Austin Hooper was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the 3rd round of the 2016 NFL draft. Through his first four seasons in the NFL, Hooper has seen his targets, receptions, yards, and touchdowns all increased year over year. His most productive season was in 2019. Hauling in 75 catches, 787 yards, and 6 scores in only 13 games. This offensive output had Hooper finishing the season at TE 6 in PPR formats.
Hooper was a big part of the pass-heaviest offense in the league in 2019. He was the recipient of a 25.7% red zone target share and only had one drop through the 2019 season. In both 2018 and 2019, Hooper finished as TE 6 showing how valuable he can be especially in dynasty. Hooper had a change of scenery in 2020 moving to the Cleveland Browns. As such, many fantasy football owners have faded him to start the year.
Since being traded to the Cleveland Browns, Hooper has seen his dynasty startup ADP plummet. In January, before he was traded Hooper’s ADP was as TE6. As of August 2020, Hooper’s ADP has fallen to TE12. Why would a tight end that has been the sixth-best at his position over the last two seasons be drafted as a low-end TE1 you ask?
Well…Hooper is going from a team that threw 66.97% of the time to a team that threw 59.61% of the time. He is leaving a team that targeted tight ends 18.5% of the time to a team that targeted tight ends 13.4% of the time. He is going from Matt Ryan to Baker Mayfield. There is no avoiding the fact that Austin Hooper has gone from one of the best situations in the league to the middle of the pack for 2020. That said, talent typically wins out. Hooper is a very talented tight end and should see his fair share of targets this season. I believe that he beats his ADP this season but not by much. I have him as my TE 9 going into 2020.
Austin Hooper signed a four year deal with the Cleveland Browns. If you have Hooper, you’re hoping that Baker Mayfield returns to his rookie season form and can take the next step in year three. The offense for Cleveland has some big names competing for targets like Odell Beckham Jr. Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, and now Austin Hooper.
If Hooper can create some chemistry with Mayfield the sky’s the limit for his fantasy potential. Hooper is a nice buy-low candidate. His startup ADP of TE12 is likely closer to his floor and TE 5 is his ceiling. There are a handful of elite tight ends in dynasty and though he was on track for that elite status, he now finds himself mixed into the second tier of tight ends. He should see slightly fewer targets in Cleveland than he did in Atlanta but his high efficiency should allow him to produce solid numbers during his time with the Browns.