When Alexander Bell invented the telephone, he had three missed calls from Rob Gronkowski. A deity among mere mortals, women want Gronk and men want to be him. That includes fantasy owners, who will need to invest a first round pick in order to get their hands on him. 

Deciding whether to take that plunge requires a closer examination of the tight end landscape as a whole, as well as a strong grasp on your league’s settings. 

 

MATCHUP TILTER

We can make an argument for both Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck at the top of the quarterback rankings. Adrian Peterson, Le’Veon Bell, Eddie Lacy, Jamaal Charles and a couple of other running backs project very similarly. We are splitting hairs between the deep top-tier of wideouts like Antonio Brown, Julio Jones and Dez Bryant. But at tight end, there’s Gronkowski and then there’s everyone else. So if you are in a standard weekly head-to-head format, having him is like starting each week with a 10-point lead. There’s far less value with Gronk in leagues that heavily factor raw total points.  

 

WHERE TO PLUNGE

My clear-cut top-two picks are Adrian Peterson and Le’Veon Bell. After that, it’s a total free-for-all. Coming off a refreshingly healthy Summer of Gronk, it’s very reasonable to take him right after that Brown/Julio/Dez wideout tier. You won’t have to use another pick on a tight end until very late (if at all), allowing you to stock up at running back and wideout from Rounds 2-10. Even if Tom Brady ends up missing four games, Jimmy Garoppolo showed enough as a raw rookie last preseason to give Gronk upside. It certainly doesn’t hurt to know that Matt Cassel was fantasy’s No. 8 quarterback when Brady missed the entire 2008 season.  

 

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS

If you pass on Gronkowski, there’s a mini version in Travis Kelce. Frustratingly limited by the presence of Anthony Fasano last year, the man known as “Zeus” will be unleashed this year and brings baby Gronkonian upside in the fifth round. After Kelce and fellow mid-round targets Martellus Bennett/Zach Ertz/Julius Thomas, the play is to wait. Going for red-zone appeal with Dwayne Allen, Kyle Rudolph, Ladarius Green or Austin Seferian-Jenkins makes sense if punting the tight end position. 

 

MLB Pickups of the Week

1. Khris Davis, OF, Brewers – Carlos Gomez and Gerardo Parra are gone, leaving the power-hitting Davis to play every day.   

2. Daniel Norris, SP, Tigers – A key part of the David Price trade, Norris is a 22-year-old blue-chip prospect. 

3. Stephen Piscotty, OF, Cardinals – Matt Holliday’s latest quad injury is great news for the impressive and young Piscotty. 

 

 

NFL News

Arian Foster’s groin injury spells major trouble for the Texans offense. Since he cracked the starting lineup in 2010, the team is 2-13 without him and 33-20 with him. Their best option now is to implement a scheme that relies heavily on the pass game – even though the quarterback situation is sub-optimal with Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallet. Given the likelihood of how often the Texans will be trailing and how inept they project to be running, DeAndre Hopkins is going to see massive volume.