Austin Hooper: Not an Exciting Tight End, But His Value Can Be

Austin Hooper: Not an Exciting Tight End, But His Value Can Be

Going into his fourth year in the league, there isn’t a TE people get less excited about than Austin Hooper. He’s bland and boring but has the potential to be a TE1 this season for a pretty cheap price tag.

Sure, Hooper doesn’t come with a ton of upside and he can be inconsistent, but this piece is highlighting the good in the 24-year old and why he’s someone you can target in double-digit rounds in non-PPR and the ninth at the earliest in full PPR leagues.

Hooper’s a Field Staple

Over the past two seasons, Hooper’s snap count sits among the top guys at his position in the NFL. In 2017, he saw the playing field 787 of the Falcons 1026 snaps translating to 77%. Last year his snap rate was within the top nine TEs in the league at 76%.

Top TE Snap % Over Last Two Seasons
2017 Snap % 2018 Snap %
Jason Witten  98% Travis Kelce 95%
Jack Doyle  95% Zach Ertz  92%
Travis Kelce 91% Rob Gronkowski 91%
Rob Gronkowski 90% George Kittle  88%
Tyler Kroft  86% Kyle Rudolph  88%
Kyle Rudolph  83% C.J. Uzomah  84%
Jesse James  82% Trey Burton  80%
Ed Dickson  81% David Njoku 80%
Zach Ertz 80% Austin Hooper  76%
Jared Cook  79% Jimmy Graham  74%
Vernon Davis  79% Jared Cook  73%
Marcedes Lewis  79% Tyler Higbee  72%
Evan Engram  77% Virgil Green  68%
Austin Hooper  77% Chris Herndon  62%

All of this lends itself to a solid weekly floor for Hooper considering he’s involved in a consistently potent Atlanta offense more often than not.

His Trajectory Points Upward

Hooper’s workload and output have increased with each year in the league, and at just 24 years old, this bodes well for his production in the coming season. He’s seen an uptick in overall targets, targets per game, total PPR points, PPR points per game, receptions and total yards over the course of his three-year stint in the league, and these numbers could swell again in 2019 as he and Matt Ryan’s relationship grows another year stronger.

Austin Hooper's NFL Career Output
Year Total Targets TGTs/Game Final POS Tgts Total PPR Pts PPR/Game Final POS PPR Receptions Receiving Yds TDs
2018 88 5.5 TE8 161 10.1 TE6 71 660 4
2017 65 4.1 TE17 119.6 7.5 TE17 49 526 3
2016 27 1.9 TE45 64.1 4.6 TE38 19 271 3

Hooper’s 5.5 targets per contest last year is a great starting point and it’s reasonable to expect Hooper to see six-plus balls a game in 2019.

Short Yards Add Up

Sure, Hooper is known for being more of a short yardage guy, but that can still be a good thing, especially in PPR formats. If he’s to best last season’s fantasy output, he’ll need more volume, and it’s certainly a possibility in this year’s version of the Atlanta offense.

With Tevin Coleman now out west in San Francisco, we could see Hooper used as more of an underneath option in 2019, adding to his production yet again this year.

Bottom Line

At a position that is rigidly hierarchical in 2019, drafters are forced to either pay up for Travis Kelce, George Kittle or Zach Ertz, grab the next tier of TEs a bit earlier than they are comfortable with, or just wait and pray. While not exciting or arousing in any way, Hooper is a player with a decent floor, who won’t cost you too much. The fourth-year TE has the potential to finish with a surprisingly higher output than anticipated, which could be a difference maker based on his value.

Hooper is currently being selected as TE11 in the ninth round of best-ball drafts and is also TE11 in early redraft leagues, leaving boards in the late-10th round.

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