Draft Zone: 2nd Ranked Tight End – Patriots Rob Gronkowski

Still the second best tight end in the NFL

Still the second best tight end in the NFL

The New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski is the second-ranked tight end in this year’s fantasy draft standings. With an average draft position (ADP) of 40, that makes Gronk a fourth-round pick in 12-team formats.

The fourth-year player out of the University of Arizona turned in one of the greatest seasons ever by a tight end in 2011. Gronkowski played all 16 games and grabbed 90 catches for 1,327 yards and 17 TDs. He was on pace to come close to duplicate those numbers in 2012 until he broke his arm during Week 11 against the Colts.

Still, Gronk led all NFL tight ends with 11 touchdowns and was seventh in the league with 790 yards. Reports from New England say it’s “a huge stretch” to believe that he’ll be ready for the season opener, and it’s more likely he might play in Week 3.

So, there’s the rub. Gronkowski has the size, speed and hands to put up legendary numbers at tight end, but his recent injury and srugery history definitely gives fantasy owners pause. He has undergone five surgeries since November — that’s a lot, even if you’re 6-foot, 6-inches tall and 265 lbs.

Without the injuries, Gronkowski would likely be a sceond-round pick, but you might be better off focusing on drafting value at running back and wide receiver before taking a chance on a guy who has seemingly spent the majority of his offseason in hospital beds and night clubs.

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