Through the first 13 weeks of the 2021 NFL season, T.J. Hockenson was the No. 3 tight end in PPR-scoring fantasy football leagues and the focal point of the Detroit Lions' offense. A left thumb injury ended his campaign right there, though. He finished as the No. 15 TE in fantasy football overall.
With that being the case, it's no surprise to see Hockenson smack dab in the middle of TE1 territory in fantasy football rankings this year. His average draft position (ADP) has him going as the seventh tight end off the board and as an early sixth-round selection.
T.J. Hockenson Fantasy Football Outlook
There's going to be fantasy managers that overlook T.J. Hockenson in drafts this fall because all they can remember is how he got injured at the most important time of the season. That would be an irresponsible move, though. Hockenson has posted back-to-back TE7 finishes in terms of fantasy points per game. He also scored double-digit PPR fantasy points in eight of his 12 games played in 2021.
People are going to cite the additions of wide receiver Jameson Williams and D.J. Chark as a reason to avoid selecting Hockenson. Yes, there are more weapons in Detroit than in year's past. However, more weapons means more attention will need to be used by opposing defenses at the WR position. Hockenson is going to see a ton of one-on-one matchups against players he can exploit with his size and strength. Keep in mind the Iowa product has improved his catch percentage with each passing season and saw a whopping 7.0 targets per game in 2021. The ball is going to be thrown his way.
While playing in a low-scoring Lions offense limits Hockenson's upside, it also benefits him in a way. The 25-year-old has ranked 11th in yards run per route in each of the past two seasons on a team that is constantly down on the scoreboard. Head coach Dan Campbell wants to play at a faster pace in 2022 and a faster pace means more plays. More plays means more targets for Hockenson. It's as simple as that. This is a TE1 that isn't even being drafted until the sixth or seventh round. Talk about a steal.
T.J. Hockenson Injury Update
As mentioned above, Hockenson was sideline for the final five weeks of the 2021 regular season with a left thumb injury. He ended up having surgery in the middle of December and was given a rehab timeline that lined up with the team's offseason training program. A full recovery was expected.
Flash forward and Hockenson has been a full participant for Detroit in training camp. There's been little to no updates on the fourth-year TE, which is actually a good thing. The thumb is being seen as a non-issue and the team even picked up Hockenson's fifth-year option during the offseason.
T.J. Hockenson Projections
Projections from the NFL odds on FanDuel Sportsbook expect Hockenson to put together a substantial output in 2022. He's one of seven tight ends listed in the odds to lead the NFL in receiving yards, checking in at +15000. It's a bit of a surprise given Hockenson failed to cross the 750-yard mark in each of his previous three seasons. He is not listed when it comes to odds to lead the NFL in receiving touchdowns, though. When taking Hockenson's averages over the last two years into account (4.6 receptions per game, 10.2-yard average), he has the potential to set career-high marks in 2022 across a full 17-game season.
Is T.J. Hockenson a Good Fantasy Football Pick?
When it comes down to it, is Hockenson someone to target in the middle rounds? For sure, especially for managers not wanting to spend an early draft pick on someone like Travis Kelce or Mark Andrews. Hockenson's the No. 6 tight end in The Duel's PPR fantasy football rankings.
In the best case scenario, Hockenson cracks the top-five and finishes as one of the biggest draft steals of the year. If he stays healthy, the worst case scenario still lines up to be a TE1 finish. That same thing cannot be said about the TEs ranked just below him. Targeting Hockenson is a smart move.
New users earn an instant FREE entry when you sign up for FanDuel DFS! Sign Up Now!
Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. 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.