Mike Florio of NBC Sports is reporting that Rob Gronkowski did indeed tear his ACL on Sunday and will mess the rest of the season. Gronkowski tore his ACL on a hit by T.J. Ward. The Patriots are simply a different offense with Gronkowski in the mix. Field Yates of ESPN.com noted: “Gronkowski has made a dramatic impact in his return to the team, as the Patriots (10-3) scored the second-most points in the NFL during the six games he played before Sunday. The Patriots had the 22nd-best scoring offense in the league without Gronkowski.”
The hit on Gronkowski was low but Ward explained he was worried about a fine if he hit Gronkowski high: “I think they ran a seam route and I closed on the pass. It was a decision I made, and just to make a tackle on a big man. Unfortunately, he got hurt, but if I would have hit him up high, there’s a chance that I would get fined and all that other stuff, so I’m just being safe.” (Boston.com)
From a fantasy angle, XN Sports’ C.D. Carter wrote: “Gronkowski’s presence in the New England lineup changed everything for Brady, who was not a startable fantasy quarterback until his all-world tight end returned from injury Week 7. Gronkowski’s mere presence opened up the Patriots’ offense by forcing the defense to find ways to stop the pass-catching man-beast. Brady, since Gronk’s return, has been the seventh highest scoring fantasy signal caller, posting a few eye-popping stat lines along the way. That all changes now, and Brady owners should take note. Meanwhile, Shane Vereen’s usage should continue to be otherwordly.”
The Patriots are now left with Matthew Mulligan and Michael Hoomanawanui at Tight End.
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