David J. Phillip/Associated Press
We should have known better. We featured Rob Gronkowski's bold statement that he was going to play in Week 1 in Bleacher Report's weekly fantasy notebook.
Then, Bill Belichick had to go and be...well...Bill Belichick. Gronk went from fairly sure fantasy starter to just as questionable as before with one statement by the boss in a conference call with reporters, as Anthony Gulizia of The Boston Globe reported:
I'm glad that Rob is optimistic about his situation. We'll go through the week of practice and take a look at everything and everybody. With all due respect to Rob, I'm glad he feels the way he does, but in the end, we'll have to make the decision we feel is best for the team. ...
... Even though players are experienced, and so are coaches, and a player hasn't played in the preseason, there's still game speed and game situations, and all the communication that goes on during a game, whether it's on offense, defense, or in the kicking game, that's just different in practice.
You have to be ready to handle that and work with your teammates in those conditions.
So, it isn't necessarily a question of whether Gronk can play but just how much he can contribute right now. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels added to Gulizia:
Rob's been practicing and we've been out doing some different things, building our offensive systems and packages as we go. Whatever we can, or are available to use him to do, however big, small, whatever the decision is at the end of the week, he'll be ready to do it.
We're going to try and do what we think is the right thing to do to win the game this week. That would encompass the way we try to use all of our guys. When Gronkowski plays on Sunday against Miami, whatever that capacity may be, the greatest challenge will likely be how quickly he can get in sync with the offense.
Fantasy owners should expect to wait to see: 1. If Gronk makes the team flight to Miami on Saturday; 2. If Gronk is listed with the inactives at 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday morning.
If Gronk is active for the New England Patriots, you should likely play him in all fantasy leagues. All it takes for a tight end in fantasy is one touchdown pass near the goal line. Gronk can do that even if he is used sparingly.
Tom Brady intimated to Gulizia:
When he's out there, he's obviously a great target because of his size, his speed, his agility, his ability to catch the football in traffic. That's what he's done over the course of his career. That's why he's got so many touchdowns, because he's got such a big catch radius that you put the ball in certain areas and he can go up and make the play.
Gronk slides to just No. 10 in B/R's Week 1 tight end rankings:
Week 1 Tight End Rankings—Eric Mack