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T.J. Hockenson Has Legitimate TE1 Upside in 2019 Fantasy Football Season

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - APRIL 25: T.J. Hockenson of Iowa reacts after being chosen #8 overall by the Detroit Lions during the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft on April 25, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Tight ends generally don't perform well 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.

Despite this trend, T.J. Hockenson is apparently turning heads at training camp with the Detroit Lions, and could be in for a breakout season.

The No. 8 pick in the NFL Draft has a chance to immediately establish himself as the Lions' starter at tight end, especially if he keeps this up. Hockenson's average draft position (ADP) currently has him at TE12 (121st overall), going right behind low-ceiling options like Vance McDonald and Austin Hooper.

Unlike those two, Hockenson is a physical freak, standing 6' 5" and weighing in at 250 pounds. Despite the size, Hockenson still managed to run a 4.70 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. The Iowa product has even drawn early comparisons to Rob Gronkowski.

Hockenson was very productive during his time at Iowa, racking up 760 yards and seven total TDs last year. He certainly has a chance to match those totals in 2019, as he projects as an ideal fit in Detroit's offense.

He'll be catching passes from Matthew Stafford, and playing alongside established WRs like Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones. Those two excel making explosive, downfield plays, and that could leave Hockenson to soak up targets over the middle and on intermediate routes.

While tight ends have historically struggled to produce as rookies, Hockenson has both the talent and opportunity to buck this trend. Given his current ADP, Hockenson is absolutely worth a late-round gamble this season.

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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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