Aaron Hernandez: Why Fantasy Owners Must Bench Patriots TE If Active

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistOctober 7, 2012

Sep 16, 2012; Foxboro, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez (81) is helped off the field by trainers during the first quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at Gillette Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

Aaron Hernandez of the New England Patriots may remain questionable for Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos, but fantasy owners should keep the tight end planted firmly on the bench for at least one more week.

For one, it's very unlikely he will play at all, according to Sal Paolantonio of ESPN (via Rotoworld):

ESPN's Sal Paolantonio reported on Sunday Countdown that Aaron Hernandez (ankle, questionable) is unlikely to play against the Broncos.

It's as we expected. "I'm being told he's probably not going to play today," Sal Pal reported. Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe also wrote on Twitter that Hernandez is unlikely to play.

Here's that tweet, for the record:

For him not to play RT @djmc25: what do u expect from hernandez today?

— Greg A. Bedard (@GregABedard) October 7, 2012

Even if he is active, however, you won't know until the early games have already commenced, since the Patriots and Broncos start at 4:25. Are you going to risk missing out on starting a tight end from one of the early games in the hopes that Hernandez plays in the later ones?

Generally speaking, it's risky starting a player who has remained questionable throughout the week and isn't expected to play by several prominent reporters. That generally indicates a limited role if the player actually does suit up.

Denver does give up an average of 10.2 fantasy points to tight ends per week in standard-scoring leagues, but the Broncos in general have been solid against the pass (12th in passing yards allowed).

And with plenty of other options for Tom Brady, it's not as though the New England passing attack needs to involve Hernandez to be proficient.

Besides, New England has shown a new inclination toward running the ball. The team's 144 rushing yards per week is eighth in the NFL, so they've become a much more balanced unit than perhaps was expected heading into the season.

The negatives far outweigh the positives in this game. While normally I would tell you to insert Hernandez back into your lineup immediately if he was active, this week it's too risky.

Remain patient, pencil him in as a Week 6 starter, and play it safe this week. You'll be glad you did.


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