T.J. Hockenson Fantasy Value Could Remain High Following Big Week 1 Workload

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 08: Tight end T.J. Hockenson #88 of the Detroit Lions celebrates his touchdown catch against the Arizona Cardinals with teammate Danny Amendola #80 during the second half of the NFL football game at State Farm Stadium on September 08, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Ralph Freso/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions faltered down the stretch against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1, but there was one undeniable bright spot. The T.J. Hockenson hype is real.

The rookie delivered in his NFL debut, turning his nine targets into six receptions, 131 yards and one touchdown. He was the highest scoring tight end in standard leagues, and it looks like he's going to be a huge part of the Lions' offense going forward.

In fact, Hockenson's 131 receiving yards are the most ever by a tight end making his NFL debut.

This blazing start is particularly impressive, considering tight ends generally struggle as rookies. Of the last six tight ends drafted in the first round of the NFL draft, none reached seven TDs as a rookie, and only one (Evan Engram) had at least 500 yards receiving.

Hockenson's usage in Week 1 shows he may continue to dominate throughout the season. Matthew Stafford clearly likes throwing to his new tight end, as Hockenson was tied for second on the Lions with nine targets, trailing only Danny Amendola (13).

However, he was facing an Arizona Cardinals defense that surrendered 26.6 points per game (PPG) in 2018, which ranked No. 26 in the NFL. The secondary was also without star cornerback Patrick Peterson, so it's tough to separate Hockenson's impressive production from an Arizona defense that once again projects to be near the bottom of the NFL.

If he's available in your league, he's absolutely worth an add on the waiver wire. While it's unlikely that he maintains this elite level of production, Hockenson's Week 1 performance proves he's going to be fantasy viable as a mid-tier TE1 going forward.

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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. 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.

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