This offseason I drafted as much of Hunter Henry as possible. I never could understand why his ADP was after Evan Engram. Many people suggested that Tyrod Taylor would drag his production down, but that was short-sighted. Henry is about to make the jump to an elite tight end option due in part to his talent, but also the inevitable move to Justin Herbert.
After being the 35th pick in the 2016 draft, injuries have plagued his career. Many have written Henry off as a true star, yet when he has played, he’s been very good.
But this is just the beginning. With Herbert called in to action in Week 2, Henry had a fantastic performance, earning a 26% target share. He was second on the Chargers in receptions (6) and yards (83).
Why This Time Is Different for Henry
One of the other reasons to be excited for Henry is Herbert’s use of the TE while at the University of Oregon. Before his season-ending injury in 2019, former Oregon TE Jacob Breeland was one of Herbert’s go-to targets.1 In fact, he was averaging 17.1 ppr points per game in college fantasy.
Herbert also loves the vertical passing game. Of the top three rookie quarterbacks, Herbert had a higher average target depth (10.37 yards) than Joe Burrows (10.27) and Tua Tagovailoa (9.99).
This carried over to Herbert’s first NFL start. Among TEs with at least 75 air yards last week, only Mo Alie-Cox, Tyler Eifert, and Mike Gesicki were targeted deeper than Henry, who increased his numbers substantially over Week 1. The RotoViz NFL Stat Explorer shows that for the season only four of his 16 targets have traveled less than five yards.
The Chargers upcoming schedule is not ideal for the TE, but they finish the season with many favorable matchups. Even if Taylor returns after recovering from his injury, Herbert should be back under center for the second half of the year. Using the RotoViz Strength of Schedule App we can see just how enticing the end-of-season production could be for Henry.
Tight End Strength of Schedule
If you are struggling at TE or are looking to move from a flash in the pan, pay what’s necessary to acquire Henry. This is even more true in dynasty. Those owners still have a window, but it’s closing fast. Henry is only 25 years old and his best is yet to come . . . and it will be starting soon.
- Breeland is now with the Ravens. (back)