Austin Hooper Injury Update Could Save Rest-of-Season Fantasy Outlook With Potential Week 12 Return

Jason Schandl
Philadelphia Eagles v Atlanta Falcons
Philadelphia Eagles v Atlanta Falcons / Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Austin Hooper was originally expected to miss about a month after spraining his MCL, but his injury recovery appears to be ahead of schedule.

After just one week on the shelf, he's already trending toward a possible Week 12 return against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Hooper's production this season has been so good that his 154.8 PPR fantasy points through nine games are still the second-most for any tight end. The only player ahead of him is Travis Kelce, who has 170.3 but has played 11 games. That gives Hooper 17.2 per game (making him the TE1), while Kelce is second in that measure with 15.5.

Returning so quickly does leave some room for concern that Hooper may not handle a full workload if he does play in Week 12, but he's been good enough (and the tight end position is thin enough) that he's still offer plenty of fantasy value.

If he is limited, it would likely be blocking snaps he misses out on anyway, as his 7.4 targets, 6.2 receptions and 67.6 yards per game have made him a crucial part of the Falcons' passing attack in 2019.

His return could also be a slight ding to Calvin Ridley's fantasy outlook. Ridley notched eight targets with Hooper out in Week 11, accounting for 26 percent of the Falcons' total. That's up from a 15 percent share over the first 10 weeks.

With so much uncertainty around his status, he still doesn't crack the top-12 tight ends in our Week 12 PPR fantasy football rankings. If he does get back on the practice field and is set to play this week, however, he can safely be considered a top-five fantasy TE for the week.

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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.