NFL Quick Hits: Gronk, Reed leave fantasy void at TE

You’ve heard the news about Rob Gronkowski, who will undergo back surgery today and miss the remainder of the season. Ryan Fowler suggested some Gronk fantasy replacement options in this article, and I’d like to add Houston’s C.J. Fiedorowicz (owned in 17 percent of leagues) to the mix. Fiedorowicz has caught 41 passes over his last eight games, and three of his next four opponents – Packers in Week 13, Colts in Week 14, Bengals in Week 16 – rank among the bottom eight in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. San Francisco’s Vance McDonald (14.7 percent owned) wouldn’t be a terrible idea, while Pittsburgh’s Ladarius Green (11.5 percent owned) is the upside play, as Mike Tomlin hinted earlier this week that a bigger role is coming.

The tight end misery doesn’t end with Gronk, as Redskins TE Jordan Reed (shoulder) hasn’t practiced this week and appears unlikely to play Sunday, even if head coach Jay Gruden won’t say so. Vernon Davis (17.3 percent owned) becomes my TE8 in the rankings as a result. Also of note: During Reed’s last absence in Weeks 6-7, DeSean Jackson led the Redskins’ receiving corps with 17 targets, while Pierre Garcon had 16, Jamison Crowder 13 and Davis 10.

In other news …

Saints RB Mark Ingram missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday due to a toe injury, and looks shaky for Sunday. If Ingram can’t go, Tim Hightower will be a borderline top-12 running back for the week. When Ingram was banished to the bench for most of the Saints’ Week 8 win over the Seahawks, Hightower touched the ball 27 times.

Bills WR Sammy Watkins was "very limited" in Thursday’s practice, according to Chris Brown of Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn noted that Watkins is still playing with a broken foot, and added that “I don’t know if he’s going to play one play or 20 plays.” Watkins appears waaaaaaaay too risky to trust with a fantasy start.

Considering any Panthers for Week 13? Think again, as their offensive line has suffered injury devastation. Their lineup will likely include starting RT Mike Remmers at LT; LG Andrew Norwell at his usual spot; third-string C Tyler Larsen; second-string RG Chris Scott; and starting RG Trai Turner at RT. Look to avoid all Panthers except Greg Olsen, and light a candle for Cam Newton if you get a chance.

Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley called RBs Chris Ivory (hamstring) and T.J. Yeldon (ankle) day-to-day, but Ivory hasn’t practiced and has a much shakier status. Yeldon’s value would increase if Ivory is out, but he didn’t produce much when Ivory was absent in Weeks 1-2 (40 touches, 107 yards from scrimmage).

Back to the Gronk news: Thanks to the handy game splits app at, here’s how Tom Brady has performed without Gronk over the last five seasons. The data isn’t catastrophic, but Brady’s value takes a hit.

Colts WR T.Y. Hilton didn’t practice Thursday, but the team’s website notes that it was probably a rest day. Hilton should be good to go against the Jets.

Chargers WR Tyrell Williams (torn labrum) didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday, but hinted that he’ll play through the injury. I’ve got Williams at WR15, but if he can’t go, bump Dontrelle Inman up to about WR30, and expect busier days from TEs Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates. I’d like to suggest Travis Benjamin, but he appears to be playing with a nagging knee injury.

Eagles RB Ryan Mathews (knee) still isn’t practicing. Who’s ready to give Wendell Smallwood another chance after his disappointing Week 12 perfomance? The Bengals are 28th vs. the run, which helps.

According to the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, the Dolphins are "preparing to play Sunday’s pivotal game against the Baltimore Ravens without WR DeVante Parker," who injured his back last week. If you want to dig deep in DFS, the Sun Sentinel reports that Leonte Carroo is likely to replace Parker in the lineup.

We should know later Friday if Trevor Siemian (foot) will be available for the Broncos, or if rookie Paxton Lynch will replace him for Sunday’s game at Jacksonville. Siemian didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday.

Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson (knee) was limited in Thursday’s practice, while S Tyrann Mathieu (shoulder) sat out after being limited on Wednesday. Peterson reportedly suffered the “very painful” injury against the Falcons, and while he’ll probably play, he might not be his usual shutdown self against the Redskins. That’s probably not too helpful as actionable fantasy intelligence, but I won’t be fading Kirk Cousins too much.

Good luck in Week 13!


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