Rob Gronkowski Fantasy Outlook
Still doesn’t look like Old Gronk. May not matter. New England’s offense always comes with the risk of a Belichick game plan that swings usage away from any given player. But Gronkowski represents the best risk of any Patriots’ skill player, in my opinion. Among tight ends he’s currently fourth in targets, ninth in yards, tied for third in touchdowns, eighth in PPR points, fourth in points per snap, and second in targets per snap. Here’s the upside: He’s just 29th in total snaps and 32nd in percent of snaps played. If he plays more snaps, the points will come.
Here are Gronk’s snaps by week: 38, 27, 44, 31, 68. That’s an upward trend. It’s also noteworthy that Gronk is averaging 7.4 targets/game this year. That’s his second-best rate in any season.1
Tim Wright is also worth a look. I know it’s just one game but he looked awfully good against the Bengals. He was impressively good as a rookie last year, and I still like his chances to be a meaningful player in New England over the rest of the season. No, he didn’t do much in the first four weeks. But Kenbrell Thompkins is gone, and neither Aaron Dobson nor Danny Amendola have played significant snaps (or done much with those snaps) this season. So there could be opportunity. Wright is handily bigger than those two and arguably offers some upside.
Wright is probably a matchup-based option going forward, and is worth keeping on your radar. This week’s matchup against Buffalo is rated as a difficult matchup for TEs, so maybe Gronk underwhelms and you can try to get him. From Week 7 through 16, the Patriots have the fourth-best TE schedule, including a fantasy championship week matchup against the cream puff Jets.
Among the many superlatives in Murray’s 2014 campaign are the number of rushing attempts he’s accumulating. He’s on pace for 416, which would be an all-time record. It’s been suggested by Jason Garrett that the Cowboys will try to limit his workload going forward. Guest writer Josh Klein tells you what to do with Joseph Randle.
On the other hand, Murray is a free agent after the season, running back is a fungible position, and Dallas has some salary cap issues anyway. So maybe they’re content to just run him into the ground.
Kirk Cousins had a good performance against the Seahawks on Monday Night Football. His fantasy efficiency per pass attempt was 0.27, his best mark of the season, and the sixth-best mark of the week.2 Not bad, considering his top wide receiver, Pierre Garcon, was effectively shut down. It probably helped that he had DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts to fall back on. Cousins might be a good quarterback, or not. But at least he’s got some offensive personnel to help sustain his productivity. Contrast this to the Jets, who sans Eric Decker rolled out Jeremy Kerley, Greg Salas, and David Nelson. I’m not saying Geno Smith is great or anything (I’ve been a proponent since last season, but the shine is fading a bit.) Just suggesting that we collectively need to do a better job of accounting for situation when evaluating QB play, and fantasy prospects.
Packers Wide Receivers
Speaking of quality receivers, the Packers seem to have them in spades. I haven’t seen much focus on this yet, but they signed Kevin Dorsey from their practice squad to their active roster this week. Dorsey has decent size (6’1″, 207 pounds), OK production (a 0.265 Dominator Rating as a junior), and Freak Score of 60. But that’s not the important thing. The important thing is that, perhaps, this is a signal that Jarrett Boykin is going to miss some time. And if that happens, then Davante Adams (and maybe Jeff Janis) is probably in line for more work.
Deep Dynasty Stashes?
You’ll want to do some more research before going down this path, but here’s an idea. George Winn and Branden Oliver are on the radar as potential short-term waiver wire additions. But might they make decent dynasty stashes as well? Both are very inexpensive players. In the case of Winn, he’s playing behind Joique Bell (28 years old) and Reggie Bush (29 years old). Both are older than I think many people realize, so they may not have long futures. In the case of Bush, cutting him in the offseason would free up about $3.75 million in salary cap space. Oliver’s situation is similar. Danny Woodhead is already 29 and has a severe injury. Ryan Mathews is just 26, but has a long injury history. Even if healthy, it seems like San Diego would want a complementary back to go along with Mathews. So far Donald Brown doesn’t seem to be that guy.
Just for fun, here’s a snapshot of some workout numbers for Oliver, Woodhead, and Darren Sproles.
Oliver’s agility and explosion are similar to Woodhead’s, at a higher weight. His explosiveness and adjusted speed compare well to Sproles. This is just a very superficial look; like I said, more research required. But I’m inclined to stash either or both of these guys while they audition for bigger roles next season.