Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski returned to practice Thursday, according to ESPN's Mike Reiss. Gronk is dealing with injuries to an ankle and his back, the latter of which cost him Sunday's game in Chicago. We'll certainly track his participation through the week and hope that he doesn't finish Saturday as a question mark for Monday night's kickoff. Dwayne Allen and Charles Clay would be the insurance options if that winds up the case with Gronkowski, who posted 2 nice fantasy outings against Buffalo in 2017.
The Bucs and TE Rob Gronkowski have agreed to a new 1-year, $10 million deal. Gronk was always expected to return to Tampa to make a run at another Super Bowl and has been projected that way in our rankings. He played in all 16 regular-season games last year for the 1st time since 2011, compiling a 45-623-7 line on 77 targets. That landed him 8th among TEs in PPR points. Gronk benefitted from injuries to both WR Chris Godwin and TE O.J. Howard, who will be back for 2021, so we have him projected for fewer targets and fantasy points.
Bucs HC Bruce Arians called '12' personnel his "base offense" on Thursday. ('12' personnel means 1 RB, 2 WRs and 2 TEs.) The Bucs went '12' on 23% of their snaps last season -- the 8th highest rate in the league. Over the past 2 seasons, only 1 team (the 2019 Eagles) has gone '12' on more than 36% of their snaps. We'll buy the Bucs using more 2-TE looks this year after adding Rob Gronkowski to O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate. But don't expect it to be their most common alignment. It's still unlikely that more than 1 of those TEs is a reliable fantasy option. The other result of more 2-TE sets will be more snaps outside the numbers for WR Chris Godwin. That might ding his volume a tad but shouldn't be a big concern overall. Godwin was actually more efficient outside the numbers last season, averaging 2.27 yards per route run vs. 2.22 in the slot.
Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski told NFL Network's Michael Giardi that he's "feeling good, feeling healthy." He admitted that his body "100% needed a rest." Gronk appeared to drop a lot of weight over the last year but said he's back up to 250 pounds -- 10 to 15 pounds lighter than he last played at. His conditioning has suddenly become 1 of the biggest fantasy storylines of the offseason, considering it'll have been about a year-and-a-half between his last 2 games.
ESPN's Adam Schefter -- and others -- report that the Buccaneers are sending a 4th-round pick to the Patriots for TE Rob Gronkowski and a 7th-rounder, pending a physical. The news follows recent rumors that Gronk was looking to return to the NFL. The trade to Tampa Bay obviously reunites him with QB Tom Brady. It also complicates the outlook for Bucs TE O.J. Howard, unless he can move on in his own trade. Bruce Arians' use of Howard disappointed fantasy owners mightily in the HC's 1st year with the Bucs. But there would be little reason for this deal unless Tampa planned to get the ball to Gronkowski plenty. The 31-year-old (as of May 14) declined in 2018 but still ranked 9th in PPR points per game among TEs.
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski on Sunday announced via Instagram that he's retiring. That leaves New England with Stephen Anderson, Jacob Hollister, Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse at the position. Hollister and Dwayne Allen combined for the team's only 7 TE receptions outside of Gronk's 47. The oft-injured veteran clearly declined over the past couple of years, but we also expect New England to address the position in at least the NFL Draft or free agency now that Gronkowski's done. Even if they add a TE or 2, Gronk's departure figures to leave targets and red-zone chances available for multiple positions.
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