As if losing Tom Brady for the first four games to start the season wasn’t bad enough, although the Pats did go 3-1 in his absence; the team received terrible news on Thursday as their polarizing TE Rob Gronkowski may be forced out the rest of the season as he is set to undergo back surgery on Friday.
The Patriots have yet to rule out Gronk for the remainder of the season until after the surgery, although it appears that will be the case. Gronk means so much for the Patriots offense and now leaves them without that go-to guy they can rely on when they need a big play. New England still has a plethora of guys who can produce, but no one has emerged as a clear-cut #2 option behind Gronk.
With Gronk likely out the rest of the season, Martellus Bennett sees a skyrocket in fantasy value. On the season he has 500 receiving yards and 4 TDs. He should claim a pivotal role moving forward and serve as the top redzone threat. Bennett could easily be a top 5 TE to finish the season.
In the WR corps, Julian Edelman still serves as a good PPR option as he’s seen nearly triple more targets than any other WR on the team. However, the recent emergence of rookie Malcolm Mitchell may make him the more reliable play in standard leagues – he has 3 TDs in the past 2 weeks. Chris Hogan is the black sheep of the group, although he is a fringe FLEX play from week-to-week with Gronk out depending on matchup.
I don’t expect a huge shakeup in the running game. Although I do see more involvement coming the way of Dion Lewis. While James White remains the go-to back in passing downs, Lewis has been steadily moving along with snaps.