For as stout as Minnesota’s defense has been through the first six weeks of the season, they have been susceptible to one position: tight ends. Coming into their matchup this Sunday with the Lions, the Vikings have surrendered a league-high 10.7 targets per game to opposing TEs, yet it’s in the past four games specifically where the numbers start to get outlandish. It’s within that span that Minnesota’s seen a whopping 36 percent of opponent passes aimed at tight ends. While it probably goes without saying, that’s easily the highest rate in the entire league for that stretch of time.
Still, TE production in fantasy is a little “chicken or the egg” when it comes to stability. Are the Vikings funnelling targets to the position or have they just happened to face teams like the Eagles, the Giants and the Raiders? Squads that tend to heavily feature their tight ends no matter what defense they happen to be playing. I’d argue each has had a role so far this season, yet, the point could also be made that with Detroit, none of this matters anyway. They are that archetype of offense. At 23%, the Lions have targeted their TEs the 10th-most of any team in the NFL, with most of those throws going to T.J. Hockenson. The rookie hasn’t even come close to capturing his huge performance from Week 1; however, he has seen a tantalizing 29.2% of Detroit’s red zone targets. He appears primed for another productive showing.
Fantasy Football Analysis, Detroit Lions TE T.J. Hockenson
With Minnesota providing the volume and Hockenson already supplied with high-leverage opportunities, the former first-round pick is a lock as a back-end Top-10 play at the position in Week 7. Recency bias is kind to Hockenson, as well. Against Green Bay, the Iowa product was targeted six times, including a ball he would drop in the end zone and a screen pass where he’d be brought down at the one-yard line. Sooner or later, he’s going to score with these types of opportunities. Why not this Sunday?