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FANTASY FOOTBALL: The Tom Brady-Rob Gronkowski second marriage won’t move the fantasy needle … and that’s a good thing

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Rob Gronkowski (career tallies: 521 receptions, 7,861 yards, 79 TDs) hasn't enjoyed a season of 70-plus catches or double-digit touchdowns since 2015.

The stunning Rob Gronkowski-to-Tampa Bay news (go ahead and trademark those Gronka Bay T-shirts now) has brought a talk-friendly ray of sunshine to the murkiness of another sports-free week, with the future Hall of Famer coming out of retirement on Tuesday, as part of a major Patriots-Buccaneers trade before Thursday’s NFL draft.

But does it really mean anything in the fantasy realm?

After all, the Bucs were already loaded with two elite-level wideouts (Mike Evans, Chris Godwin), two athletic tight ends (O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate) and one emerging tailback (Ronald Jones), who tallied 235 total yards and one touchdown in his final two outings last season.

(Never discount a heralded young back who finishes on a high note the previous year.)

And for those who’ve been living under a rock for the last two months, the Bucs swapped out quarterback Jameis Winston (5,109 yards passing, 34 total TDs, 30 INTs) for Tom Brady during the free agency period of March.

Obviously, Brady (11-year average: 4,375 yards passing, 31 TDs) has a pre-existing rapport with Gronkowski, with the all-star duo connecting for 521 receptions, 7,861 yards and 79 touchdowns from 2010-18.

However, that’s more of a real-world perk for the Bucs, who are apparently very serious about upending the Saints for this year’s NFC South title.

From a fantasy perspective, Gronkowski (turns 31 next month) averaged only 12 games played from 2013-18; and for his last three campaigns, Gronk produced middling averages of 47 catches, 769 yards and 4.7 touchdowns.

It’s also worth noting: Gronkowski barely had any tight end competition during his final years with the Patriots. With the Bucs, it’ll be interesting to see how the repetitions and targets are doled out among Howard (34 catches, 459 yards, 1 TD last year) and Brate (36 catches, 311 yards, 4 TDs) — neither of whom have yet to turn 30.

And do we even need to cover the inevitable trouble with touches, in terms of any other Bucs playmaker garnering consistent attention away from Godwin (86 catches, 121 targets, 1,333 yards, 9 TDs) and Evans (67 catches, 118 targets, 1,157 yards, 8 TDs) — the fantasy world’s most lethal 1-2 punch last season?

Put it all together, and I like Gronkowski’s chances of posting one or maybe two games of multiple touchdowns … but nothing of week-in, week-out success with targets, receptions and finding the end zone.

Bottom line: The days of Gronk being a low pick in Round 1, just because of the Grand Canyon-like separation among other fantasy tight ends, are long gone; and that’s a good thing. If Brady and the new-look Bucs are indeed viable Super Bowl contenders, the vast amount of offensive success should go through the all-world corridors of Evans and Godwin.

Unlike previous years … you can probably land Gronkowski in Round 15 or 16, without ever sweating the moment.

PRE-DRAFT TOP 25 TIGHT ENDS (PPR)

  1. Travis Kelce, Chiefs
  2. George Kittle, 49ers
  3. Mark Andrews, Ravens
  4. Darren Waller, Raiders
  5. Austin Hooper, Browns
  6. Zach Ertz, Eagles
  7. Evan Engram, Giants
  8. Tyler Higbee, Rams
  9. Hunter Henry, Chargers
  10. Jared Cook, Saints
  11. T.J. Hockenson, Lions
  12. Mike Gesicki, Dolphins
  13. Hayden Hurst, Falcons
  14. Eric Ebron, Steelers
  15. Noah Fant, Broncos
  16. Dallas Goedert, Eagles
  17. Greg Olsen, Seahawks
  18. Jonnu Smith, Titans
  19. Rob Gronkowski, Buccaneers
  20. Jack Doyle, Colts
  21. Ian Thomas, Panthers
  22. Will Dissly, Seahawks
  23. Darren Fells, Texans
  24. Kyle Rudolph, Vikings
  25. Chris Herndon, Jets
  26. David Njoku, Browns
  27. Dawson Knox, Bills
  28. O.J. Howard, Buccaneers
  29. Blake Jarwin, Cowboys
  30. Jimmy Graham, Bears

About The Managing Editor

Jay Clemons remains the only sports writer on the planet to capture Cynposis Media’s national award for Sports Blog Of The Year (beating out NBA.com, MLB.com, PGATour.com, The Players’ Tribune in 2015), along with the Fantasy Sports Writers Association’s pre-eminent award for Best Writer (2008). Through the years, Mr. Clemons has been a key figure with numerous blue-chip sports/media brands, namely the Detroit Lions, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report and the NBC/Universal family. With Sports Illustrated (2006-11), Clemons served a triple role with SI.com‘s heralded football coverage—editing Peter King’s famed ‘Monday Morning Quarterback’ column, penning award-winning pieces for NFL and then writing/narrating scripted videos within the NFL and baseball realms. In 2013, Clemons’ first year with the company, FOX Sports South enjoyed a monumental increase of approximately 34 million Web hits in a 12-month cycle—merely posting 11 million hits the previous year. 

Then, over a two-month span in 2014, FOX Sports South amassed 19.5 million Web hits—a 60-day record for any FOX affiliate. And in 2015, Clemons claimed the aforementioned Cynopsis Media award on FOX Sports’ behalf, the company’s only national writing award during that period. Clemons, a graduate of Michigan State University  and Wayne State University, has been an on-camera Web-TV host for Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report and FOX Sports. In 2015, he also became the first-ever sports journalism professor at Kennesaw State University in suburban Atlanta.

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