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Tampa Bay re-signs Rob Gronkowski: Fantasy football fallout for 2021

As expected, Rob Gronkowski returns to the Buccaneers for another fiesta with Tom Brady and company.

ampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrates during the third quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium.  Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After a reported brief flirtation with the Buffalo Bills, tight end Rob Gronkowski signed on for another season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The move keeps the Bucs’ offensive core together from 2020’s Super Bowl run and gives Gronk another year with future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady.

Rob Gronkowski signing: Fantasy football impact

As with Gronkowski’s original decision to come out of retirement a year ago to join Brady in Florida, Gronk’s fantasy outlook places him as a low-end starter with middle-of-the-pack upside. Gronk finished eighth in scoring among tight ends last season in both standard and PPR formats, catching 45 passes for 623 yards and seven touchdowns. He put up those numbers while starting all 16 games, a feat Gronkowski had not accomplished since his second year in the league. Given the likelihood of injury and his age (32 in May), that volume should take a hit in 2021.

And like last year, the Buccaneers have other capable tight ends in the event Gronkowski misses time. Cameron Brate remains a steady, if unspectacular, receiving option while O.J. Howard will enter his umpteenth season as a post-hype sleeper. The Buccaneers have also brought back Chris Godwin who, if healthy after playing through a broken thumb in 2020, could also eat into Gronk’s target share.

All of which puts Gronk in a less-than-advantageous position from a fantasy perspective. He can still deliver a solid week here and there, but the competition for passes and his own age and body present additional hurdles for the tight end to clear. Even at an annually undermanned position, that should concern fantasy managers.