Another week, another shady Rob Gronkowski situation for fantasy owners.
Don't overthink it—sit Gronkowski on the bench right now and don't look back. Boom. Easy as that.
Owners have been down this path before. The risk takers in the realm of fake football gambled on Gronkowski relatively high, per Fantasy Pros ADP chart, taking Gronkowski in the top 40 players. That's a steep price to pay for a tight end who is now set to miss two weeks in a row.
Per ESPN's Mike Reiss, Gronkowski was limited in practice Monday as New England preps for its AFC East showdown with the New York Giants on Thursday Night Football:
WR Danny Amendola (groin), TE Zach Sudfeld (hamstring), TE Rob Gronkowski (thigh/back) & RB Leon Washington (thigh) among those limited.— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) September 9, 2013
The limited tag should not fool fantasy owners—it's the same tag the team applied to him in the five practices leading up to the Patriots opener against Buffalo, only to see Gronkowski hit with "doubtful" before the game as he sat on the bench as an inactive.
Week 2 with little rest between games will be no different. In fact, Weeks 3 to 7 have always been the "sweet spot" for Gronkowski's return, per Reiss, and nothing has changed in that department.
New England is going to bring its star tight end back slowly, even after a bit of a scare in Buffalo last week where Tom Brady looked normal with just 288 yards and two scores in a 23-21 victory.
Against New York, a team Brady and Co. have not lost to since 2010, it's plain-as-day the Patriots do not need to be at 100 percent to escape with a win. New York is an organization is disarray with a rookie quarterback under center, even after a win last week. Brady should have little issue picking apart the defense without Gronkowski.
It's a shame, really, because Gronkowski would be a great play against the Jets in a fantasy sense. In one game a year ago he torched New York for 78 yards and two scores on six receptions in what was an otherwise disappointing campaign.
Even if Gronkowski were to play for some odd reason, he's not worth the risk from a fantasy perspective in his first week back. It's unknown how the chemistry is between he and Brady, as is how his body will react to the physicality of live action after forearm and back issues all offseason.
Will Gronk play in Week 2?
The fantasy outlook overall in New England is bleak with backup Zach Sudfeld, many Gronkowski owners' safety net, injuring his hamstring after appearing in just 20 snaps and catching no passes.
Fantasy owners can rest assured that Gronkowski will be back in the next few weeks when he's fully ready after the coaching staff takes every precaution.
One of those precautions is avoiding unnecessarily playing him against the Jets on a quick turnaround after missing most of the offseason work.
The best fantasy tight end in the country will return, just not in Week 2 against New York. Fantasy owners need him stashed on the bench because Week 2 is out of the question.
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling