Atlanta traded for tight end Hayden Hurst during the offseason, acquiring him from Baltimore for a pair of draft picks after Austin Hooper signed with Cleveland. It was one of a few big moves that aimed to get quarterback Matt Ryan more offensive weapons for 2020. The 6-foot-4, 260-pound 27-year-old showed promise for serious production with the Ravens last year but hasn’t quite blossomed into a top-tier player at his position yet this season, despite scoring twice through the first four games. Will Hurst find his mojo in Week 5 against the Panthers on Sunday?
Fantasy Football analysis: Falcons TE Hayden Hurst
Hurst ranks just inside the top 15 in fantasy production at his position through the first four weeks of the year, sitting slightly behind guys like Jimmy Graham, Mike Gesicki, T.J. Hockenson and Jonnu Smith. While his number don’t fly off of the page, he has seen more targets than Julio Jones and is less than 50 yards away from being the Falcons’ third leading receiver. Hurst is coming off of a high-yield four catches for 51 yards in Monday night’s loss to Green Bay, but he was unable to find the end zone for the first time in three weeks. The Panthers defense has allowed only one touchdown from an opposing tight end and has been one of the better groups defending the position. However, Carolina’s defense is in a transition period and sit near the middle of the pack for total team defense rankings and could let Hurst slip through the cracks and into the paint, as Arizona tight end Jordan Thomas did last week.
Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation
For a position that is so volatile outside of the top two or three guys, the floor becomes more important than the ceiling and Hurst is guaranteed to see Ryan look his way. He is worth starting in a season-long fantasy format, though his value could be touchdown-dependent this week. As a result, if other options are available in a DFS format, Hurst could be another victim to the Panthers’ tough coverage on tight ends and would be a risky play.