14 Undervalued Tight Ends

The Footballguys staff finds value at the tight end position

A fantasy draft is all about obtaining the most value with each selection. There is value available throughout a draft, and grabbing it is one of the most important keys to a successful fantasy team. In an attempt to point out this value, we asked our staff to look through the Top 150 and identify players that should outperform their draft position.

Player Receiving 4 Votes

T.J. Hockenson, Detroit

Andrew Davenport: It's easy to forget about Hockenson with all the possible breakout candidates above him, but what shouldn't be forgotten is the role Detroit tried to hand the rookie last season. The Lions clearly had plays designed for him near the goal line, and even ignoring his big Week 1, he still had a chance to score several times early in the season that didn't connect for different reasons. The potential is definitely there for a big leap in year two. He did manage to command 59 targets in the 12 games he played, which would be a solid 80 targets over a full season as a rookie. Further, his catch rate was a paltry 54% due partially to poor quarterback play after starting quarterback Matthew Stafford went down in the middle of the year with a back injury. There is a clear path to value for Hockenson on draft day.

Jeff Haseley: The expectations were high for T.J. Hockenson last season, especially after his productive debut indicated that he might be the next great tight end to enter the league. There is still that chance. Many first-round tight ends have proven to be productive, consistent players in the league, and Hockenson is no different. His talent as both a receiver and a blocker should eventually come to fruition. There were at least three touchdowns last year that did not go to Hockenson, either by penalty negation or finger-tip drops. It would be shocking to see him not progress in his second year, and it could even be more than we expect.

Matt Waldman: Hockenson is low-hanging fruit. He had a lot of drops last year, especially in the end zone. Nothing scares fantasy players and analysts more than dropped passes, especially red-zone passes. Hockenson hasn't had a drop problem in the past, and he lit-up training camp last year. Expect deeper targets, bigger plays, a higher catch percentage, and a lot more fantasy points in an offense that will feature him from two-tight-end sets as well as a detached receiver in three- and four-receiver sets. He's the No.8 option on my board.

Jason Wood: How quickly we forget. Hockenson's ADP and his consensus ranking are among the most egregious early-season mistakes being made in the industry. Hockenson burst onto the scene in Week 1 but was a non-factor for much of his rookie year, and was finally put on season-ending injured reserve with an ankle injury. His lost season is your opportunity. It's not uncommon for rookie tight ends to struggle under the best circumstances. Hockenson was dealing with injuries, the loss of his franchise quarterback, and a one-dimensional offensive game plan. All of those issues are better this year, but more importantly, Hockenson should take a natural step forward in the same way we've seen many of the league's best tight ends do in Year Two. Don't forget he wasn't just the top rookie tight end last year, he was universally considered one of the best prospects of the last decade.

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