Rob Gronkowski playing in the opener is 'not realistic,' remains a tough decision for fantasy owners

Gronk would be on the sidelines for Week 1. - Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Rob Gronkowski's chances of playing in Week 1 are highly in doubt. We break down some factors for fantasy owners to consider on making a decision to draft him.

ESPN's Adam Schefter said on NFL Insiders that it's "not realistic" for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (back) to play in Week 1 against the Bills. Albert Breer of NFL.com adds that the Patriots are being careful and the situation is fluid.

Gronkowski had back surgery on June 18 and missed over a month of the 2012 regular season with a broken arm. He led all tight ends with 11 touchdowns in just 11 games last season on his 55 catches for 790 yards.

Fantasy impact: It's been one of the biggest question marks of the offseason. There's a chance that Gronkowski misses a long period of time, which makes him an extremely risky pick in fantasy leagues. No league is exactly the same, but there are a few things about your league that can help you on making a decision to draft him.

The depth of your roster is important. If you're going to draft Gronk, not only will you not be able to use him, but you're also going to use a valuable bench spot to stash him. That means you'll have to carry two tight ends, so you'll be less likely to be able to cut someone to make a hot pickup off the waiver wire.

If you have some roster depth, ability to fill your other starting spots will be a big factor. If you're going to take Gronk around his ADP of in the fourth round, so even if this latest piece of news causes him to slide to the fifth, you're going to be really passing up on some difference-making players.

If you're sitting there in the fifth round and you have two backs and two wideouts that you really like, it's not a huge risk to take a chance on Gronk. There are enough late-round picks -- like Jordan Cameron, Jared Cook and Fred Davis -- that will make the absence of Gronk not seem too bad. Zach Sudfeld also serves as a nice stopgap option.

More from SB Nation:

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2013 fantasy football TE rankings

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