Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:


Already have an account? Log in here.


Forgot Password


T.J. Hockenson: Your New Dynasty TE1

It certainly didn’t take long for rookie first-round pick T.J. Hockenson to make his presence known in Detroit.

Selected eighth overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, Hockenson was one of the catalysts to Detroit’s offense in Week 1, catching six passes for 131 yards and a touchdown. He led the team in receiving yards and was tied with Kenny Golladay for the second-most targets on the team with nine (Danny Amendola had a whopping 13).

Hockenson certainly looks the part of a future TE1, but how soon will he get there? Is he there now? And just how good could he be?

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!


The Tools

The unique skill set of the 6’5” Hockenson was on full display in Week 1. Hockenson is a remarkable route runner for his size. He has great balance and light feet, allowing him to make quick cuts that cause instant havoc for any linebacker guarding him. Meanwhile, his height makes him extremely tough to cover for cornerbacks and quarterback Matthew Stafford took advantage of that on Hockenson’s touchdown, finding him in the back of the end zone and lofting a ball to where only Hockenson could get it.

Hockenson also has great hands and a solid catch radius to boot. He’s excellent at catching passes while on the go, giving the offense a lot of flexibility in how to use him. In Week 1, he looked more like a wide receiver than a tight end with some of the plays he was running. He even came out of the backfield like a running back for one of his routes that resulted in a catch and a solid gain.

Hockenson only played two years of college football at Iowa after redshirting his freshman year. During his final collegiate season in 2018, he caught 49 passes for 760 yards and six touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown. So he certainly has shown the ability to put up big numbers when he gets high usage, something we don’t always have evidence of for highly-touted tight ends coming into the league.


The System

The Lions have been abundantly clear in their approach to emulate the Patriots’ system in their own. They brought in Bob Quinn from the Patriots’ front office to serve as their general manager, then brought in Matt Patricia from the Patriots’ coaching staff to serve as their head coach. One thing that we certainly know from the past decade of Patriots football is that it breeds fantastic tight end usage and production, enabling Rob Gronkowski to set several all-time records for the position including 17 receiving touchdowns in 2011.

The Lions are in the midst of shifting from the pass-heavy offense featured under the Jim Caldwell reign to a run-heavy offense under Patricia. Instead of seeing Stafford launch deep balls to Marvin Jones every drive, we should be seeing more running plays and more medium-distance throws to Kenny Golladay and Hockenson. Just as the Patriots groomed Gronkowski into a #1 target on offense, the Lions could very much revolve their passing game around Hockenson sooner rather than later.


Dynasty Dream

As veteran fantasy players should know, the tight end position can be a royal headache. If you find yourself outside the Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz inner sanctum, you could easily end up throwing out a prayer week-in and week-out for any production whatsoever at the position.

Hockenson is in an extremely rare position for a tight end. He’s an extremely talented rookie in a tight end-friendly system without another tight end blocking his path toward targets. Plus, he’s already delivered a TE1 fantasy week one week into his career.

In a rookie class that lacks a Saquon Barkley or Christian McCaffrey-like talent, there’s certainly an argument that Hockenson could be the best dynasty asset in the group. Josh Jacobs is probably the only other rookie who has as good or better of an opportunity with little competition for touches at his position on his team. But David Montgomery and Miles Sanders, often the next two highest-ranked rookies in the class after Jacobs, look to have an uphill battle for consistent and significant touches on a weekly basis.

But back to Hockenson vs. Jacobs as the best dynasty asset in the class. Running backs come and go often, like the undrafted Phillip Lindsays and Austin Ekelers of the world. Plus, who’s to say for certain that the Raiders won’t bulk up their backfield next year with a No. 2 running back that threatens Jacobs more than Jalen Richard. Meanwhile, the Lions will be locked into Hockenson as their primary, high-usage tight end for many years to come. And finding a tight end in a situation like that as a rookie, who could be a legit top-3 mainstay at the position for several consecutive years is extremely rare. So if we were redrafting the rookie class in dynasty formats again right now, Hockenson would be my pick ahead of Jacobs.


Redraft Value

As far as Hockenson’s value this season goes, he should certainly be owned in every single league, first off. The path towards a TE1 season is certainly not an arduous one. Trey Burton finished as a fantasy TE1 last year and he only topped 40 receiving yards in three of his 16 games. So not only is a TE1 season in reach for Hockenson this year, it’s very likely.

Outside of the top five or six at the position, the race to fill up the TE1 tier is wide open and Hockenson is going to be one of the top competitors in snatching one of those open spots. So I’d still rank him behind Kelce, Ertz, George Kittle, Evan Engram and O.J. Howard for sure. Then I’d probably keep Hunter Henry in that sixth spot for now. But after that, Hockenson’s my guy, followed by Delanie Walker, Jared Cook and Darren Waller.

