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Austin Hooper to miss about one month with MCL sprain

The Falcons lose a key weapon, and fantasy football owners are left scrambling for a new tight end. We break down the fantasy football implications.

Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper scores a touchdown in front of Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Haason Reddick during the second half at State Farm Stadium. Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons suffered a big blow in their Week 11 upset of the New Orleans Saints. Tight end Austin Hooper suffered an MCL sprain and he is expected to miss approximately one month according to NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport.

Hooper currently leads tight ends in receptions and has been arguably the best at the position through the first ten weeks. Luke Stocker replaces him in the starting lineup, with Jaeden Graham getting more work as well.

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If the timeline stands up, this means Hooper won’t return until after fantasy playoffs have begun. He’s the highest scoring tight end in fantasy football, and considering how quickly the depth falls apart at the position, this is a huge loss.

Stocker and Graham hold little fantasy value until we see how they are implemented in the Falcons offense. Hooper was a key cog, but Matt Ryan could simply elect to look to Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and his running backs more.

Some options to consider with Hooper out are Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki, Steelers TE Vance McDonald, Eagles TE Dallas Goedert, and Broncos TE Noah Fant. All are available in a majority of leagues and have some decent upside over the next month. Jonnu Smith and Delanie Walker are also available, but are on bye this week.