NFL fantasy football: Gronk's draft status in flux

In light of Rob Gronkowski's multiple arm surgeries, where would you target him in your draft?

  • Michael Fabiano NFL.com Fantasy Editor
  • Gronk drops, but not that far

As a fantasy owner, how can you not be concerned about Gronkowski? Entering the 2013 NFL campaign, he'll be coming off his fourth (count 'em ... four) left forearm operation -- and that is assuming the surgeons don't find any remaining infections from the previous procedures. On top of that, Gronkowski needs surgery to correct a disc issue in his back that would require somewhere around 10 weeks to heal. Does that mean he's guaranteed to miss regular-season playing time? No, but these issues are clearly a red flag. What Gronkowski does have on his side is his past statistical success and value, not to mention the fact that no one outside of Jimmy Graham is on his level at the tight end position. Overall, I still expect him to be the second player at his position taken in most drafts ... and definitely after Graham. However, I wouldn't be taking Gronkowski with one of my first two or three overall selections until I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he'll be ready to roll in time for Week 1.

  • Marcas Grant NFL.com Fantasy Editor
  • It'll affect Gronk, not my draft

No player can go under the knife that often and not have it affect his draft status -- don't forget about the ankle surgery he had in January 2012. But it's not going to change where I plan on drafting Gronkowski, mostly because I wasn't going to target a TE in the spot where he (and likely Jimmy Graham) would be drafted. Still, I imagine Gronk will fall a round or two on most owners' draft boards and probably have his name called, on average, in the fifth round.

  • Adam Rank NFL.com Writer
  • Hoping Gronk drops, but probably won't

I'm hoping Gronkowski is going to fall in fantasy drafts, but I fear he's still going to go a little sooner than I would expect. My strategy is to go RB-RB in the first two rounds followed by WR-WR, so that leaves the fifth round for me to start looking for wild cards and players who have dropped because of injury. Gronkowski would certainly fit the bill here, but I feel he's going to be gone by this point.

  • Jason Smith NFL.com Fantasy Analyst
  • Gronk's surgeries change nothing

Gronk's injury doesn't change my draft strategy for tight ends. I can't, in general principle, draft a TE early because even the great ones come with warning signs. You can really ruin your team if you take one like Gronk -- who's expected to go in the second round if he's healthy -- and he doesn't come through for you. Think of the lost fantasy points if you decided to take him in that spot instead of a Stevan Ridley or Dez Bryant. Since the position is so much of a crapshoot, I'm more than comfortable waiting until later on to draft a TE like Brandon Myers or Kyle Rudolph. Guys like Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham to me are almost undraftable, because they'll get taken so early and I'll never draft one that high. Even if Gronkowski's injuries see him slide down to the third round, I'm not biting.

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