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Tempering expectations for Rob Gronkowski

Buccaneers’ fans may not get all they’re expecting out of the future Hall of Famer

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Training Camp Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

All that people have been able to talk about - whether it’s local media, national media, or the fans - has been the additions of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.

The dynamic duo were two of the biggest reasons for the Patriots’ success over the last decade and the two of them coming together in Tampa Bay should mean big things. After all, the Bucs have one of the most talented rosters in all of football and now have the greatest quarterback and - arguably - the greatest tight end in the history of the game to go along with it.

But what if the expectations and reality of Rob Gronkowski’s production are two very different things?

On an episode of The Fantasy Footballers podcast last week, host Mike Wright pointed out something very interesting regarding Gronk’s usage thus far in training camp;

“Shout out to our frinds at Roster Watch. They have some boots on the ground at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ training camp and all morning it’s simply been a reminder - don’t draft Rob Gronkowski. The name is gigantic, he is a Hall of Fame tight end but O.J. Howard is still the number one guy there.

They’re comparing Rob Gronkowski’s usage, at least in practices, to that of late career Antonio Gates. Yeah, Antonio Gates came through in the red zone, he’s a specialist there, he’s catching touchdowns. But Rob Gronkowski, if you’re drafting him, don’t think you’re getting Rob Gronkowski from three years ago.”

First and foremost, no - fantasy football analysis isn’t always conducive to that of actual on-field production or impact. O.J. Howard - in a “disappointing” 2019 - was far more valuable to the Buccaneers than he was to his fantasy owners. However, we can take these comments and dig into them just a little bit.

If Gronk is being used in a “Gates type role” for the Buccaneers, that means he will get a lot of his snaps, targets, and production in the red zone. Between the 20’s, it appears as though Howard will still be the guy. That, in turn, means Gronk won’t be racking up the targets, receptions, and yards that many are accustomed to seeing during his Patriots days.

This isn’t a “sound the alarm and freak out” level warning, simply something to bear in mind while moving forward. The Buccaneers have three starting caliber tight ends and utilizing all of them will mean less production for the three individuals - Howard, Gronk, and Cameron Brate - but may also result in larger production for the position as a whole.

Also, buyers beware of Bucs tight ends in their fantasy drafts.

You can check out the comments about Gronk here or in the player below.