More Dynasty League Strategy

More Recent Articles


Week 7 Start/Sit: Monday Night Football Matchups Analysis

Even if this doesn’t turn out to be great MNF game, at least it's a divisional game with some importance. This is what Jets fans need to tell themselves heading into their second Monday Night Football game of the season. With the New England Patriots coming to town off their annual semi-bye in which they... Read More

Week 8 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

It's Chase Edmonds' world, we're just living in it. Wait, what? Hopefully you added him, as suggested in this column the past two weeks, because even if David Johnson is deemed healthy enough to actually play, it's likely Edmonds continues to see action. In QB news, by the halfway point of Thursday night, we already had... Read More

Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 8

The regular season continues to advance at a relentless pace as we have now entered planning for Week 8. Some of you are ecstatic with the level of production that has been delivered by your running backs. But many of you have been contending with unwanted developments at this position including injuries, inconsistent usage, and... Read More

Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 8

We're heading into Week 8 of the NFL season. By now, some of y'all are getting a good sense of where you're at fantasy-wise, if you're heading to the postseason or playing for fun or, in a dynasty league, building for the future. This look at wide receivers is for all of you. As we... Read More

Week 8 Tight End Waiver Wire Picks and Streamers

A two-team bye week is a lot easier for fantasy football players to navigate than a four-team bye week. Fantasy owners are going to have to live without Dallas’ Jason Witten and Baltimore’s Mark Andrews in Week 8. If you have one of the those players as your starting tight end, the problem is that... Read More

Quarterback Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers - Week 8

Tragedy struck a few top quarterbacks this week, as both Patrick Mahomes and Matt Ryan left games with injuries. We already know Mahomes will miss 3-6 weeks, while more will be revealed about Ryan's status later today. Either way, owners of these quarterbacks will need a backup plan in place, and this week the waiver... Read More

Waiver Wire Express - Week 8 Lightning Round

The better part of seven weeks is in the fantasy football books, making those early trends very real -- for better or worse. One must still consider the matchups played thus far and those to come, but usage and volume are becoming reliable. Week 8 sees the Ravens and Cowboys hit their bye week. To... Read More

Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 7 Will Fuller (hamstring) is expected to miss several weeks. Matt Ryan is out for the game with an... Read More

Week 7 Fantasy Football Staff Rankings

Below you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football weekly rankings, tiers, player news and stats for the 2019 NFL season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Weekly PPR Rankings Weekly Half-PPR Rankings Weekly Standard Rankings Dynasty League Rankings     Fantasy... Read More

NFL Matchup Ratings Tool - Weekly Player Projections

  If you see the red "Upgrade" button below, then you are not a Premium subscriber, or have not yet logged in. Learn more about our NFL Matchup Ratings and projections system.   NFL Matchup Ratings - Weekly Lineup Projections FLEX RB WR TE QB DEF K ** click column headers to sort table Player... Read More

Week 7 Chat - Live Fantasy Football Game Day Q&A

It's Sunday Morning Week 7... Do You Know Who to Start? Each Sunday morning of the NFL season, RotoBaller's experts will be moderating the industry's leading live chat room and answering a bunch of your fantasy football questions, from around 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM ET. Come join in on the fun, and get your... Read More

Updated Week 7 PPR Rankings (Top 300)

Welcome to Week 7 RotoBallers. Below are our updated consensus Week 7 PPR rankings for fantasy football, including some running notes on relevant injuries, player news and rankings updates: Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison are both active. Todd Gurley is officially active, Malcolm Brown is out. Christian Kirk is not expected to play this week. David... Read More

Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 7

Welcome to our Week 7 matchup analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every single contest from the Sunday slate in one convenient location, helping you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries and other... Read More

Wide Receiver Matchups To Target in Week 7

In Week 6, Julio Jones didn't score, but he came through with a decent fantasy day, going over 100-yards receiving. Brandin Cooks brutal Week 6 showing was a little bit of a surprise given his 2018 track record against the 49ers, but the Rams offensive line was overwhelmed which led to a rough day for... Read More

The King's Key Starters and Tough Calls - Lineup Spotlights for Week 7

Welcome to Week 7, RotoBallers! Below you will find some of my spotlight plays and tough lineup decisions for the upcoming week of the fantasy football season. These player selections are based off my Premium Weekly Lineup Rankings, available as part of the RotoBaller's NFL Premium Pass. Enter promo code KING at checkout for a... Read More