Should You Draft Rob Gronkowski in the Third Round of Your Fantasy Football Drafts?

We could call this article The Curious Case of Rob Gronkowski. I really can’t think of a better way to explain my fascination about his fantasy value better than that. Truly, he’s a one-of-a-kind talent in a sport where his position isn’t exactly the deepest to begin with. While it is certainly true more and more of his type are coming out of college year after year, he is still amongst the best, if not the best, at what he does. He plays with one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and Tom Brady and the New England Patriots offense is always one of the top in the league.

But his average draft position and his injury history certainly have me concerned. Aside from an injury-riddled 2016 campaign, Gronk had been to the top scoring tight end in standard scoring systems the previous two seasons. All you have to do is look at the stat lines for those seasons to see how dominant he was. In 2015 playing 15 games, he had 72 receptions on 120 targets with 1176 yards and 11 touchdowns scored. In 2014 in 15 games, he had 82 receptions on 130 targets for 1124 yd and 12 touchdowns. That’s not to mention a monster year in 2011 where he did play all 16 games seeing 90 receptions on 124 targets for 1327 yd and 17 touchdowns. 

Without question, the above does show how good Rob Gronkowski can be. I don’t think we’re really here to debate his talent. What we are trying to debate is whether or not we can trust him to stay on the field a full 16 games. the question is do you feel comfortable picking Gronk around the 33rd pick if he only plays 11 to 13 games, knowing that in half of the seasons he’s played that’s the amount of games he’s been on the field. It’s important to note at this point that no player is immune from injury and a hard contacts sport like professional football. It is just a little bit concerning though that he’s missed games in the last 5 Seasons due to some type of injury or another.

What makes things even more difficult this year is the players that are being drafted in a similar range at this point. Granted, it is the end of May and a lot is going to happen before we really start drafting for our fantasy leagues, but the list is pretty poor. Rob Gronkowski’s average draft position as of May 30th is 25.9 which is in the early third round. Players being drafted similar to that range include Lamar Miller, Doug Baldwin, Eddie Lacy, Aaron Rodgers, Carlos Hyde and DeAndre Hopkins. I would argue that with the exception of Aaron Rodgers and maybe Doug Baldwin that list includes a lot of question marks for 2017. While I never liked the idea of a drafting someone who is injury-prone like Rob Gronkowski this early, I don’t feel any more comfortable selecting any of those players except for Aaron Rodgers and I do not like taking quarterbacks that early in my fantasy draft.

The next issue becomes the opportunity cost in drafting Rob Gronkowski that early when there are other tight ends who could have big years dozens of positions behind him. We did address some of the opportunity cost above in listing the players we could choose instead of him, but that painted the issue as more of a defense of drafting Rob Gronkowski instead of an opposition. You can wait a round and a half later to select Jordan Reed, who should still be one of the top targets in the Washington Redskins offense though he does have injury history of his own to be concerned about. A full 2- 3 rounds later will yield players such as Travis Kelce, Greg Olsen and Jimmy Graham. All of those players could certainly have very big years in their respective offenses and you’re getting a discount on where you’re taking them. Perhaps the most interesting name on this list and one that I can certainly see increasing in average draft position over the next few months is Hunter Henry who is basically being taken at the top of the 10th round and could be a top three tight end in an offense with a quarterback like Philip Rivers who has been known to use his tight end quite a bit.

There are certainly a lot of angles to look at things at and I’m really truthfully not sure where I stand on the matter. Like I said above it is the end of May and we have three full months where we are going to see a lot of changes going on in teams and will have a much better idea of where things sit for the 2017 fantasy football season. I’m tempted to wait to take Hunter Henry because I can see him having a monster year, but I really do think that that average draft position is going to change as many as 40 spots and at that point even though I still think I will be drafting him, I won’t feel as good about it.

If push came to shove I can honestly say for the first time in my fantasy football lifetime, I will consider taking Rob Gronkowski in the third round. Tt doesn’t make me feel comfortable but at the same time we are talking about a player that has an injury history that concerns you but upside like few other at the position have. I guess it comes down to this thought for me:  if I told you at the end of the year that a receiver had 90 catches for 1500 yards and 15 touchdowns the only name that would come to your mind would be Rob Gronkowski, period.

For that reason I have no doubts about drafting Rob Gronkowski in 2017. My final thought on the matter is it’s amazing how you can verbalize and rationalize in just a matter of paragraphs when looking at statistics and change your perspective completely from where you started.

Please don’t screw us this year Rob Gronkowski. Please. The fate of our fantasy football teams rest in your balance.

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