As the title suggests, the best word to describe New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski is “enigma.” Why? From his great stature of 6-foot-6, 265 pounds, to his sheer athletic ability, he’s unlike any player the NFL has ever seen. But it’s what to do with him on a fantasy football basis that is most enigmatic.
He’s currently being drafted in the second or third round—depending on league size and format. No doubt, his impending status for Week 1 has potential owners a bit weary. However, Gronk recently stated:
“I’m planning on playing the whole season this year[…]I’m always antsy to get back on the field, no matter when it is.”
That’s sure to get fantasy GMs hyped up to draft him more in the range of Jimmy Graham (a first-to-second round pick). We’re talking about a TE that was in the top five for his first three seasons (and was the second ranked tight end two seasons ago while only playing eleven games). I have to admit, I was even giddy enough about his statement that I was ready to declare him as valuable as Graham. But then it sank in more—the news that he may be able to start Week 1 is really more misleading than anything.
There’s really no definition of “injury prone,” but Gronkowski would likely fall into that definition if it existed. Had he not said he is antsy to play again, and that he expects to return to the field after tearing his ACL in Week 13 last season, as well as his complications and delays with his arm surgery during last offseason, I wouldn’t be too concerned. But it’s because he seems to be rushing back that I’m concerned.
So far, there have not been any delays in his return and that’s a good sign for him to start the season right away. But, that only makes me feel there will be more complications in-season and ruin playoff chances for most GMs that draft him in his projected range. Hopefully the Patriots realize this and really hold him back until he’s completely ready. But they did that last season, and the result was still an injury that kept him out for the rest of the season.
Maybe he’ll rebound in grand fashion like Adrian Peterson did last season—coming back from an ACL injury. But it seems there’s no helping Gronkowski’s cause, and that worries me a little bit.
Will he be a good fantasy player? Certainly. But will he be reliable enough to take you through the playoffs? That, I’m not quite sure about. He’s one of the few players I’d tell you to trade as soon as you can—let him be someone else’s burden. My best advice for him is to reap his benefits early on, but be the spur to another team later on.