Is Rob Gronkowski worthy of a first round pick? In 2015, Gronkowski’s ADP was the 1.12. He finally showed in 2014 that he could stay healthy for a year and how dominant he is when he is on the field. In early 2016 drafts, Gronk carries an ADP of 1.08. Recently, Gronkowski has been a first rounder due to his relative safety and the position scarcity.
However, this offseason, as many as 4 more tight ends gained TE 1 value with offseason moves. In New Orleans, Coby Fleener signed a 5 year – $36 million contract, stepping into a very nice role. Benjamin Watson put up a TE 1 season where he finished as the number 8 overall tight end. He caught 74 passes for 825 yards and 6 touchdowns. So with his leaving and the Saints cutting Marques Colston (45 rec, 520 yds, and 4 TDs) 119 targets are unclaimed in the New Orleans offense. Fleener is an athletic enough tight end to fulfill the role of the main receiving tight end and field stretcher for the Saints. As an effect of Fleener leaving Indy, Dwayne Allen becomes a top receiving option in the Indianapolis offense. Allen also received a big contract extension from Indy, signing a 4 year – $29 million deal. Allen has never experienced life in the Indy offense without Fleener, but even with Fleener, he scored 8 touchdowns in 2014. 2015 was a down year for Allen, but he also only received 29 targets in 2015 with Matt Hasselbeck as his primary quarterback. With Andrew Luck returning from injury, the Colts will return to their throwing ways in 2016 and Allen will receive plenty of red zone targets for the Colts.
Courtesy of: RotoViz
Ladarius Green, a young, athletic tight end, left San Diego for the Pittsburgh Steelers. With the suspension of Martavis Bryant, 92 targets are now unclaimed in the Steelers’ offense. Green should be able to claim a large part of that now that he isn’t buried by the eternal man, Antonio Gates. Ben Roethlisberger is expected to use Green as a middle of the field safety blanket and playmaker and that role has much value in the high-flying Pittsburgh Steelers offense. Another interesting tight end move in the AFC North is Benjamin Watson moving to the Baltimore Ravens. Watson was the #8 tight end in standard scoring last year and should hopefully bring some clarity to a crowded Ravens stable of tight ends. The Ravens have Watson, Maxx Williams, Dennis Pitta, and Crockett Gillmore at TE and Watson is currently their TE 1.
Other tight ends coming into a TE 1 status include Zach Ertz, Eric Ebron, and Austin Sefarian – Jenkins. Zach Ertz began to come on strong at the end of last year with 450 receiving yards, 1 TD on 35 receptions. He actually had 853 yards last year, but with only 2 TDs he was only able to finish as the TE 9. With even a marginal improvement in his touchdown rate, he will catapult up the TE rankings. Ebron was the #13 TE in 2015 with Calvin Johnson being Matthew Stafford’s target hog. Without Johnson, Ebron needs to step up his red zone game and as he enters his third year, the pressure is on for Ebron to produce like the top 10 pick he was. ASJ is another big tight end who is entering his third year. His long frame is a great target for Jameis Winston in the red zone and Seferian – Jenkins should up his touchdown total from 4 touchdowns and his yardage from 338.
The main argument for drafting Gronk in the first round was his dominance over the rest of the tight ends in the NFL. However, in 2015, Gronkowski only outscored Delaine Walker, Jordan Reed, Gary Barnidge, and Greg Olsen by 11.2, 11.4, 18.3, and 28.2 points, which averages to 0.7, 0.71, 1.14, and 1.76 points per game. In 2015 Gronk didn’t maintain his complete dominance over the rest of the tight end crop in fantasy. With Jordan Reed, Delaine Walker, and Gary Barnidge all breaking out to an extensive level, Rob Gronkowski now faces competition as the #1 TE in fantasy football.
Others like to draft Gronk due to how well he would rank among wide receivers. In 2015, though, he would have only finished as the #13 WR in fantasy, based on PPR scoring. Based on current ADP, the thirteenth WR goes off the board at 2.12 in a 12 team league, the 24th overall pick. Gronkowski is worth more than the last pick of the second round, but that has more to do with his position not having an overwhelming amount of studs, which should put his ADP at the middle of the second round or around 18 overall.
By taking Rob Gronkowski at his current ADP, 1.08, you pass up players such as DeAndre Hopkins, Ezekiel Elliot, Allen Robinson, Lamar Miller, and AJ Green. If all goes to plan, which isn’t guaranteed, all of these players will outscore Gronkowski. And it’s better to build a team around one of these players, considering they should be top options at their position and will be an advantage over all but 4 or 5 other players at their position.
One of Gronkowski’s greatest traits is his dependability, that he can and will regularly get owners a strong stat line when healthy. Which is of course, the problem, staying healthy. Gronk has played in 16, 16, 11, 7, 15, and 15 games in his career, ranging from 2010 to 2015. He required surgery on a broken arm in 2012, underwent ACL surgery in 2013, and again in 2013 needed 4 surgeries to repair a broken arm, and during the 2015 season, he was hit low and missed a game with a knee injury. Gronk finally stayed healthy the last two years, but the best way to identify injury risks is looking at past injuries. His numerous injuries date back to college and he is almost always listed on the injury report by the end of the season.
I have had Gronk the last two seasons and he has helped me to a championship and a 3rd place finish in my home league. I love Gronk and he is and always will be one of my favorite players. However, in 2016 I can’t pay the price to get Rob Gronkowski on my fantasy team. I prefer Jordan Reed at his asking price of 4.03, 39th overall. And if I fail to acquire Reed, I will wait for a later round tight end such as Ladarius Green or Coby Fleener. Gronkowski, even in all his dominance and greatness, is not worthy of a first-round asking price.