Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Will Gronk make immediate impact?
By Tom Carpenter
It appears that fantasy owners who invested an early-round draft pick on Rob Gronkowski and waited it out will finally get the payoff beginning this weekend.
"The New England Patriots are optimistic doctors will clear Rob Gronkowski to play this week and that the tight end will make his season debut Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, according to league sources," wrote ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder.
Will Gronk be able to make an immediate impact in his season debut? Due to coach Bill Belichick's well-documented habit of not doling out information, we likely won't have a good read prior to kickoff regarding how many snaps the tight end will get. On the other hand, Gronkowski may not need that many snaps to make a statistical impact, so long as the Pats can get the ball into the red zone against the Saints.
Of the 38 career touchdowns that Gronkowski has pulled in as a pro, 29 of them have come in the red zone. That's nine more red-zone scores than Jimmy Graham or Tony Gonzalez tallied between 2010 and 2012. Despite the general scoring issues the Pats have had this season, it hasn't been due to an inability to get into the red zone; only the Atlanta Falcons (70), Denver Broncos (58) and San Diego Chargers (53) have had more red-zone snaps than the Patriots (52) in 2013.
In other words, if Gronkowski is active for Sunday's home tilt with the Saints, all fantasy teams should have the big fella in the lineup, regardless of his expected snap count. He should have the opportunity to make an impact right away.