Austin Hooper Fantasy Outlook & Value 2020

For all the Falcons fans wondering when Austin Hooper would have his breakout season, he finally emerged in 2019. Unfortunately for those Atlanta fans, Hooper will be taking his talents to Cleveland to play with Baker Mayfield and the Browns. Despite playing in his fewest games during a season, he had career highs in targets, catches, yardage, and touchdowns. Furthermore, his fantasy season would have been elite if Hooper didn’t suffer devastatingly nagging injuries. Although his ability to succeed in spite of his injuries means that he has made the improvement necessary to remain a solid fantasy TE.

2019 Recap

PlayerTeamActual pickPlayer's draft slot
Luka DoncicPhoenix SunsDeandre AytonNo. 3 Dallas Mavericks
Trae YoungSacramento KingsMarvin Bagley IIINo. 5 Atlanta Hawks
Jaren Jackson Jr.Dallas MavericksLuka DoncicNo. 4 Memphis Grizzlies
Shai Gilgeous-AlexanderMemphis GrizzliesJaren Jackson Jr.No. 11 Los Angeles Clippers
Deandre AytonAtlanta HawksTrae YoungNo. 1 Phoenix Suns
Michael Porter Jr.Orlando MagicMohamed BambaNo. 14 Denver Nuggets
Mitchell RobinsonChicago BullsWendell Carter Jr.No. 36 New York Knicks
Collin SextonCleveland CavaliersCollin SextonNo. 8 Cleveland Cavaliers
Marvin Bagley IIINew York KnicksKevin KnoxNo. 2 Sacramento Kings
Wendell Carter Jr.Phoenix SunsMikal BridgesNo. 8 Chicago Bulls
Devonte GrahamLos Angeles ClippersShai Gilgeous-AlexanderNo. 34 Atlanta Hawks
Mikal BridgesCharlotte HornetsMiles BridgesNo. 10 Phoenix Suns
Duncan RobinsonLos Angeles ClippersJerome Robinson* Undrafted, signed w/ Miami Heat
Donte DiVincenzoDenver NuggetsMichael Porter Jr.No. 17 Milwaukee Bucks
Kendrick NunnWashington WizardsTroy Brown Jr.* Undrafted, signed w/ Miami Heat
Kevin HuerterPhiladelphia 76ersZhaire SmithNo. 19 Atlanta Hawks
Landry ShametMilwaukee BucksDonte DiVincenzoNo. 26 Philadelphia 76ers
Troy Brown Jr.San Antonio SpursLonnie WalkerNo. 15 Washington Wizards
Mohamed BambaAtlanta HawksKevin HuerterNo. 6 Orlando Magic
Miles BridgesMinnesota TimberwolvesJosh OkogieNo. 12 Charlotte Hornets
Jalen BrunsonUtah JazzGrayson AllenNo. 33 Dallas Mavericks
De'Anthony MeltonChicago BullsChandler HutchinsonNo. 46 Houston Rockets
Shake MiltonIndiana PacersAaron HolidayNo. 54 Dallas Mavericks
Josh OkogiePortland Trail BlazersAnfernee SimonsNo. 20 Minnesota Timberwolves
Aaron HolidayLos Angeles LakersMoritz WagnerNo. 23 Indiana Pacers
Bruce Brown Jr.Philadelphia 76ersLandry ShametNo. 42 Detroit Pistons
Anfernee SimonsBoston CelticsRobert WilliamNo. 24 Portland Trail Blazers
Gary Trent Jr.Golden State WarriorsJacob EvansNo. 37 Sacramento Kings
Robert Williams IIBrooklyn NetsDzanan MusaNo. 27 Boston Celtics
Lonnie WalkerAtlanta HawksOmari SpellmanNo. 18 San Antonio Spurs

austin hooperIn only 13 games last season, Austin Hooper had 97 targets, hauled in 75 catches, totaled 787 receiving yards, and scored six touchdowns. Consequently, Hooper generated 191.7 fantasy points with an average of 14.7 points per game. This production made Hooper the sixth-best TE in fantasy football, and thus the best tier-two TE in fantasy football. Astonishingly, he was able to achieve this success while only recording a 14.5% target share. This makes him an efficient tight end who maximizes his targets and receptions.

2020 Projections

RankSchool5 Star4 Star3 StarGrade
1DukeJalen Johnson, Jeremy Roach, DJ Steward, Mark WilliamsJaemyn Brakefield, Henry ColemanA+
2UNCCaleb Love, Day'Ron Sharpe, Walker KesslerR.J. Davis, Puff Johnson, Kerwin WaltonA+
3KentuckyBJ Boston, Terrence ClarkeIsaiah Jackson, Devin Askew, Lance Ware, Cam'Ron FletcherA
4LSUCameron ThomasMwani Wilkinson, Eric GainesJalen Cook, Bradley Ezewiro, Josh GrayA
5TennesseeJaden Springer, Keon JohnsonCorey WalkerMalachi WidemanA-
6ArizonaDalen Terry, Azuolas Tubelis, Kerr Kriisa, Daniel Batcho, Bennedict MathurinTibet GorenerA-
7MichiganHunter Dickinson, Zeb Jackson, Terrance WilliamsJace HowardB+
8AuburnSharife CooperJT ThorChris Moore, Justin Powell, Dylan CardwellB+
9GonzagaJalen SuggsJulian Strawther, Dominick HarrisB
10IndianaKhristian LanderJordan GeronimoAnthony Leal, Trey Galloway B

Heading into next season, Austin Hooper is projected to generate similar fantasy production. He is expected to be TE6, haul in 75.1 receptions for 787.2 receiving yards, and catch 6.2 TDs. Therefore, he would score 191 fantasy points with an average of 11.9 points. Although this is taking Hooper’s injury history into account, which underestimates his potential output. Barring an injury, Hooper will slightly increase his production and be a more reliable tight end.

