Last season both Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham were nothing short of electrifying. The two tight ends, week after week, just kept producing and putting up numbers that tight ends aren’t suppose to put up. In any other season in NFL history, Jimmy Graham’s season would be the talk of the town, however he was one-upped by Gronkowski, who as we all know broke the single-season TD record for tight ends. Despite their amazing performances last season, are the two ready to duplicate or even better last year’s performance? If so, who would you rather have on your team?
The simple and easy answer to the question is you can’t go wrong with either. While that may be true, I am not here to take the easy way out, and I will break down which tight end you should choose.
Starting with Gronkowski:
Last season stat line for Gronkowski read as such:
– 1,327 yards
-17 receiving touchdowns (1 rushing)
However, this off season the Patriots went out and grabbed Brandon Lloyd, Shiancoe, Ballard, and Fellis to already go alongside him and Hernandez. Some worry this will take away from Gronkowski’s production, and to a degree they might be onto something. Yet, the only way I foresee these additions effecting Gronkowski in any way, shape, or form is by lowering his receptions. Let’s face it, Brady likes to spread the ball around, however when he likes someone he will target them often. Now that there are numerous options, Gronkowski stands to lose a few targets here or there, but nothing dramatic. His red-zone targets, touchdowns, and yardage will not take a hit what so ever.
Now onto Jimmy Graham, who last year had:
-1,310 yards receiving
-11 receiving touchdowns
There is no denying Graham’s athleticism, as he was a basketball stand-out at Miami as well as a great football player. There is also no denying he has Drew Brees throwing him the ball, arguably the best in the game. Also, unlike the Patriots, the Saints lost one of their receivers in Meachem, allowing room for someone to take his targets. While Graham will not get all of those, mainly because Meachem was a deep-threat, it does allow Graham to grab some of those. Graham likely will put up similar numbers, if not identical ones to last season, as like Brady, Brees likes to spread it out.
In your standard scoring leagues I would go with: Gronkowski. He is just too much for anyone to cover. Brady will look for him every time in the red-zone, and he can also sneak down field for the big play. He is a touchdown scoring machine (28 TDs in his first two seasons) and will have another great year.
In you PPR leagues: no brainier, have to go with Graham. He gets too many targets and receptions, making him the ultimate tight end in PPR leagues.
While it may be true that you cannot go wrong with either selection, if you had to it should be Gronk all day in your standard leagues, while Graham is a no-brainier in your PPR leagues. Also it is wroth noting that both players, in multiple leagues i have drafted in, are gone by the 2-3 round at the latest. Hope this helps, and good luck.