New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski had another injury-riddled season in 2013, as multiple forearm surgeries and back surgery delayed his season debut and then he missed the rest of the season after suffering a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee in Week 14 . He finished with 39 receptions for 592 yards and four touchdowns, which was good enough to be a top-15 fantasy tight end despite only playing seven games.
Gronkowski has avoided setbacks in his recovery from knee surgery, and a recent report out of OTAs suggests he is moving without physical limitations. He is on track to be ready for Week 1 as of now.
Gronkowski averaged 9.6 targets per game last season, and quarterback Tom Brady will continue to look his way often this year.
In the six games he finished last year, Gronkowski had double-digit fantasy points five times. That included a streak of four straight games with a touchdown surrounding New England’s Week 10 bye, at an important time for fantasy owners.
A concussion suffered on the hit that ended his 2013 season can be added to Gronkowski’s laundry list of injuries over the last two years or so. Durability is a major red flag, and it’s probably not wise to bet on Gronkowski playing all 16 games at this point.
As long as he remains on track to be ready for the start of the season, Gronkowski will be one of the first few tight ends gone in fantasy drafts and auctions. If the start to his season is delayed at all, which is still very possible, he will still be drafted before other tight ends based on his upside alone. Drafting Gronkowski is not for the faint of heart, since he is the top risk/reward player in fantasy football this year regardless of position, and those that embrace the risk of having him will have to draft a second tight end.
Bye Week: Week 10
Projected Round: Third or Fourth Round
Auction Value: $24 (ESPN.com)
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter.