Aaron Hernandez: Updated Fantasy Outlook After Rob Gronkowski's Injury

Thomas Galicia@thomasgaliciaContributor IINovember 18, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 21: Aaron Hernandez #81 of the New England Patriots celebrates with Tom Brady during a game with New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on October 21, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

After putting together a dazzling performance in Week 11 against the Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski suffered an injury to his arm, per USA Today.

USA Today is also reporting that Gronkowski will undergo an X-ray on Monday Morning to determine if the arm is broken, however Comcast Sports New England's Tom Curran has grim news about Gronkowski's status going forward:

Source: Gronkowski has broken forearm soc.li/6z19ZcT #PatriotsTalk

— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) November 19, 2012

Gronkowski being out means that the Patriots will have to turn to their other tight end, Aaron Hernandez. Here's where New England's embarrassment of riches at the position is about to pay off.

Hernandez is still recovering from an ankle injury that has kept him out of seven of New England's first 10 games, but Curran reported earlier via CSNNE.com that Hernandez expects to be back for New England's Thanksgiving night matchup with the New York Jets.

He will be needed then as most of the Patriots' offense runs through their tight ends. Hernandez has been hampered by his knee injury all season, but he's been productive while playing, grabbing 17 catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns.

His last game just happened to be against the New York Jets, when he caught five catches for 54 yards while only being targeted seven times. He will be targeted more with Gronkowski out this time around (assuming he does come back in Week 12), and based off of his averages, his production should go up as well.

Odds are Hernandez will play on Thursday due to Gronkowski's injury, and he will get some of the passes that Gronk would've gotten.

The Patriots see the benefit in having depth at the tight end position and the ability to replace one All-Pro at the position with another potential All-Pro, and fantasy owners should too.

If you have Gronkowski on your team and Hernandez is available, start him (assuming the Patriots do the same). His numbers might not be as prolific, but he will produce, especially in the red zone.