Week 14 of the fantasy football season included snow, a record-breaking kick, come-from-behind victories and unfortunately ... injuries.
One of the biggest names to go down was Rob Gronkowski, who will miss the remainder of the season after he suffered a torn ACL in a win over the Cleveland Browns. The talented tight end had missed the first six games of the 2013 campaign after multiple forearm surgeries and a back procedure in the offseason, so owners who waited for him to return are now back to the drawing board.
While replacing Gronkowski's production is nearly impossible, there is one tight end who is likely a free agent in your league who can help lessen the blow a bit. That player's name is Dennis Pitta. The veteran returned from a hip ailment to make an immediate impact both for the Baltimore Ravens and fantasy owners, posting six catches for 48 yards with one touchdown in a win over the Minnesota Vikings. A hero for his team during their postseason run and eventual Super Bowl championship, Pitta is a No. 1 fantasy tight end who should now be owned in all leagues.
For owners who aren't able to land Pitta, check out Delanie Walker (assuming he's back for Week 15) in what is a tremendous matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. No defense has allowed more receiving yards, more touchdowns and more fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. Other tight ends who are still likely on the waiver wire include Charles Clay (38.2 percent owned), Garrett Graham (10.4 percent owned) and Brandon Myers (57.1 percent owned).
Of course, fantasy leaguers who have to replace Gronkowski in their starting lineups aren't the only ones affected by this latest injury. In fact, the value of Tom Brady has taken a hit as well. If you are one of those owners who dealt with Brady's lack of production pre-Gronkowski know what I'm talking about. In the first six weeks of the season, all played without his favorite target in the passing game, Brady scored 16 or more fantasy points just once and averaged a less-than-stellar 13.7 fantasy points.
In the last seven contests where he had Gronkowski for all or part of the game, Brady averaged a far more attractive 18.4 fantasy points. The one saving grace for the future Hall-of-Fame quarterback over the final two weeks of the fantasy postseason is the presence of Shane Vereen, who has been a receptions monster since his return from an injured wrist. With veteran slot man Julian Edelman also seeing an increased role in the offense, Brady isn't completely devoid of reliable option as he was earlier in the season.
Still, defenses now have one fewer weapon to be concerned with when it comes to the Patriots offense. That's enough to put at least a small dent into Brady's appeal.