From the seven-year period starting in 2011, there was no better
fantasy tight end than the Patriots' Rob Gronkowski. When
healthy, he dominated games and in turn fantasy lineups. He scored
like an elite wide receiver. He was Tom Brady's security blanket
and explosive option all rolled into one future Hall-of-Fame tight
But the 2018 version of "Gronk" looked tired, worn
out, hobbled by injury and ready for retirement. And in 2019 that's
exactly what the tight end did. He lost weight. He looked happy.
He continued to have a good time away from the field and looked
every bit the comfortably retired ex-athlete.
Then Tom Brady called and said he wasn't coming back to New England
(read; no more uptight Bill Belichick) and did "Gronk"
have interest in joining him in Florida to chase another title.
And maybe prove to the world it was Brady and Gronkowski (read
the players, not management) who amassed all those championships
in New England. Not surprisingly, "Gronk" answered in
Now the hard part. How do we evaluate the new Buccaneers?
Brady hasn't been a star fantasy quarterback in about three
years, since his 28 TD - 2 INT season of 2016 when he averaged
24.7 FPts/G over 12 games (remember, he was suspended for the
first four games), but he should improve away from the strict
In Tampa Bay, Gronkowski will have to compete for targets with
the best group of wide receivers he's been around since
joining the league (he arrived in New England in 2010 just as
the team traded elite wideout Randy Moss to Minnesota in mid-October
and acquired Deion Branch from Seattle). Just for fun, try to
imagine a full season of the Hall-of-Fame Moss, Wes Welker and
Gronkowski on the field together. I'll bet they wouldn't
have lost to Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets in the Divisional
But I digress. In 2020, at age 31, Gronkowski will be competing
for targets with three-time Pro Bowler Mike Evans (67-1,157-8)
and a rising young star in 2019 Pro Bowler Chris Godwin (86-1,333-9).
By-the-way, don't sleep on fifth-round selection Tyler Johnson
who had an excellent career at the University of Minnesota (86-1,318-13
in 2019). He could be a solid handcuff for either Bucs'
In addition, the Bucs' tight end corps is the deepest in
the league with talented O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate in addition
to Gronk. Brate, whose specialty has been scoring touchdowns (24
over the past four seasons) no longer should be drafted while
Gronkowski is on the Bucs roster. But Howard and Gronk could be
a force in two tight end formations the way Gronk and Aaron Hernandez
were with the Patriots.
So just how much of a workload will Gronkowski see in
I'm of the opinion that he won't get as much work as fantasy
owners would hope. I think OC Byron Leftwich and Brady will "save"
Gronk for important moments in the game. Big third downs and red
zones will be his specialty. His yards may suffer, but his touchdown
total should thrive (which is why Brate will be a non-factor).
FFToday projections are 44-587-6. I think he might even get a
few more scores than that, but the yardage number feels right
on the mark.
So obviously from those expectations, Gronkowski isn't
a Tier 1 tight end like Travis Kelce (ADP 20.7) or George Kittle
No. I think the 31-year-old Gronkowski, after a season away from
the game, with a likely team strategy of "keeping-him-healthy"
for game-changing moments in both the game and the entire season,
will be a bottom-end fantasy starter. Think Mike
Hooper or Tyler
Gronkowski's current ADP (63.8) is far too high and based on
name recognition, which is understandable, but not reality in
2020. Unless his draft numbers decrease into the 90-100 ADP range,
you will not receive "fair-market-value" for the high