense started giving more targets to players like Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

Graham caught just one pass in three of his last four games, counting Thursday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks. As it is, Graham wasn’t really putting up starting tight end fantasy numbers. He’s clearly the most talented pass-catching tight end they have, and he still wasn’t producing. There’s no way that Kendricks or Lewis improve on Graham’s lackluster performance moving forward.

Green Bay will probably opt to do without the tight end position in the passing game. Whenever the Packers are in 11 personnel, look for Rodgers to target one of his receivers while the tight end stays in to block.

Last Word on Jimmy Graham’s Nonexistent Heir

Jimmy Graham will be out for a few weeks, but there’s no natural replacement on the Packers roster. Lance Kendricks and Marcedes Lewis aren’t natural pass catchers and won’t be able to do what the Packers asked Graham to do.

Additionally, it’s not like Graham was producing that much. The Packers had begun to phase Graham out of the offense and instead have their passing game revolve around their wide receivers. Graham caught just one pass in three of his previous four games and has a pretty unremarkable stat line on the season. If Graham can’t produce in this offense, then there’s no way that a lesser-talented tight end could do it.

By and large, tight ends are having a rough season this year. Finding a replacement in your lineup for Jimmy Graham won’t be easy, but the answer doesn’t lie in Green Bay. The trade deadline has probably passed in your league, so scourge the waiver wires and hope to find a diamond in the rough. That diamond just isn’t lying in Green Bay.

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