It only took Austin Hooper a few years to blossom into one of the more valuable receiving tight ends in the NFL. His first two seasons were nothing special, but in 2018 he turned 88 targets into 660 yards, and then in 2019 he had 75 receptions, 787 yards and 6 touchdowns on 97 targets across 13 games.
Austin Hooper Cleveland Browns
He got rewarded for that 2019 breakout, as the Cleveland Browns have made him the highest-paid tight end in football. That deal is impressive, and he should bring a lot to the Cleveland offense, but it might not be great for his fantasy football value.
Austin Hooper Fantasy Football Value
Hooper, of course, had some competition for targets in Atlanta, playing alongside Julio Jones. The only other real threat for volume was Calvin Ridley, however, and Hooper finished second on the team in targets. The Falcons were also airing the ball out last year, leading the NFL with 684 pass attempts, while no other team had more than 633.
The Browns, in contrast, ranked 19th with 539 passing attempts. They also have a Julio-level wideout in Odell Beckham Jr. and another volume hog in Jarvis Landry.
Baker Mayfield could also prove to be a downgrade from Matt Ryan, at least for Hooper's fantasy outlook. Mayfield has a career average of 6.8 adjusted yards per pass attempt (AY/A). Ryan's AY/A marks over the last four years have been 10.1, 7.5, 8.7 and 7.1.
And with volume being harder to come by in Cleveland, Hooper is really going to have to rely on increased efficiency to return the same kind of fantasy value he was showing in his last season with the Falcons. New head coach Kevin Stefanski likes to work with two-tight end sets, and this contract indicates he plans to use Hooper extensively, but there are still a ton of mouths to feed in this offense.
That's not the kind of gamble you want to take in your fantasy draft. Volume trumps everything in fantasy football, and that's especially true here, where he may not even be getting an upgrade in efficiency with the QB switch.
Hooper finished third at the position with 14.8 PPR fantasy points per game in 2019, but early in the offseason it doesn't look like it's going to be wise to draft him that highly in 2020.
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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.