Some weeks, the storylines are easy. Week 8 is one of those. Sure, some owners have to deal with replacingor on byes, and what we can expect out of unpredictable players like and will continue to vex, but the question of tight ends in Week 8 is an obvious one:
Graham wasn't supposed to play last week until, what, Sunday? He was dealing with a Week 5 shoulder injury, until late-week upgrades had him active. So Graham owners were faced with a dilemma: Use him and risk a no-show? Or bench him and risk Graham being himself without any benefit?
We've run into this question a couple of times this season.was a just-barely play in Week 4 and responded with 6 yards on eight carries (to be fair, he did have 55 receiving yards). did the same in Weeks 4 and 5, with 19 combined yards.
In years past -- heck, in weeks past -- the advice has always been that, when a superstar is on the field, a superstar is in your lineup. Heck, just last year, Graham entered Week 8 as a question mark, but was active. He caught only three passes for 37 yards, but two of those catches were touchdowns, meaning a far-below-his-peak Graham still accounted for 15 fantasy points.
So is it that simple? You run the big guys out there and eat the downside?
You know what, kinda, yeah.
That Week 8 line from Graham's 2013 sticks in my head. Graham, a perpetual red zone threat, can always put up his point total. Even Sunday, when he was held catchless, Graham played on 30 of the team's 75 offensive snaps. That doesn't sound like a lot, but consider that the team ran only a small number of snaps in the red zone -- by my count, only five snaps that mattered, excepting spikes and field goals. Graham was active to be a red zone threat, and he didn't have the opportunity to do that.
It's early in the week yet, and we don't know for sure that Graham will be active again. But right now, odds certainly point that way. He won't be ranked at the top of the tight end lists as he normally would be, sure. But the guys ranked ahead of Graham this week are elite -- there aren't going to be many teams with Graham and, or Graham and .
Keep an eye on Graham's reports as the week goes on. But ultimately, so long as he's active Sunday, he's probably in your lineup. Put him in the lineup and hope.
Now, for our Week 8 rankings:
Tight end rankings, Week 8
(DK: Daniel Kelley; DC: Dan Ciarrocchi; SK: Scott Kaliska; John Daigle has the week off)