The information that Rob Gronkowski is retiring from the NFL will solely come as half a shock to fantasy soccer managers. Gronkowski beforehand stepped away earlier than the 2019 season earlier than returning to affix Tom Brady in Tampa Bay. With Gronkowski now heading again into his retirement, what does that imply for the fantasy soccer choices on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Is Cameron Brate now a must-roster possibility, and do Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, or Russell Gage get a lift?
It is truthful to level out that technically Gronkowski’s retirement modifications completely nothing for the Buccaneers. Gronkowski was a free agent, and so he has nothing to step away from when it comes to a roster spot. However, the expectation was that the legendary tight finish would signal nearer to the season and play alongside his good pal in Tampa Bay.
Now, that would nonetheless occur. As now we have stated Gronkowski retired earlier than solely to return. The distinction right here is that nothing is more likely to change from what we all know at present. Unless this can be a leverage play, the NFL will be without the Gronk as soon as once more in 2022. Let’s study what this implies for the Buccaneers’ fantasy choices.
Tom Brady might not miss his pal as a lot as he beforehand may need
Since Tom Brady has been in Tampa Bay, he has seen a marginal decline when his pal was not within the lineup. With Gronkowski on the sector, Brady averages simply over 300 yards and 2.6 touchdowns per sport. That yardage drops to 280 whereas the touchdowns stay largely static. With that, his fantasy manufacturing drops lower than two factors.
Historically, the impact was larger. Going again to Gronkowski’s rookie season, the fall-off in fantasy factors is round 3.5 factors per sport with touchdowns dropping by round 0.5. However, in New England, Gronkowski was the weapon, whereas in Tampa Bay he’s one in every of various weapons. Not having Gronkowski on the sector could also be a slight downgrade for Brady, however on this Tampa Bay offense and with the struggles the tight finish has had not too long ago, it isn’t catastrophic by any means.
Cameron Brate has an opportunity to be the man
The alternative for Brate has by no means been higher. In the previous few years, he has needed to compete with both Gronkowski or O.J. Howard, or each. Now they’re each gone and he has his likelihood to shine. Brate is a tough man to belief. He has been outdoors the highest 15 on the place in every of the final 4 years.
However, roll the clock again to 2016 and 2017, and Brate was a prime 10 tight finish in each seasons as the first weapon. Across the 2 years, he averaged 79 targets, 52.5 receptions, 625.5 yards, and seven touchdowns. He did that with Jameis Winston as his main QB, so if he can have comparable utilization with Brady below heart, simply perhaps we may very well be taking a look at a top-five tight finish end.
Competition-wise, issues are laborious to evaluate. The Buccaneers spent two alternatives within the 2022 NFL Draft on tight ends in Cade Otton and Ko Kieft. While each are undoubtedly gifted, each had been additionally Day 3 picks, so there is no such thing as a assure they see a lot enjoying time this 12 months. In deeper dynasty leagues, each are price a possible stash with a deep bench.
The actual prize right here may very well be Brate. His ADP will undoubtedly rise after this information (TE31 according to Fantasy Pros). We might want to see the place that settles to find out if Brate gives worth. However, there’s a official prime 10 upside and maybe even prime 5 if Brady and Brate can work nicely collectively in 2022.
What does Gronkowski retiring imply for the receivers?
Alongside Brate’s fantasy worth, a few of the receivers may additionally see a slight increase from Gronkowski’s retirement. Mike Evans is averaging 0.5 extra touchdowns, yet another goal, and just below 10 extra yards per sport with Gronk out. That all equates to only below 4 extra fantasy factors per sport in PPR codecs.
Ironically, Godwin really suffered for not having Gronkowski on the sector previously two years. The huge tight commanded consideration throughout the center of the sector and opened pockets for Godwin to work in. Without him, the shifty slot receiver might discover extra bracket protection in the midst of the sector, except Brate breaks out and instructions that protection.
Russell Gage may very well be one other beneficiary. His position within the offense was unsure if Gronkowski and Brate had been each taking snaps. Now, it seems like we may see loads of one tight finish seems with three receivers for Tampa Bay. Antonio Brown flourished with Gronkowski off the sector final 12 months, seeing near 4 extra targets per sport in a restricted pattern dimension.
If Gage can command all of Brown’s 62 targets and a few of Gronkowski’s 89, there may be worth available right here. Currently being taken as WR49 and 126th off the board on common on Sleeper, if that ADP doesn’t rise following this information there is a chance. Brown averaged over 20 fantasy factors per sport within the three video games he performed with out Gronk. While that will be lofty expectations for Gage, he may nonetheless see a utilization bump from this information.