Rob Gronkowski reportedly unlikely to play, but nearing debut for fantasy owners

USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is reportedly unlikely to play on Sunday. We break down the fantasy implications.

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski may be waiting another week to make his 2013 debut. Though he's been practicing for multiple weeks now, Gronkowski seems likely to miss the team's Week 5 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. It's "viewed as a longshot" that Gronkowski will play on Sunday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

Gronkowski also reportedly asked the team to start him in Week 6 specifically. This means that Gronkowski is essentially ruling himself out, regardless of how he feels. Given the number of injuries he's sustained, and therefore the number of surgeries he's underwent, it would be hard to fault him for being cautious.

The Patriots desperately need Gronkowski and wide receiver Danny Amendola to get healthy. And while the Bengals are a tough team, the Patriots would surely want Gronkowski for the next 10 games and the playoffs more than they'd want him specifically for Sunday's game against Cincinnati.

Fantasy Impact: Gronkowski was to be one of the top fantasy tight ends had he been ready earlier in the season. Now that guy is Jimmy Graham of the New Orleans Saints. Still, many drafted him hoping for a big boost once he returned, and they'll probably get it. Unfortunately, it probably won't be until Week 6 at this point so owners should start somebody else.

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