Hello there, and welcome to your turkey-induced post Christmas coma. We’ve been stuffing ourselves with the edible good tidings and joy of the holiday season for the past three days, and we now return from that hiatus to a busy slate of fooseball news, notes, and other such ranting material.

A little later on this morning we’ll dig into the Pro Bowl rosters that were announced last night, going through the process of splitting hairs and debating the snubs. As always, the Pro Bowl’s ability to create intelligent discussion is infinitely more important than the game itself, which is the worst event on the entire North American sporting calendar this side of baseball’s home run derby.

But first, let’s slowly shake the holiday malaise by getting back in touch with our fantasy roots by leaning on a reliable source of worry: injury speculation.

For that, we turn to Rob Gronkowski.

I can’t quantify this, but the vast majority of you ended your fantasy seasons last week, a week before the reality season concludes. The reason for that is obvious and simple. There are a handful of teams with important fantasy players that are firmly secure in their playoff positions, and since they have nothing to play for those players (think Matt Ryan, Roddy White, and Julio Jones to name just a few) could either be benched or play in a limited capacity this week.

However, there’s still a small-ish but significant number of you who are chugging along through to the end. That mostly applies to anyone in a league where each playoff round (the semi finals and final) is two weeks long, ideally negating the element of one fluke boom week. We’ll move right along with you for the rest of this week, analyzing fantasy implications and complaining and rejoicing at our normal pace.

With that little public service announcement out of the way, back to Gronk. For owners of the Patriots tight end in leagues concluding this week, the strategy surrounding him hasn’t changed. Put anyone not named Rob Gronkowski into your starting lineup.

Gronkowski spoke to reporters yesterday for the first time since breaking his left forearm, an injury that’s led to his five-game absence. Although he’s been practicing since Dec. 14, the tight end still hasn’t been cleared for game action.

From ESPN Boston:

“Basically, the doctors know what they’re talking about. They’ll know when it’s safe and sound and ready to go,” Gronkowski said. “I’m going to trust in them, and when they say so, I’m anxious to get out there, so obviously I want to go.”

Head coach Bill Belichick spoke in typical Belichick language while addressing the injury, saying only that Gronkowski is moving along, but he’s not ready yet. Put those comments together and the likelihood of a Gronk sighting for the regular-season finale seems remote, especially since although the Pats have something to play for (a first-round bye), they don’t control their own destiny.

Keep looking elsewhere (or anywhere at all, really), as Gronk will either play sparingly, or not at all.

And now the links part of the links post…

  • A list of more players who likely won’t be, you know, playing this week due to games that have become meaningless. [Roto Arcade]
  • Need to stream a defense during your championship? Please note how much the Jets suck, and then plug in the Bills’ D. Yes, the Buffalo defense actually has fantasy value for one week. [The Fake Football]
  • More potentially awful injury news for you Week 17 championship-ers (?): Matt Forte sat out practice yesterday due to an ankle injury, but Bears head coach Lovie Smith said some encouraging words. [CBS]
  • The word “certainly” has been attached to the impending unemployment of Norv Turner, Andy Reid, and Ron Rivera. Of those three, Rivera would be the only mild surprise. [Joe Person on Twitter]
  • Jason Babin thinks the Eagles have a “socialistic system”. [Philadelphia Inquirer]