If you plan to draft Rob Gronkowski in your 2014 fantasy football league, you need a backup plan if your star tight end becomes injured.
When he is on the field, there is no doubt that Gronk can produce. Even with only playing in seven games last season, and only recording two receptions in two of those games, Gronk was able to finish the year as the 14th highest-scoring tight end in standard scoring fantasy football leagues. If he can finish an entire season, the 25-year-old tight end could be one of the highest-scoring players on your team. While there is little downside to his actual playing ability, his durability makes him a huge risk.
You are going to have to use an early pick to land Gronkowski, so you will also need a plan in place to back up your investment. The other tight ends available will obviously not be able to give you the same amount of points, but you do not want to be left without many options if Gronkowski goes down with an injury in the middle of the season.
Using the average draft position data from fantasyfootballcalculator.com, you can draft a backup for Gronk by determining whether you think he can make it through most of the season.
If you like his upside but are scared of what will happen to your team if he has to miss a few weeks or even the season, the eighth round is where you would want to draft another tight end. At the beginning of the eighth round for a 12-man draft, you should have the opportunity to either draft Greg Olsen or Dennis Pitta. Olsen has averaged 71 receptions and 5.5 touchdowns in the past two seasons, and Pitta was a blossoming prospect in 2012 with 669 receiving yards and seven touchdown catches. You will miss out on building more depth at wide receiver and running back in the eighth round by selecting Pitta or Olsen, but you will also land a solid backup.
If you are more of an optimist and think Gronkowski can make it through most of the season, then you should look in the 10th and 11th rounds for another tight end. Zach Ertz appears to be a candidate to receive an increased workload on Chip Kelly’s powerful offense, and rookie Eric Ebron has one the easiest schedules for tight ends. Each of these players have upside, but their consistency will be rocky compared to Olsen and Pitta’s.
Whether you think Gronkowski could make it through the whole year or will only play four games, you need to have a backup plan for him as his owner.