The Lions second year tight end battled injuries in 2019 but looks to enter the 2020 season fully healthy.
After seeing the Lions invest a Top 10 pick on T.J. Hockenson during the 2019 NFL Draft, fantasy football managers jumped at the opportunity in grabbing Matthew Stafford’s new target. Hockenson’s first game in the pros amped up all that drafted him in fantasy as he caught six passes for 131 yards and a touchdown. Problem is he only scored one touchdown the rest of the year and never eclipsed 60 yards again. Hockenson did battle injuries as a rookie and missed four games at the end of the season. As we head into 2020, Hockenson’s currently being drafted as the 14th tight end which is slightly outside TE1 territory. AllLions editor John Maakaron and Sports Illustrated’s fantasy football analysts Frank Taddeo evaluate Hockenson’s fantasy football value for his second season.
Read the transcript from their analysis:
Bill Enright: Our Fantasy Football ADP analysis continues as we take a look at the Detroit Lions tight end, T.J. Hockenson here with me, AllLions editor, John Makkaron and also Sports Illustrated's fantasy analyst, Frank Taddeo. John, I'm going to start with you. No one knows the lines better. Where are we at with T.J. Hockenson's movement toward a hundred percent health for 2020?
John Makkaron: Look, the Detroit Lions invested heavily in T.J. Hockenson after his first game, he wowed everybody in Detroit. Everyone was expecting, OK, maybe we got Rob Gronkowski 2.0. but after a stellar first game against the Arizona Cardinals, he rarely produced and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell on Wednesday revealed that the tight end unit really was underutilized in two 2019. So moving forward, T.J. Hockenson is going to be heavily utilized in the Detroit Lions offense. Last Thanksgiving suffered a severe ankle injury, and it was revealed Wednesday that T.J. Hockenson is running routes, but he indeed is not one hundred percent healthy. So for fantasy football, you're going to want to take a chance on him only in later rounds because of the fact that. The Detroit Lions offense is going to utilize T.J. Hockenson with the returning Matthew Stafford. My opinion is that with an investment that high a number eight overall draft pick, T.J. Hockenson is going to be utilized heavily. The one issue you want to pay attention to, and it's a good problem for the Detroit Lions; there's a lot of mouths to feed in Detroit on offense with a new running back selection in D'Andre Swift and emerging Kenny Golladay. Hockenson may get lost in the shuffle, may give you pause if you're looking to select T.J. Hockenson in later rounds.
Bill Enright: Frank, based on the latest ADP data, Hockenson is outside the top twelve, coming off the boards as the 14th ranked tight end. Are you buying or selling at that price?
Frank Taddeo: I'm actually buying in that range, Bill. I'll be honest. I mean, obviously, as we just previously highlighted, I think he's going to be featured in this offense. He only was able to produce two touchdowns last year, but he was also only able to play in those 12 games. And this year, I think he has breakout potential for me as a fantasy player. I actually look to invest in the tight end position much, much later because I usually don't look to target it as it's not looking for the Travis Kelce's of the world or Zach Ertz. For me, I always look to target guys later on. In last year, that player was Darren Waller, who was way down on draft boards. And I think that there's a potential that right now, as he's obviously as we get closer, if we hear that Hockenson is getting healthier and the reports start to come out of Detroit, that he's going to be ready for the start of the season, then I think that this is a player that all fantasy owners are going to want to look to target, especially looking to come off the board among the 14 to 16 tight end. Overall, off the awful draft boards for me, Bill, that's a complete draft. I won't be passing it that value. But for me, I'm not going to be looking to invest very high on him. But I do believe that he has breakout potential in 2020.