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Jordan Reed is the only defense against Rob Gronkowski

Jordan Reed’s ADP is falling steadily as news of his injured foot frightens fainthearted fantasy drafters. With Reed dropping to the middle of the 5th round, the time to buy is nigh!

NFL: Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

‘The public’ is scared about Jordan Reed.

Even someone prone to take on more risk in their drafts must admit, those fears have merit. Reed is reportedly suffering from a mysterious foot injury. Is it turf toe? Is something broken? At this point, we just don’t know.

The great writer (and I assume fantastic doctor...) Dr. Jene Bramel (@JeneBramel) recently hosted a Periscope where he talked about Reed’s injury at length. To paraphrase (likely poorly, watch the video) the good Doctor’s sentiment: with injuries like this, we’re looking at a player who may need surgery, or a guy who has a nagging injury all year, or a player who may recover and play. This lack of clarity on the injury gives us this great buy low situation.

For the optimists among us, there is hope in DC.

Reed is reportedly test driving a new orthotic (read: in-shoe-foot-pillow) and cleats to alleviate the foot pain. We know Reed has the talent to post top (or should we say top-2?) fantasy tight end numbers. He comes in to the year firmly entrenched as Kirk Cousins go-to target, and with the loss of Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, Washington has abundant targets up for grabs. The real separation for Reed over your other options, it’s all about those TDs. Reed had a pair of two touchdown games in 2016.

The elephant in the room here is Travis Kelce. ‘Baby Gronk’ may have graduated to just ‘Kelce’ after his amazing 2016. Kelce lead tight ends in PPR fantasy points and receiving yards last year. Kelce’s 85 receptions put him only one behind the league leader, Dennis Pitta, who caught 86 passes Joe Check-Down in Baltimore.

The rub with Kelce is he plays in an Andy Reid offense (see: running backs get a lot of touchdowns) and he plays with Alex Smith. Smith threw for 18, 20, and 15 touchdowns in the past three seasons in Kansas City. Sure, Jeremy Maclin is no longer with the Chiefs, but Maclin only had two touchdowns in 2016. Maclin’s absence could open up more receptions or yards, but where are the TDs coming from?

In the runup to our drafts, we seem to sometimes forget Fantasy Football is a week to week endeavor. How many points someone accumulates throughout the year is not always a great data point for how valuable a fantasy asset a player is (I’m looking at you Frank Gore and Jason Witten). If you take Reed and he misses a few games, you still get to slot someone else into that TE position. With the relative depth at tight end, you can take that home-run cut and pick Reed in the fifth, then back him up by spending a late pick on a high-potential guy like Jack Doyle (currently 13th TE off the board) or Austin Hooper (TE15)

So if you miss out on Gronk in the second, take a chance on the only guy who can match up with him on any given week. Draft Jordan Reed.