Friday update: Rob Gronkowski will not play in Week 7, per Rick Stroud. O.J. Howard should be the lead tight end as long as he’s healthy.
Thursday update: Rob Gronkowski was at practice Thursday, but working on the side, per Greg Auman. The side work is a step forward, but Auman doesn’t expect him to suit up this week.
Small step, but Rob Gronkowski is running on the side with trainers (far, far away). Doesn’t look like he’s going Sunday. pic.twitter.com/dpyenEceHr— Greg Auman (@gregauman) October 21, 2021
Wednesday update: Rob Gronkowski wasn’t seen at the start of practice, per Greg Auman. Gronkowski has a chance to play this week against the Bears, but he’ll need to get some practice time in.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers returned to the practice field on Tuesday for a walkthrough after some time off following last week’s Thursday Night Football. Tight end Rob Gronkowski was not present for the walkthrough, according to Greg Auman. After the walkthrough, head coach Bruce Arians told the media he’s “hopeful” on Gronk’s availability.
The Bucs will provide their first practice report on Wednesday for Sunday’s Week 7 matchup with the Bears. Gronkowski was listed as a DNP all three sessions last week due to the rib injury he suffered in Week 3.
Fantasy football implications
Cameron Brate was getting work early in the year, but O.J. Howard emerged last week with his biggest performance in several years. He was targeted seven times and caught six passes for 49 yards and a touchdown in the Bucs 28-22 win over the Eagles. Howard was second on the team in targets behind Antonio Brown.
The Bears have given up the sixth fewest fantasy points to tight ends this season. There’s a lot of mouths to feed in Tampa, but considering how much Brady looked to Gronk, there could be some opportunities for more Howard work if Gronk remains sidelined. Howard is more of a TE2, but in a week that will see six teams on bye, he’s a potential spot start with a little bit of upside.