During his training camp visit with the Lions, Terez Paylor of Yahoo Sports is noting rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson will likely begin the season as the Lions' No. 2 tight end, behind Jesse James.
This isn't a huge surprise, as Hockenson is still learning and the Lions brought in Jesse James as a free agent this offseason from the Steelers. Paylor also said: "How quickly he ascends from there (No. 2 TE) will come down to how fast he understands defensive coverages (sight adjustments) and blocking schemes in the run game, but there's hope he can contribute this year and turn into a really fine player down the road once he fully fills out." Hockenson has reportedly been developing very well, and it wouldn't be surprising if he does elevate to the TE1 role at some point this season. He certainly has more upside than James and would be a better option in the passing game. Rookie tight ends are always tough to fully invest in for fantasy purposes, but if anyone can do it this year, it's Hockenson.
DET TE Jesse James - 2019 Fantasy Football Outlook
Over the past three seasons with the Steelers, Jesse James has averaged 37 receptions for 378 yards and scored eight times. He is coming off a career-high 423 yards last year, averaging more than 14 yards per grab. James has not missed a game in three years, is just 25 years old and is a huge target at 6’7”.
The Lions drafted T.J. Hockenson in the first round and plan for him to be their TE of the future. Even though James registered a career-high in yards last season, nearly 200 of them came in the first two weeks. In ’18, he scored just twice and had more than three receptions in a game on only three occasions.
James and Hockenson are both learning a new offense, so the veteran may see some additional playing time early on as the rookie gets acquainted with the NFL. Right now, neither player makes for a good fantasy option, but Hockenson definitely has the long-term upside.