New England Patriots tight end Zach Sudfeld was supposed to be a sleeper option for fantasy owners this year. Many of the top fantasy experts picked Sudfeld as a player to watch, including many on SB Nation. Rob Gronkowski was hurt, Aaron Hernandez has his whole messed up thing going on and Bill Belichick can make anything work when he has a mind for it.
Or so we thought. Tom Brady and the New England offense have not looked quite the same this season. Expecting Belichick to be able to plug in a big-bodied tight end to catch a few touchdowns a game while "Gronk" is on the mend was a little naive, but the Belichick-Brady combination has been able to do things like that for years, in our defense.
That said, Sudfeld was only in on eight of 66 offensive snaps in Sunday's 30-23 win over the Atlanta Falcons, as noted by ESPN Boston. Sudfeld was overshadowed by blocking specialist Michael Hoomanawanui, who was in on 54 of the 66 snaps. Given that Gronkowski should be back from his injury relatively soon, the Sudfeld experiment may be soon over for fantasy owners.
Fantasy Impact: Gronkowski coming back can mean one of two things for Sudfeld. On one hand, it could mean that Sudfeld takes on an even more limited role, but potentially gets the chance to go under the radar and earn some more playing time with Gronkowski drawing all of the coverage. On the other hand, it could mean that he's relegated to being a gameday inactive. The latter seems much more likely at this point.