The NFL regular season might be 16 games long but the fantasy football season is more like 12.
With fantasy football in full swing after three weeks of matchups, it’s time to check in on your favorite fantasy relevant (or not so relevant) former Arizona Wildcats in the NFL (veterans).
TE Rob Gronkowski (New England Patriots)
2012 stats: 14 catches (18 targets), 156 yards, 2 TDs
- Week 1 – 6 catches, 60 yards, TD
- Week 2 – 6 catches, 75 yards, TD
- Week 3 – 2 catches, 21 yards
Yes Gronkowski’s numbers are down from 2011.
Not really a surprise considering he had the best season in NFL receiving history for a tight end…but still a bit disappointing for anyone who drafted him in the first few rounds this year.
Barely a top 10 TE so far in the early going, New England’s new look rushing attack, sloppy pass blocking and loss of fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez has limited Gronk’s catches, yards and opportunities compared to the monster numbers he put up a year ago, but it’s not time to panic and sell low just yet.
Almost a year ago, after three weeks of filling up the box score to begin the season, Gronk posted un-Gronk-like numbers (1 catch for 15 yards) in week four.
He wouldn’t catch fewer than four passes in a game the rest of the year…pulling in six or more grabs in seven of the 12 remaining games.
Good news for a guy with a career average catch-to-touchdown ratio of 5/1.
Gronk’s numbers may fluxuate, especially until Hernandez returns in a few weeks to keep defenses honest, but his reputation as one of the most targeted players in the red zone should be safe, which still gives Gronk plenty of upside going forward.
WR Mike Thomas (Jacksonville Jaguars)
2012 stats: 2 catches (7 targets), 20 yards / 1 carry, -1 yard
- Week 1 – 1 carry, -1 yard
- Week 2 – 1 catch, 12 yards
- Week 3 – 1 catch, 8 yards
Not that he was on your team anyway but if week one was any indication of his future in Jacksonville you can take him off your watch list as well.
Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert threw the ball 39 times, targeting Thomas just once.
Thomas led the team in catches and yards during the preseason, and most of the last two years, but it apparently wasn’t enough to overcome a sloppy training camp under a new coaching staff.
With the additions of Laurent Robinson through free agency and Justin Blackmon via the draft, and the emergency of Cecil Shorts, who beat Thomas out for the No. 3 spot during the offseason, it appears his services may no longer be needed in Jacksonville.
The speedy Shorts has shined in weeks one and three, while Robison has established himself as the clear No.1 after three games with his new team.
Between a variety of pass catching options and MJD in the backfield, there aren’t enough touches to go around.
Targeted just seven times in three games, Thomas has taken a backseat in the offense to just about everyone including the tight end and fullback.
He still has punt return value and points per reception potential but other than that…there isn’t much reason to consider Thomas…until he demands a trade.
K Nick Folk (New York Jets)
2012 stats: 6/6 FGs (long of 39), 9/9 XPs
- Week 1 – 2/2 FGs (25, 39), 6 XPs
- Week 2 – 1/1 FGs (38), 1 XP
- Week 3 – 3/3 FGs (33, 20, 33), 2 XPs
With the inconsistency of the Jets’ offense, the one thing you can count on is Folk to get a few looks.
Averaging nine points per week, 7 of the top 10 owned kickers on ESPN have fewer points than Folk who is less than 4% owned.
A perfect six for six so far this season, with a game winner already under his belt, Folk appears to be on his way back to what he once was with Dallas early in his career.
He combined to connect on 92 percent of his attempts in 2007 and 2008…just 72 percent in three years since.
Although Folk is one of only two kickers in the top 30 not to attempt a field goal over 40 yards yet…and you do get points for longer makes…don’t let that detour you from upgrading your kicker.
With a career-long of 56, Folk has attempted at least 11 field goals from 40 yards or more each of his five seasons in the NFL.
The Jets aren’t afraid to run him out there either.
Folk has attempted more attempts (11) from 50-plus in two years with the Jets, than he did in three years with the Cowboys (9).