The loss of Rob Gronkowski is a devastating blow for many Fantasy owners. He could be out four to eight weeks, with some optimistic published reports having him potentially back for the Fantasy playoffs, even ahead of that timetable as he recovers from a broken forearm. What we know for sure is you will have to replace him for at least two weeks, if not longer.
Going without Gronkowski at a critical time of the regular season could be an injury that damages or even torpedos many Fantasy seasons. He was a first to third round pick in many leagues, and with the lack of consistent production at tight end past the top two to three players at the position very apparent this year, it seems nearly impossible to effectively replace him. Here are the choices in order of who you should add, if they are available in your league. Most of the following TEs are available in many leagues I have scanned. If they are not, simply move on to the next choice.
Logan Paulsen: He was scooped up in a lot of leagues, but if he is still available in yours and it’s a PPR format, you have to grab Paulsen. Robert Griffin III likes to look to him and Paulsen has soft hands and knows how to get open.
Jermaine Gresham: He has started to emerge more over the past three games, and he is a pretty frequent TD threat.
Kyle Rudolph: He was cut by a few owners here and there who grew frustrated, and while he has been very unreliable overall, Rudolph always has some red zone potential.
Jermichael Finley: Supposedly, he did get on the same page with Aaron Rodgers, and Finley did score for the first time since the season opener in Week 11. But he could easily return to ultra-mediocrity, especially if he starts dropping the ball a lot again.
Garrett Graham: He has scored three times in his past three games. He could turn out to be another Joel Dreessen, a short-yardage TD specialist. Keep in mind it was Matt Schaub who made Dreessen relevant first in a goal-line scoring role. And Graham could be better outside the 20s than Dreessen, too.
Joel Dreessen: He is always a threat to score. Plus, Peyton Manning may start to throw even more with McGahee out.
Dallas Clark: He has scored in two consecutive games and does get looks on many key passing downs. Clark is not quite dead yet. There’s still a Fantasy pulse.
Visanthe Shiancoe: He is a longshot, but he is the best receiving TE left on the roster outside of Aaron Hernandez. If you have the room, you should at least stash him , because Tom Brady can get anyone involved in the offense when he wants to.
Marcedes Lewis: He did score twice against Houston. Chad Henne moves the team better than Blaine Gabbert and realizes Lewis is his best target near the end zone.
Tony Moeaki: He does have 141 receiving yards in his past two games. But the TD potential seems to be low. He’s certainly not a top pick in non-PPR leagues and his value drops off even more without Matt Cassel in the lineup.
Summary and strategy: If you don’t have Jimmy Graham, Aaron Hernandez or Jason Witten in most leagues, you likely are not faring well at tight end. So there is not much out there on the trade market, either. Losing Gronkowksi means you now fall among most everyone else with TE problems. You no longer have an advantage at the position. So add one of the guys above and try to improve in other areas if you can to offset the loss of your top scorer. Trading for an upgrade at WR could help your team overall. But don’t cut Gronkowski, because he could be back for your Fantasy postseason. If your playoff hopes are dwindling, though, you may be able to trade him to a team that has a better record and is willing to stash him.