ADP/Auction Value

ADP: 6.3
Auction Value: $13

Austin Hooper’s current ADP and auction value aren’t horrible, but they are not as great a bargain compared to other tier-two TEs. Taking him in the sixth round is satisfactory, but drafting Darren Waller is a better investment because he is in a less crowded receiving corps. Although if you haven’t selected a tight end by the middle of the seventh round, this is where Hooper will be the best investment. Moreover, Hooper is a reliable asset for risk-averse managers because he is more reliable than Hunter Henry and Evan Engram due to their injury histories. Furthermore, Hooper’s $13 auction price is better than Mark Andrews’ $15 because he has a higher ceiling.

Floor

Having to compete for targets with Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. will make it challenging for Hooper to reach his ceiling consistently. Given that Jarvis Landry has ranked top-ten in the NFL for targets over the last three seasons, Hooper will be extraordinarily limited by Landry’s presence. Although Hooper excelled playing with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, so this shouldn’t drop Hooper outside of top-ten TE status.

Kevin Stefanski’s emphasis on receiving RBs will also make it difficult for Hooper to produce. While he was the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings, Stefanski was able to maximize Dalvin Cook’s receiving skills. In fact, Cook had career highs in targets, receptions, and receiving yardage during his single season with Stefanski. This indicates that RBs, Kareem Hunt, and Nick Chubb, will poach away opportunities from Hooper.

Ceiling

Austin Hooper’s fantasy ceiling was up there with elite TEs like Zach Ertz and Darren Waller in 2019. Last season, he had the third-highest average fantasy points recorded by a tight end despite a significant knee injury. More importantly, his 19.8 point average between weeks three and eight signals that he has the potential to be a tier-one TE when healthy. If he can stay healthy, Hooper should still perform as a top-five TE because his efficiency only dropped off after suffering an MCL sprain.

Austin Hooper’s ceiling is most evident in the red-zone, where he was one target away from the league-high for red-zone targets. The fact that he was able to accomplish this despite his injury signals that he should be amongst the NFL’s best scoring TEs if he can stay healthy. This would lead him to have multiple explosive games because touchdown success is the best way to maximize fantasy value.

Cleveland Browns Offense

Cleveland BrownsAccording to Football Outsiders, the Browns offense was subpar in terms of turnovers per drive and drive success rate with Freddie Kitchens as their head coach. This shoddy production, coupled with lousy play-calling, caused most Browns pass-catchers to have disappointing fantasy seasons. However, with Kevin Stefanski taking over as the new Browns coach, the offense will look completely different.

For starters, Stefanski’s system will be more run-oriented than Kitchens’ was. This will benefit players like Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt because Stefanski emphasizes play-action to open up the run game. This emphasis will probably also assist Austin Hooper against man coverage, where he sometimes struggles to get separation.

Another benefit of Stefanski’s system is that he puts his tight ends in a position to maximize their red-zone targets. Despite ranking outside the top ten for red-zone targets, TE Kyle Rudolph tied for the fourth-most touchdowns amongst all TEs. This was best illustrated during the tail end of the 2019 season, where Rudolph was a highly coveted fantasy asset. Given that Hooper is a better receiver than Rudolph, he could have the most TE touchdowns with Stefanski as his coach.

Strength of Schedule

Within the AFC North, Austin Hooper will encounter some difficulty against Pittsburgh and Baltimore. The Steelers will most likely be his toughest contest because they are a stingy defense that ranked in the top-three for pass defense efficiency, according to football outsiders. Likewise, Baltimore will be a challenging matchup because Patrick Queen, Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, and Jimmy Smith make up a formidable defensive unit. Although, Cincinnati’s lackluster defensive efficiency signals that they will be a weaker defense.

Outside of the AFC North, the Cowboys, Redskins, and Titans project to be Hooper’s easiest competition because they ranked in the bottom ten in fantasy points vs. TEs. Dallas lost many talented secondary players such as CB Byron Jones and safety Jeff Heath, so their defense is likely to regress even more. Conversely, the Jets and Eagles could be two of his stricter games because they are stingy against TE fantasy points. Considering that the Jets were a top ten efficient defense, they will be one of the most surprisingly tough games.

2020 Fantasy Football Player Outlooks
I am a junior at Morehouse College, majoring in economics. I have experience as a data analyst at Pro Football Focus and as a football scouting intern at Fanteractive.com. I enjoy scouting and analyzing NCAAF and NFL games, especially quarterback and running back play.

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