Why T.J. Hockenson Is My TE3 And Why He Should Be Considered With Kittle And Waller
Every year in fantasy football there is a player who executes on their potential and busts through the roof, and every year the fantasy football community asks “how did we not see that coming?” From Stefon Diggs last year to Michael Thomas in 2019, all signs pointed to them being elite before the season even started but most of us refused to buy in. I am writing this so that we can hopefully avoid mistakes like these once again in 2021. Who do I think will be that player this year? None other than the Detroit Lions very own tight end: T.J. Hockenson.
T.J. Hockenson is a name that is not being talked about nearly as much as he should be coming into the 2021 fantasy football season. Coming off his first pro bowl season in 2020, Hockenson finished with 101 targets to go along with a stat line of: 67 receptions, 723 yards, and 6 touchdowns. This allowed Hockenson to finish as the TE5. I am here to tell you that those stats, along with finishing as the TE5 is only the beginning and is simply his floor coming into this season.
Let’s not forget that Hockenson was one of the most highly touted tight ends ever coming out of college when he was drafted in 2019. So highly touted that the Detroit Lions used their eighth overall pick on him, when they clearly had other positional needs to fill. This 8th overall selection made Hockenson the fourth highest tight end ever drafted in the NFL. He was the 2019 Kyle Pitts, and was renowned around the football community for his rare combination of size and speed. I know what you are thinking draft capital is not everything, and that is correct but the reason I am mentioning it is that we are only two seasons into seeing what this player can do and I think many people forget how elite he was coming out of college. But enough of that, let me tell you why I have him ranked as my TE3 for 2021 and why you should consider him there as well.
When I look at T.J. Hockenson there are glaring reasons as to why everyone should be considering him with the Kittles and Wallers of the world. The most obvious reason being that during this offseason, we saw a lot of key departures for the Detroit Lions offense. The biggest being Kenny Golladay signing with the Giants, and Marvin Jones Jr leaving to join Trever Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Golladay battled injuries all year so he only demanded 32 targets during the course of the 2020 season, but if we combine that with Marvin Jones’ 115 targets, that leaves 147 available targets in this Lions offense. I am not going to sit here like many people on twitter and say that available targets mean that they are all going to go towards your favourite player, but I will say it is more then reasonable to say that a good chunk of those targets will be funneled towards Hockenson. It is safe to assume this because when you look at the Lions receivers, you are left with Tyrell Williams, Breshad Perriman and Quinton Cephus. Cephus is a young receiver who is not fully established, and Tyrell Williams along with Perriman are two players who have never demanded a large target share in any offense, and have spent a large amount of time on the injured reserve.
Hockenson is one of few star players in the NFL that is essentially seeing zero competition. Even when looking at other elite tight ends like Kittle and Waller, they are facing competition in terms of target share from players like Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Henry Ruggs, John Brown and more. Hockenson does not have this problem, and he possesses a skillset that will allow him to execute this large target share into fantasy production at the highest level just as well as any other tight end in the league. Yes, this includes Kelce, Kittle and Waller.
Fantasy football is all about opportunity, not so much talent, but in this rare situation we are lucky enough to know that T.J. Hockenson possesses both; he has immense talent combined with some of the biggest opportunity out of any tight end in the NFL this year. Don’t make fantasy football hard, draft T.J. Hockenson and put some respect on his name!