Rob Gronkowski's status still unknown; fantasy owners need a backup plan

Rick Stewart

The tight end's agent said Gronkowski's status for Sunday's game will be a late-in-the-week decision. We break down the fantasy implications

The playing status of New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski won't be known either way until later in the week, said the star's agent Drew Rosenhaus. Whether Gronkowski plays Sunday will depend on whether he is cleared to play by Dr. James Andrews, according to a report by Boston Globe NFL writer Ben Volin.

In 43 career games, Gronkowski has 2,663 receiving yards and 38 touchdowns. In his absence so far this year, Patriots' tight ends have only nine receptions for 96 yards, almost entirely by fourth-year veteran Michael Hoomanawanui (fifth-year veteran Matthew Mulligan has one catch for one yard and a touchdown, the only tight-end score for New England this season).

Fantasy impact: While Gronkowski is unlikely to be a true game-time decision he's likely to be cleared or not cleared by Saturday, and, as Rosenhaus said, if he's cleared, he's playing it's still nice that New England plays at 1 p.m. Sunday, so any questions should be cleared up in time for fantasy owners to figure out an alternative plan.

Any Gronkowski owners are used to figuring out a Plan B this season. Those who fell into up-and-coming studs like Jordan Cameron or Julius Thomas would be wise to stick with those guys until we see Gronkowski play a game; there's always the chance he takes the field just long enough to feel uncomfortable and leaves again.

A playing Gronk is a huge weapon, so owners who have bridged the gap with someone like Brandon Myers or Jared Cook or Tyler Eifert might want to take the risk of the star, assuming Gronkowski is cleared. But otherwise, the gap-bridger seems like a safer call for Week 7.

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