Rob Gronkowski likely will play in as many games as he’s missed this season, which is bad news for him, the New England Patriots and many fantasy football owners.

It was a no-brainer to pick the Patriots tight end early in fantasy drafts. When he does play, no other tight end can match the fantasy numbers he puts up. But there’s a chance he’s ran his last route of the 2016 season, as he will have back surgery and reportedly miss eight weeks.

That means there’s a chance he could come back in time to play in the Super Bowl if the Pats make it, but there appears to be no chance he’ll return in time to help you win a fantasy championship.

Of course, this is nothing new for Gronk fantasy owners. You drafted him knowing he probably would miss time at the beginning of the season with a hamstring injury, and he later missed the Pats’ game against the San Francisco 49ers with a reported lung injury. But this one is different. At least for those injuries, there was a return date in sight, and he rewarded fantasy owners with four straight weeks of huge production from Oct. 9 through Oct. 30.

But that won’t be the case this time. So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to look at the waiver wire and see who’s available, although with Gronk’s history, hopefully you already have a potential replacement on your bench.

Some potential players owned in less than 75 percent of leagues on Yahoo are Zach Ertz, Cameron Brate, Gary Barnidge (Week 13 bye), Julius Thomas and C.J. Fiedorowicz. Are they all great options? No. But they are better than nothing.

So it’s time to get creative if you’re a Gronk fantasy owner. Your season depends on it.

Thumbnail photo via Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports Images