The New England Patriots were able to squeeze out a tough win against Cleveland this past weekend, but it came at a price. Star tight end Rob Gronkowski went down with a knee injury, and it was later revealed that he tore his ACL. Now, one of the Super Bowl favorites will have to go into the playoffs without their most dangerous pass catcher. While the impact on the team is obvious, what will change in fantasy football?
For starters, Gronkowski has to officially be looked at as injury prone. When on the field, he is arguably the best tight end in the NFL. However, staying on the field has been problematic for him recently. He missed the first six games of the 2013 season due to a forearm injury, and fantasy football owners were just getting used to his productivity when he tears up his knee. He can probably work towards being healthy enough to play most of 2014, but with so many surgeries under his belt, he is a risk.
Tom Brady is also going to see his fantasy football numbers go down a little bit, at the absolute worst time of the season as well. The future Hall of Famer has already struggled by his standards most of the year, and losing Gronkowski will definitely sting. He finishes the season with Miami, Baltimore and Buffalo, so he is not necessarily a lock to start in fantasy down the stretch. He has thrown for an average of 378 yards in his last three games, so this injury comes just as he is figuring everything out and peaking.
Overall, the biggest impact of this injury comes from a team perspective, as the Patriots just seem unlikely to make a true Super Bowl run without Gronkowski. It stings a little bit in fantasy football, but Gronkowski owners already knew that he was injury prone. Expect a full recovery for the tight end, but the Patriots will be waiting until next year to try and win another Super Bowl.