I’m still trying to fully comprehend what I watched last night. Like seriously, Gregg Popovich, a little discretion would have been nice. Bench one starter, maybe two. But all of the starters? You, sir, are not a master of the dark arts of deception.

Ohhh yes, the football game. There’s quite a bit from last night’s football match which was perplexing for fantasy purposes, enough that I’ll expand on it a little later on today in another post, pretty much because that will be necessary for my own personal self-therapy on this foggy Friday. But for now let’s focus on one man: Jimmy Graham.

The Saints throw the ball a lot, which is sort of like saying that it rains in Seattle, or that David Whitley is the worst scumbag on the Internet. Powered by Drew Brees, they average 41.1 pass attempts per game, which is third in the league, and it makes the Saints one of only five teams that average more than 40 attempts per week. To give you an idea of the chasm between the Saints and the more run-oriented offenses, Seattle is currently last in pass attempts per game with 26.6.

So there’s your obvious fact of the day, and the numbers to prove said obvious fact. Oh, and here’s one more: the Saints are last in rushing attempts per game, with 22.1. That’s a pretty severe lean, one that’s been exaggerated even more this year with the need to battle from behind surfacing nearly every week, similar to last night during the Saints’ 23-13 loss to Atlanta. It was a game in which an early 17-0 deficit in the first quarter proved to be too great, despite a surging comeback attempt that brought New Orleans to within four points of the Falcons.

Brees was asked to throw 50 times, the third time this season that he’s hit or exceeded that mark in a game. Predictably, yardage followed despite his career-high five interceptions and a touchdown streak that ended at 54 games, as he finished with 341 passing yards, a number significantly greater than his per game season average (306.2).

And of those 50 passes, how many were thrown in Graham’s direction? Six. That’s not necessarily low, but it’s not high. It’s a very average volume considering the much higher volume of throws coming from Brees. And keeping one of the few remaining tight ends worthy of the elite label to such a moderate workload isn’t conducive to winning in any format, be it fantasy or reality.

The first time Brees eclipsed the 50-attempt mark this year was in Week 1, when he had 52 throws, and 10 of them went in Graham’s direction. He turned them into 85 yards and a touchdown, and 14 fantasy points. The second time was Week 4, when he had a season high 54 attempts, and nine of them were directed at Graham. He caught seven for 76 yards.

This isn’t hair splitting over three or four targets. That’s a significant difference for a pass catcher with Graham’s unique size, speed, and overall skill, and the result last night was a very pedestrian 59 yards on four catches. That’s a slight improvement over Graham’s last two weeks when he had a total of 62 yards, but it’s still a noticeable departure from the Graham we saw last year. He’s now played 12 games, and last year at this time Graham had logged seven games with at least 80 receiving yards. This year? Two.

He’s still been a productive fantasy performer because of his touchdowns (eight), and he’s third overall in scoring at his position with 103 fantasy points. But last night was his third straight game with only six targets. With the playoffs starting next week in many leagues, that needs to change. Fast.

And now the links part of the links post…

  • I almost departed from my usual fantasy musings to rip apart David Whitley for his asinine and completely uneducated Colin Kaepernick column in which the character of the new 49ers quarterback is judged not through an interview done by the writer, or the many interviews that can be seen elsewhere on the Internet. No, Kaepernick is a thug of some kind because he has tattoos. Surely this is satire, right? [The Sporting News]
  • Eventually I resisted the desire to question if Whitley really is a human, partly because it would have been a little bit too much of a departure for this space. But also because admittedly, I’m not sure I could top Doug Farrar’s takedown. Oh, did I mention that Kaepernick’s tattoos are primarily bible verses? Yup. [Shutdown Corner]
  • If Evan Silva tells you to bench Josh Freeman, you should probably bench Josh Freeman. [Rotoworld]
  • Our odds of a Ben Roethlisberger sighting this weekend now reside at about 35 percent. Is there a process insiders use to determine a specific percentage? Like, why isn’t Roethlisberger 39 percent healthy? [Ed Werder on Twitter]
  • The Raiders’ backfield is just an absolute mess. [Andy Behrens]