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2013 Fantasy Football: Six Players To Replace Rob Gronkowski

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2013 Fantasy Football: Six Players To Replace Rob Gronkowski

2013 Fantasy Football: Six Players To Replace Rob Gronkowski
Joe Toth-USA Today Sports

Here we go again. This summer when NFL teams had to make their roster cuts Rob Gronkowski was left on the New England Patriots active roster and not the PUP list. This indicated to fantasy football owners that the Pats thought that Gronkowski would be able to return prior to week six. Otherwise, they would have placed him on the list and cleared up a roster spot for another player.

This left fantasy owners in a strange situation on draft day. Do they use a draft choice on a player, who when in the game, is a top tier talent? If so, where is the optimal value and draft position? If Gronk could have returned before week four, then I don’t think that a fourth or fifth round choice would have been a bad idea. If we knew he would be out until at least week seven, he would have certainly fallen down the board.

Gronkowski has been practicing in full since early this season. Week three looked like a possibility that he could return, then it was ruled out. Rumors circulated that week four was the week, only to have him sit. Many thought that he would return week five against the Atlanta Falcons. That didn’t happen either. Surely week six will be the week he plays right?

Guess again. The Patriots have cleared Gronkowski to play, but he is awaiting clearance from Dr. James Andrews. It appears that Gronkowski is sitting out on his own accord. When Gronkowski plays, he has to be in your starting lineup. He is too good to bench, and on a Pats team that is struggling in the red zone, Gronkowski will be the primary red zone target. However, if you own Gronkowski, just like every week this season, you need to be ready to roll with your backup plan.

Here are six players who are available in most leagues that could give you some help this weekend if Gronkowski doesn’t play.

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Brent Celek

Brent Celek
Brad Mills- USA TODAY Sports

Owned in 30 percent of Yahoo! leagues, Brent Celek is on the list solely for the matchup play. As good as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been against quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs this season, they have been equally bad against tight ends. Currently allowing the eighth most fantasy points to tight ends this season, on paper, the matchup could work. If I was the defensive coordinator for the Bucs, I wouldn’t let LeSean McCoy or DeSean Jackson beat me. With Darrelle Revis covering Jackson and the Bucs front focused on stopping McCoy, Celek could reap rewards.

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Jared Cook

Jared Cook
Scott Rovak - USA TODAY Sports

Jared Cook is on this list as a boom or bust candidate, and only so due to scarcity at the position this week. After going nuts with over 20 fantasy points in week one, Cook has scored only 19 fantasy points since. While his potential is still there, he has a tough matchup against a Houston Texans team allowing the sixth fewest yards to tight ends this season. He is owned in 81 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

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Brandon Pettigrew

Brandon Pettigrew
Andrew Weber- USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Pettigrew is shaking off his slow start thanks to the Nate Burleson injury. Pettigrew has a very tough matchup against the Cleveland Browns but if Calvin Johnson misses another week, Pettigrew will be looked for in the red zone.

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Jordan Reed

Jordan Reed
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Reed is owned in only seven percent of Yahoo! leagues. Averaging around five targets per game, Reed has passed Fred Davis as the top tight end for the Washington Redskins. The Dallas Cowboys are allowing the third most fantasy points to tight ends, and employ a blitz heavy system. This typically opens up the tight end as a hot read for the quarterback.

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Heath Miller

Heath Miller
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

How is Heath Miller owned in only 47 percent of Yahoo! leagues? He plays almost every offensive snap for the Pittsburgh Steelers and is one of Ben Roethlisberger’s favorite targets. After playing about half of the snaps in his debut, he played 75-79 snaps against the Minnesota Vikings, catching six passes for 70 yards. 2012 saw Miller finish with 71 catches, 816 yards and 8 touchdowns, he should be owned in all leagues.

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Garrett Graham

Garrett Graham
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Owned in 61 percent of Yahoo! leagues, Garrett Graham is the TE1 for the Houston Texans due to Owen Daniels injury. To this point in the season Graham has played in only two tight end sets and has 15 catches for 141 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Matt Schaub loves to use his tight ends and with Schaub’s confidence at a low, should be looking for safe, quick reads often.