Rob Gronkowski injury update: Nearing return, fantasy owners still need backup plan

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Rob Gronkowski is getting closer to a return. We break down the fantasy implications.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (back, forearm) has been downgraded from his Friday questionable listing, to OUT. Gronk did not travel with the Patriots to Cincinnati, and will not play against the Bengals on Sunday. He was limited in all sessions of practice this week, and the latest reports have him hoping for a Week 6 return.

The Patriots are still waiting for Gronk to make his debut, especially Tom Brady. Brady is averaging the fewest yards per passing attempt in 10 years and there have been tons of drops by his inexperienced receivers. The team also has received nothing from their tight ends -- a far cry from their production with two elite tight ends last year.

The Pats are 4-0 so there's little reason to rush Gronk back, but this is a big game and there could be playoff implications down the line when it comes down to head-to-head tiebreaks on January.

Fantasy impact: With Gronk officially out, owners do not need to wait for inactives before the 1 p.m. start. All indications are that he will play in Week 6, but you will want to keep an eye on his practice work this week.

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