By Anthony Knox
Follow me on Twitter @ff_knox
In six years of playing fantasy football, I have never had Rob Gronkowski (or Gronk, for short) on any of my teams. The starting tight end for the New England Patriots has never been a player that I could get my hands on for two reasons:
1. All of the leagues I’m in are filled with New England fanatics.
2. His cost on draft day is too high for me to pay.
Some will argue that there is no need to take him in the first round because tight ends are a “dime a dozen.”
Those people are mistaken.
Since 2010, Rob Gronkowski has been an unstoppable force in the NFL. His size and strength make him a nightmare for defenders and he has always had Tom Brady throwing him the ball. When you have arguably the best quarterback to ever play in the NFL throwing passes to you, and you’re a monster of a man, you’re bound to be amazing!
Let’s stop talking about his physical appearance and focus on the stats that back up his claim to be the best tight end in not just fantasy football, but real football as well. Gronk has played in 80 career games. In those 80 games, his overall stats have looked like this:
Targets – 579
Receptions – 380
Receiving Yards – 5,555
Touchdowns – 65
When you break it down on a per game and annual average:
Per Game, Annual
Targets – 6, 96.5
Receptions – 4, 63.3
Receiving Yards – 57.9, 925.8
Touchdowns – 0.7, 10.8
To explain more clearly, every game Rob Gronkowski will score you a minimum of 10 points in a PPR league, and he’s more likely than not going to score a touchdown. He has averaged 221.6 fantasy points per year over his career. With that average point total, that puts him in the top 20 scorers at any position aside from quarterback.
Now, that may not seem like it’s that great, but when you compare it to other tight ends, it is! Gronk is on another level. Here are per game averages in each category for tight ends that are ranked high on various websites:
Targets, Receptions, Yards, Touchdowns
Jordan Reed – 7, 5.4, 56.4, 0.4
Greg Olsen – 6.2, 3.8, 44.3, 0.3
Tyler Eifert – 4.6, 3.2, 37.8, 0.5
Delanie Walker – 3.7, 2.4, 27.9, 0.2
With Gronk, that makes up most analysts’ top five tight ends. As you can see, Jordan Reed is the only person who comes close to Gronk’s overall numbers. Though, Reed’s sample size is only 34 games versus 80 games for Gronk.
I probably didn’t need to convince you that Gronk was the best tight end in fantasy football, but it’s clear that he is a difference maker at his position and definitely deserves consideration for a first round pick. Honestly, I wouldn’t fault you for thinking that he should be taken #1 overall in drafts.