Rob Gronkowski went under the knife yet again today for surgery on his back, his fifth surgery since November. The recovery period for Gronk’s procedure is said to be around 12 weeks, and there is now a growing concern in the New England Patriots organization that he might miss some regular season games.
This leads to a very interesting question for fantasy owners: should Gronkowski be drafted?
The answer really depends on when you are looking to draft him. Before these injuries, it was a lock to see him go early in the second round or maybe even in the first. Gronk had the most receiving touchdowns in all of football over the past three seasons (38) and most red zone touchdowns in the league since 2010. As of now, however, he is not worth that high of a risk, especially if he will be missing some regular season games.
It’s also worth noting that Gronk’s injury doesn’t only effect the production of the tight end position on the team, but also the running game and even Tom Brady. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the Patriots average 4.4 yards per carry with Gronk on the field and only 3.9 per carry with him off the field. — something Stevan Ridley owners should keep in mind.
As for Brady, 31 of his 85 touchdowns over his last two seasons landed in Gronk’s hands as he was by far his most reliable target.
If you are tempted to draft Gronk, make sure you draft his backup Jake Ballard, as he will most likely fill in as the second tight end next to Aaron Hernandez in the Patriots’ two tight end sets.