Unless you purchased a certain car with a flux capacitor, that permeates time and space after accelerating to 88 mile per hour, off of Craigslist, reliving the past is not an option. But there are ways to recreate aspects of it. Press play on that special jam, and your past and present bodies, minds, and souls gyrate in unison. That old flame? You will never find the exact replica, but sometimes you can find someone eerily similar. When in a rut, often going back to the tried and true techniques brings clarity to a situation. That seems to be what Bill Belichick is doing in Patriots Land, as he drafted Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene in the 2020 NFL Draft, replicating the 2010 draft when he landed Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. Can Asiasi and Keene be fantasy viable?
From a physical standpoint, there are tons of similarities.
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Gronk truly was freaking beast, but check out Keene’s broad jump number!
We in the fantasy community usually dismiss rookie tight ends because of the difficulty of learning the position, but here’s what Hernandez and Gronkowski did their rookie seasons:
You may be saying meh and touchdowns are hard to project. Both are true, but Belichick drafted Asiasi and Keene for a purpose, for a plan. He’s going to put his players in the best position to succeed and formulate game plans that push the win probabilities in the Patriots favor. Bottom line, there are going to be plenty of opportunities to score touchdowns. With Hernandez and Gronkowski, going with 22 personnel provided the offense a tremendous advantage. If the defense matched up in base, the two tight ends would shred linebackers in the passing game. If defenses went to nickel packages, the run game would flourish since the tight ends would eat up the defensive backs. With Cam Newton projected to start at quarterback, defenses are truly in a bind now. They have to account for the running prowess of Cam, but also deal with the versatility of Asiasi and Keene.
From a fantasy perspective, the above numbers of Hernandez’s and Gronk’s rookie season don’t seem draftable, but let me break it, break it down. In PPR leagues, Hernandez scored 142 points, while Gronk scored 156.60, good for 14th and 11th among tight ends that season. Gronk was drafted as the 19th tight end and 154th overall player that season. Aaron Hernandez wasn’t drafted in standard 12-team leagues. Let’s use 150 PPR points as a baseline. Here’s where that number would’ve placed in subsequent seasons:
According to NFFC ADP from 81 to 8/28, Asiasi is being selected as the 284th overall player and 48th tight end, while Dalton Keene is going at 291st overall and 58th tight end. They are free and both have tons of upside. It’s not like the Patriots have a formidable wide receiver group.
Now, when Belichick speaks, we rarely listen because he doesn’t divulge much. Actions speak louder than words anyways, and it’s apparent what his plan is because he went and brought an oldie but goodie back.