New England Patriots superstar Rob Gronkowski is hands-down the best tight end in football, but also arguably the most lethal receiving option in the game today.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that fantasy owners everywhere are scrambling for a replacement after it was reported that the talented playmaker broke his forearm in the Pats' win over the Colts. This via CSNNE.com's Tom E. Curran:
Gronkowski broke the forearm on an extra point after the Patriots final touchdown. Arm-flapping over the fact Gronkowski was blocking for the 59th Patriots point will ensue.
How do you replace 53 receptions, 748 yards and 10 touchdowns (seven in the last four games)?
Quite frankly, you don't. However, here are some reliable fantasy options that owners can target this week and start in place of Gronkowski for the rest of the year or until he returns to action.
Brandon Myers, Oakland Raiders
2012 Season Stats: 67 targets, 50 receptions, 554 yards, three touchdowns
Oakland Raiders pass-catching tight end Brandon Myers has really come on strong over the past few weeks, catching 19 passes including three touchdowns since Week 9.
Myers is owned in a little less than 15 percent of all ESPN fantasy leagues this November, and should be an easy and worthwhile pickup for Gronkowski owners. Although Myers lacks the physical prowess of a Rob Gronkowski (many do), he does boast the target numbers to make up for it.
Plus, Myers has 13 more catches than any other Raiders receiver this season.
The former Iowa Hawkeye has been targeted 67 times all season long, but 43 of those targets have come in Oakland's last five games. Clearly Carson Palmer is building a relationship with Myers, and fantasy owners are wise to get in on it right away.
Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
2012 Season Stats: 58 targets, 34 receptions, 306 yards, six touchdowns
Not only does Kyle Rudolph have a great name for the holidays, but the second-year Minnesota Vikings tight end is fast improving.
The 6'6", 260-pound stud out of Notre Dame has already surpassed his rookie season numbers, and is first on the team in receiving touchdowns, second in receptions and targets and third in receiving yards. Christian Ponder understands the weapon he has lining up outside the tackles, evidenced by Rudolph's 58 targets in 10 games.
Also, the 23-year-old might be the closest tight end in the NFL to Rob Gronkowski from a physical standpoint. Rudolph has incredible athleticism, hands and size. Even better, he's only owned in about 55 percent of all ESPN fantasy leagues, which means he won't be an impossible pickup for most.
Dallas Clark, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2012 Season Stats: 41 targets, 27 receptions, 255 yards, three touchdowns
Another former Iowa Hawkeye, Tampa's Dallas Clark has come a long way this season, and is picking up steam at the right time.
Clark, who is owned in fewer than four percent of all ESPN leagues, has caught a touchdown in each of the Bucs past two games. What's more, he is coming off a game against the Carolina Panthers in which he was targeted 11 times by quarterback Josh Freeman.
The 33-year-old veteran doesn't possess the speed and game-breaking ability that Gronkowski does, but his hands are every bit as solid. Look for Clark to become Freeman's safety blanket over the next few weeks of the regular season, as the Bucs are set to face off against some above-average secondaries.
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