Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Gronk's impact on Brady
By Tom Carpenter
There is a decent chance that we will see Rob Gronkowski on the field when the New England Patriots square off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend, following his lengthy recovery from back and forearm surgeries.
"Gronkowski has been practicing for several weeks, and a source said there is a 50-50 chance that he makes his return to the lineup Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers," ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder wrote Tuesday.
Fantasy owners shouldn't hesitate to get the big fella into their lineups as soon as he's ready to play. Even if he only takes somewhat limited snaps, we know he'll be in when the Pats are in the red zone, and since he is such a tremendous end-zone threat, he could rack up significant stats with just a handful of key receptions.
His return also should pay dividends for Tom Brady, who has struggled to build a rapport with the tight ends the Pats have used to replace Gronk and Aaron Hernandez.
Per ESPN Stats & Info, the Pats’ tight ends rank dead last in the NFL this season in receptions (1), receiving yards (5) and drop percentage (33 percent). During Gronkowski’s first three years in the NFL, the Patriots’ tight ends led the league in receptions, receiving yards and TD receptions.
Granted, Hernandez played a role in those stats, too, but there's no doubt that Brady will be happy to have his best pass-catching threat available soon. On the other hand, ESPN NFL Insider KC Joyner thinks it might be time for fantasy owners to move the future Hall of Famer:
KC JoynerUnderperforming QB1 candidates
"There was a strong case to be made before the season that Brady was likely to decline, and after two games the decline looks even worse than initially anticipated. The Patriots' incredibly raw receiving corps has led to Brady posting a ridiculously low 6.9 VYPA. Brady's numbers look even worse when noting he had the benefit of two blown coverages and an awful coverage performance by Jets cornerback Dee Milliner last week, and still managed to tally only 11 fantasy points. He is likely to get Rob Gronkowski back soon and could get Danny Amendola back in the near future, but the schedule is quite difficult from a coverage perspective and thus presents another impediment. Start/trade/bench verdict: Once the receiving corps gets back to full strength, Brady will return to starting-caliber status. However, the overwhelming volume of negatives does mean his owners should consider trading Brady now if they can find an owner willing to pay high-end QB1 caliber value for him."