In The Blitz, RotoViz writers react to the latest news and help you place it within the context of our 2020 research and recommendations.
Tight ends are always an exciting position to attack in both redraft and dynasty leagues. On the one hand, you have the clear, upper-elite tier that is start-worthy no matter what. These include players like Travis Kelce and George Kittle. They post stat lines like wide receivers. Then you have a large group of middling options that don’t necessarily payback on the investment of draft capital unless you catch a guy that pops. Finally, you have streamable options that require a bit of homework and foresight to hit each week.
Once someone has a startable option at tight end, they tend to hold onto that player very tightly. Fantasy managers might be seeing one young player emerge and creep into the “must start” category in his second season. Through Week 8, T.J. Hockenson is quietly putting together an impressive year.
Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson caught seven passes for 65 yards in the Lions 41-21 loss to the Colts in Week 8. Hockenson led the team with 10 targets in another active performance. Hockenson’s fantasy value is anchored by whether he can score a touchdown but each week he continues to post 4-to-7 receptions a game. The Lions offense will try and get back on track next week against the Vikings in Week 9.
From Rookie Bust To Sophomore Breakout
Patience is something that most fantasy managers will admit they could use more of. I’ve mentioned in previous pieces that we tend to want early production out of our rookie draft picks and that if they don’t produce, we tend to move on in search of the next shiny toy. However, the tight end position is tricky to master at the professional level, and patience is crucial. Last season, Hockenson disappointed fantasy managers during his injury-plagued rookie season.
An early first-round draft selection out of Iowa, Hockenson was a smash selection in tight end premium rookie drafts last season. Unfortunately, injuries hampered his production after an explosive Week 1 performance. An athletic marvel, he posted incredible numbers at the combine that fantasy managers have seen translate to the field.
Now almost halfway through the 2020 season, Hockenson is quietly reminding everyone of his exceptional upside. I explored him as a breakout potential this past offseason and he continues to work his way into the “must start” category of tight ends.
How To Play It Moving Forward
Through seven games played, Hockenson has scored double-digit fantasy points five times and has never dropped below nine points. That might not seem all that impressive, but it’s a safe floor as far as tight ends are concerned. Heading into Week 8 (where he scored 13.5 PPR), he was the TE8 and was in the top 10 in receptions, receiving yards, touchdowns, points/game, and expected points/game.
Hockenson has a reasonably neutral schedule for the remainder of this season. Still, the sudden disappearance of Marvin Jones on most weeks, coupled with the potential injury to Kenny Golladay, could make him even more interesting down the stretch. He could be worth an add if you want to lock down the tight end position moving forward, and he most certainly is worth a potential “buy high” in dynasty leagues as he continues to learn and grow at the next level.