Hunter Henry Fantasy Outlook & Value 2020

After another injury scare for the fourth consecutive season, Hunter Henry surprised fantasy owners by pulling off an astonishing comeback. After suffering another knee injury early in the season, many analysts believed Henry would be inactive for the rest of the year. Astonishingly, Henry returned in week six and bounced back as a top ten fantasy tight end. Although, he could have played even better if the Chargers offense wasn’t a discombobulated mess during the latter half of the year. However, with Tyrod Taylor penciled to be the new LA Chargers’ starting QB, Henry’s 2020 season could look drastically different than his 2019 season.

2019 Recap

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556525150.212.1

Hunter HenryLast year, Hunter Henry increased his receiving yardage for the third straight season he’s played in. In 2019, Henry hauled in 55 receptions on 76 targets for 652 receiving yards, and five touchdowns. In PPR leagues, he averaged 12.1 fantasy points per game in 12 games for a total of 150.2 fantasy points. Consequently, Henry finished as the ninth-best fantasy tight end and flashed potential tier-one upside. However, his lengthy injury history, coupled with a crowded receiving corps, could prevent that upside from coming to fruition.

2020 Projections

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66.7839.15.6184.211.5

In 2020, Hunter Henry projects to haul in 66.7 receptions for 839.1 receiving yards and 5.6 receiving touchdowns. As a result, he forecasts to be the seventh-best TE in fantasy football. This projection makes sense because Henry has quietly been one of the NFL’s most efficient tight ends who ranks in the top ten for yards and catches per game. Plus, Henry flashed high-end potential between Weeks six through eleven when he averaged approximately 16.3 fantasy points per game. If Henry could sustain this potential, he would be a high-end tier two TE with high upside.

ADP/Auction Value

ADP: 6.6
Auction Value: $11

Hunter Henry’s current ADP and auction value are each a fair value considering that he is a tier-two TE. He’s too injury prone to consider taking in early rounds, yet if he can play a full season, getting him in the mid-sixth round would be a steal. Plus, his auction price would be a fantastic fantasy bargain because he is inexpensive compared to guys like Zach Ertz and George Kittle. The only better bargain would be Darren Waller because he has a higher ceiling, but Waller will probably come off the board sooner than most tight ends.

Any fantasy owner who drafts Henry will need to pair him with another quality TE because of his injuries. Tight ends like Mark Andrews and Austin Hooper would be suitable complements because owners can draft them between the fifth and seventh rounds. Thus, these managers would mitigate the potential loss of Henry without having to sacrifice a high draft pick. Plus, if both of those tight ends excel, fantasy owners could trade one of them to address another hole on their fantasy team.

Floor

The biggest impediment to Hunter Henry’s fantasy production is his durability concerns because he has missed 28 games throughout his four-year career. Therefore, Henry is averaging nearly seven missed games per season, which is roughly half the season. This is very detrimental to fantasy teams because Henry’s potential absence could destroy a fantasy owner’s season. Therefore as suggested earlier, any prospective fantasy managers should complement Henry with another quality tight end.

Another issue with selecting Henry is that he is in a crowded receiving corps that includes Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Austin Ekeler. All of these players attract a high number of targets, which take opportunities away from Henry. As a result of Henry only recorded a 12.7% target share, which ranked fourth within the Chargers’ receiving corps in 2019. Furthermore, this low target share is far below other tier-two tight ends, and it will make it difficult for Hunter to maximize his snaps.

Ceiling

Despite missing four games, Henry tied for the seventh most TDs amongst all TEs. He also ranked in the top ten for red-zone targets amongst tight ends. These targets signal that Henry could be a red-zone beast and TD machine if he can remain on the field. If this happens, then Henry will be in a good position to rank as a borderline top-five TE, although his injury history will make this feat challenging.

Henry’s steady improvement over his career is another reason why he could be a high reward investment. Throughout every season he has played in, Henry has increased his receiving yardage and receptions despite his injuries. If Henry can finally stay on the field for a full season, he will be an integral member of the Chargers receiving corps.

Los Angeles Chargers Offense

Los Angeles ChargersWith Phillip Rivers gone, Tyrod Taylor will be the Chargers’ new signal-caller in 2020. During a press conference late February, Lynn noted that football is moving towards a guy who can win within the pocket, but also extend plays with his legs. This comment perfectly describes Tyrod Taylor’s upside as a passer because he keeps the ball out harm’s way when he’s in the pocket. Plus, he also excels as a dual-threat QB who can pick up yardage on the ground and throw accurately on the run.

Taylor’s conservative playing style as a QB who likes to check the ball to RBs will likely hinder Henry’s fantasy production in 2020. According to PFF analyst, Steve Palazzolo, Taylor had the eighth-highest percentage of check-downs over the past two seasons. If Henry does suffer another devastating injury next season, he would need to compensate with a high number of TDS. However, with Taylor at the helm, Henry is less likely to haul in explosive touchdowns. He will likely get at least five TDs if he does manage to play a full season, but it won’t be enough to make him an elite TE.

Strength of Schedule

Within the AFC West, Hunter Henry will have challenging matchups against his rivals. Last season the Broncos were one of the NFL’s better defenses at limiting TE fantasy points, especially in the red zone, where they only surrendered three TDs to TEs. The Chiefs also had a daunting secondary that ranked in the top 12 at defending the pass. Given that this secondary ranked in the top seven for pass defense efficiency, it could be difficult for Henry to excel against them. Although Henry should play well against the Raiders because their defense ranked in the bottom three for pass efficiency. Considering that they didn’t do much to bolster that unit, this could potentially be a cakewalk.

Outside of the division, the Patriots will be a tough matchup because they have a top-three secondary that includes Stephon Gillmore. Likewise, the Bills will also be a problematic AFC East game because Tre White and the Buffalo secondary allowed the fourth-least passing yards in 2020. However, the Buccaneers should be easy since they are more stout against the run than the pass.

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