2021 Fantasy Football Breakout - TE T.J. Hockenson
2021 Breakout Player TJ Hockenson
You could say TJ Hockenson “broke out” last season. He finished as the TE6 in PPR last year with a 67-723-6 stat line. I think he can take a step into the top tier in 2021 for a number of reasons. For starters he is the prototype athletic pass catching TE at 6’5” 250 pounds and his combine numbers and college game tape at Iowa made him the very rare top 10 NFL draft pick.
His new head coach Dan Campbell is a former NFL tight end so he will absolutely utilize and use the TE position. Even with Campbell expected to have a more balanced run/pass approach, there is tons of opportunity for Hockenson to shine. The Lions have very arguably the worst receiver room in the entire league. Kenny Golladay gone. Marvin Jones gone. They have been replaced by journeyman let down first rounder Breshad Perriman. Oft injured and hasn’t played a snap since 2019 Tyrell Williams and rookie 4th round selection Amon Ra St. Brown. I do like St. Brown as a nice lottery ticket last round pick in redraft but I digress. Hockenson is the top pass catcher in this offense and it isn’t very close.
Now I am not a big fan of Jared Goff for fantasy or the NFL to be honest. What I can say is that they paid up to acquire him and he does have a top 6 fantasy season under his belt back in 2018. He is also available having missed only 2 games in the last 4 seasons. Goff does not need to be a fantasy QB1 for Hockenson to have a monster year, he just has to be his usual self.
I know it is a new coaching staff but lets look at the opportunities from last season to make a prediction for how it may go this year. In 16 games the Lions threw 582 times which is just over 36 attempts a game. Lets say Dan Campbell really slows it down and runs more. We will chop off 5 attempts per game and call it 31 attempts per game for 2021. Over 17 games that would be 527 attempts this season. It is completely realistic that Hockenson leads this team in targets by a wide margin and could easily approach 150 targets. If he does that he could and should crack 1,000 yards and potential for 8-10 touchdowns. I’m not saying to lock in that stat line but it is not an unreasonable outcome.
For where you have to draft Hockenson in redraft and dynasty currently, I see him as rock solid value and safe. He is right there with Mark Andrews and I will take Hock with the almost guaranteed volume. Andrews is on the field around 63% of snaps on a run first (and second) team. I do believe I am higher on Hockenson this season than most of if not all of the other admins but that is why I wanted to write this article. If I can’t get Waller or Kelce at a reasonable price early in my draft I am locking in on Hockenson and I usually like the outcome of those drafts better because I am stacking Hockenson up with an extra stud from the first or second round. Go out and get him this year Fantasyholics, he is gonna be worth it.