As has been the case in recent seasons, the Patriots TE situation all comes down to the health of arguably the Patriots best player: Rob Gronkowski.
At this point all signs point toward Gronk being ready to go in Week 1, but that’s really not the important part of the equation for the Patriots. Can he withstand the rigors of an NFL season and put his injury problems behind him? If he can then the lack of depth at the position won’t be much of a concern. If he can’t, then Tom Brady will have to go without a reliable pass catching tight end for the second straight season.
Backup Michael Hoomanawanui is not a fantasy option. So, if Gronk misses the start of the season, or any time during the season, it will likely affect the Pats offense much like last year when more WRs saw the field a greater percentage of the time without Gronk. Julian Edelman appears to be the only safe fantasy WR right now, but we should learn more about the Pats offense in camp, the status of Gronk, as well as the fantasy roles of guys like Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins, Josh Boyce and Danny Amendola. This news certainly helps Gronk's value, though, as he's our number-three TE with an ADP of the fourth round.