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Betting/Fantasy Impact: Rob Gronkowski Retires

Analyzing the betting and fantasy ramifications of Rob Gronkowski’s second retirement, this time after two seasons with the Buccaneers.

Rob Gronkowski officially retired (again) Tuesday.

Gronkwoski, one of the top tight ends of all time, retires with four Super Bowl rings, 9,286 yards and 92 touchdowns across 11 seasons.

He spent nine seasons and won three titles with the Patriots, and—for now-played his final two seasons and captured one ring with Buccaneers.

The 33-year-old tight end was a fantasy football gem, averaging 134 fantasy points per season during his  his career. Gronkwoski finished as the TE3 for 2021 in standard scoring leagues in his final season, catching six touchdowns and tallying 803 yards.

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FILE - Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrates his touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half of an NFL wild-card football game Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. Four-time All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement again, Tuesday, June 21, 2022.

Gronkowski was a major piece of the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl LV championship team, catching two of Tom Brady’s three touchdowns for 67 yards to help bring the second-ever Lombardi Trophy to Tampa Bay. Without Gronkowki, Tom Brady will have to rely more on the duo of superstar receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.

Evans is a continually underrated player. The 28-year-old wideout has never finished an NFL season with less than 1,001 receiving yards.

Despite that he only received a 16% target share in 2021, Evans finished as the WR9 in PPR leagues and averaged 16.9 fantasy points per game. He also set a new career-high for touchdowns with 14 to go along with his 74 catches for 1,035 yards.

Godwin suffered a season-ending knee injury last season and his timeline for return is unclear, though rumor has it he is ahead of schedule. The Bucs signed Godwin to a hefty contract despite that he likely will miss the beginning of the season, so expect Godwin to be heavily involved once he is back. Godwin finished 2021 as the WR8 in PPR leagues on a points per game basis (17.3).

Russell Gage should also be looked at in the slot. While seeing a 29% target share in Atlanta last season, Gage averaged 11.7 yards per reception. He also can play outside while the Bucs wait for Godwin to return, as 50% of his routes last year were run out wide. Gage is currently going off the board at pick 122 in fantasy drafts.

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Cameron Brate could also finally see more action. When given an opportunity, Brate has a knack for finding the end zone.

But perhaps the player that gets the biggest bump—and is currently the most underrated—is Leonard Fournette.

Brady and Fournette have clearly developed a chemistry, so much so that Tampa Bay just signed him to a three-year deal worth up to $24 million. Before his Week 15 injury, Fournette led all running backs in receptions with 62, and he immediately returned to his bell cow role in his return in the the postseason against the Rams, with 107 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns in the Bucs’ 30-27 home loss.

Fournette finished the season as the RB6 in PPR leagues, with the fourth-most fantasy points per game at the position.

Oh, and one more thing…. I wouldn’t be surprised about this either:

The Buccaneers are the current NFC South favorites at -350 odds at SI Sportsbook.

Tampa Bay had 60-1 odds to win the Super Bowl in 2023 before Brady returned and now sit with the second-best odds at +700, behind only the Bills (+650). Tampa’s over/under is 11.5 at SI Sportsbook with -125 odds for the over.

With or without Gronkwoski, this stacked team looks like it’s a winner.

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