Jake who? Not for long.
Jake Ballard, once a rising target of Eli Manning and the Giants, might emerge as a top ten TE this year. You may have a hard time finding him on draft boards this week because Ballard to date has been the invisible man. However, he is a name you are going to start hearing from everyone.
Ballard is a man to watch. He is a big red zone target, has soft hands, can catch the ball over the middle, and runs good routes. And he can block, which is a primary role in the NE run heavy offense. The bi-product of this ability to block is being on the field when Brady exploits defenses with his aerial attack.
Today, you can buy him for less than a penny in most drafts, and should be considered as a fantasy steal. Next week he will be a fantasy value. By August he will be one of the top 5-6 TE’s off the draft board.
Let’s not get lost in the grey matter here. The point is that Ballard is the heir apparent to the vacant gap left by the sacking of Hernandez, and he could take the pole position in possible times without Gronk (which practically is at least six games this season).
Even with Gronk in the game, Ballard can easily co-exist (like Hernandez) and be very valuable to your fantasy line up.