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Austin Hooper has MCL sprain, which usually means multi-week absence [UPDATE]

Falcons tight end Austin Hooper suffered a knee injury in Week 10 against the Saints. We break down the fantasy implications of his diagnosis and what it means for the fantasy football waiver wire.

Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates after a touchdown pass to Austin Hooper of the Atlanta Falcons against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes Benz Superdome on November 10, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

UPDATE: Austin Hooper is expected to miss approximately one month with the injury.

The Atlanta Falcons suffered a pair of big injuries in their Week 10 upset of the New Orleans Saints. Running back Devonta Freeman suffered a foot sprain and tight end Austin Hooper suffered a knee injury. Hooper underwent an MRI and it was revealed to be an MCL sprain, according to NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport. He is getting a second opinion on the diagnosis to figure out how much time he will miss.

Hooper suffered his injury in the fourth quarter of Week 10 after catching four passes for 17 yards and a touchdown. He went to the medical tent and later went to the locker room, and did not return. Luke Stocker replaced him in the starting lineup.

Fantasy football analysis: Waiver wire tight ends

An MCL sprain is likely to cost him at least one game, and depending on the severity as much as four or five games. If you own Hooper in fantasy football, this is a brutal time for such an injury. Most leagues play three more weeks and then start their playoffs in Week 14. If you’re on the edge of the playoff picture, this is not ideal.

Stocker is not a fantasy option, so there is no point adding him off waivers. I suppose he could surprise us, but it seems highly unlikely. Titans tight ends Delanie Walker and Jonnu Smith are worth a look depending on whether or not Walker is able to play this week. Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph is finally showing signs of life and is available in most leagues. O.J. Howard might be fool’s gold, however. He finally got in the end zone this past week and is available in more than half of ESPN leagues, but it’s hard to see him finding consistency under Bruce Arians’ anti-TE ways.