Rob Gronkowski listed as limited for second straight day, fantasy owners still expect season debut Sunday

Stew Milne-US PRESSWIRE

Rob Gronkowski was limited in practice for a second straight day, as reports have swirled about the likelihood of him seeing his first game action on Sunday. We break down the fantasy implications.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski practiced again for the Patriots on Thursday, but on a limited basis.

This is the same level of participation that Gronkowski practiced at on Wednesday, and while nursing forearm and back injuries, he has seen the practice field in a limited role for weeks prior to then. The difference is that optimistic reports of the All-Pro tight end making his 2013 debut have floated around this week, suggesting that despite the limitations, Gronkowski will be ready to go.

Fantasy Spin: If that is in fact the case, Gronkowski is a must-start this week even in a stingy matchup versus the Falcons. Despite the Patriots' lack of receiving weapons, they are at an advantageous position at 3-0 and could afford to rest Gronkowski in a non-conference game if he isn't close to 100 percent. Therefore, if the Patriots do trot him out to the field, it would not likely be on a limited basis.

The Falcons held Jared Cook and Jimmy Graham to a combined 55 yards, but despite their ability to cover tight ends, a healthy Gronkowski is more than capable of prevailing.

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