By Staff Writer John Belaska
When Rob Gronkowski plays, he is the best tight end in the league. The only problem is he has not played as much as fantasy owners would like in the past couple years. After setting a new record for the most single season touchdowns by a tight end in 2011, Gronk has gotten injured at some point in the last three seasons. He suffered a high ankle sprain in the 2011 post season. Then he broke his arm in 2012. He underwent back surgery during the 2013 preseason and was not able to play until October. Then he only played a month before tearing his ACL and MCL. The knee injuries are scary. Tearing an ACL that late in the season must make a fantasy owner cautious heading into the next season.
Ben Tate is one of those high risk high reward running backs going into the 2014 season. After being selected in the second round of the 2010 draft, he was forced to miss the entire season due to breaking his ankle in training camp. He was used sparingly the next two year and only appeared in 11 games in 2012 due to hamstring problems. He finally got his chance to show the world what he could do as a lead back in 2013. He did pretty well which is why he is set to become the workhorse in Cleveland this, but he did end the season on the IR. His history of injuries is a warning sign. What makes Tate even riskier is the fact that he has never been used as much as he is going to be used in 2014.
Steven Jackson is going to turn 31 before the start of the 2014 season. Everybody knows running backs tend to drop off in their thirty’s, but that it not the only reason to worry about Jackson. Jackson is a bruiser back. He makes his living running between the tackles and wearing down the interior of the defense. This would not be much of a concern if the Falcons had a decent offensive line. Unfortunately they do not. His running style and the offensive line should be a big time red flags for fantasy owners looking to steer clear of the injury bug.
There is a lot of hype in the fantasy world about Johnny Manziel. The 22nd overall draft pick is expected to take over the Browns’ starting job at some point during the season. The problem with Maniel is his playing style. He is famous for running around and extending the play with his legs. Remember how poorly this worked out for RGIII last year? Well, Johnny football is 5’11” and 210 pounds. He is terribly undersized for this style of play at the professional level. He is always just one big hit away from landing on the IR.
Wes Welker was a stud during the first half of the 2013 season. He caught eight touchdowns in the first ten games of the season. Then in week twelve he suffered a concussion. Welker is a tough guy. He went out and played the next week, but another hit to the head caused him to miss time. He is now 33 years old. His body is not getting any stronger and he is still playing the same way he always had. Welker is still going across the middle and taking some serious hits. This is only going to catch up with him as his body gets older and starts to wear down from abuse.