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What to do with Hayden Hurst in Week 12 fantasy football

One week after a zero-catch performance, Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst has a prime opportunity to bounce back against the Raiders.

Hayden Hurst #81 of the Atlanta Falcons runs with the ball during the first half against the Denver Broncos at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 08, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Game status: Hayden Hurst is ACTIVE for Week 12.

Game day update: Hayden Hurst is expected to play on Sunday, according to Adam Schefter.

When the Las Vegas Raiders arrive at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Sunday morning, the Atlanta Falcons might still not know which of their playmakers will suit up to play. Already, the Falcons know lead running back Todd Gurley will miss the game with a knee injury, but top wideout Julio Jones could join him on the inactive list due to hamstring trouble. Even if Jones can play, he could have significant limitations given that he has dropped out of other games this year.

Regardless, the Falcons will need more from their other pass catchers in order to make up the difference. That includes tight end Hayden Hurst, who effectively didn’t appear on the stat sheet a week ago.

Fantasy Football analysis: Falcons TE Hayden Hurst

In his first season with the Falcons, Hurst has set career highs in receptions (37), receiving yards (411), and touchdowns (three) with several games remaining on the schedule. At one of the shallowest positions, that production has made Hurst a viable fantasy starter for the first time in his three-year NFL career.

Even so, that productivity hasn’t materialized every week. Last Sunday, Hurst finished with zero catches despite multiple targets, leaving countless fantasy managers in a bad position. And while that game represents Hurst’s only fantasy goose egg in 2020, he effectively had one in October and would have registered another in Week 3 if not for his one catch going for a touchdown. However, while Hurst presents risks, the lack of alternatives and a porous Raiders defense gives him a decent chance to deliver this week.

One thing worth noting ahead of Sunday: Atlanta Falcons have listed tight end Hayden Hurts as questionable on the team’s official Week 12 injury report. He is dealing with an ankle injury. Hurst sat out practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but he returned in a limited role on Friday. If Hurst can’t play, Jaeden Graham would have some fantasy value as his replacement. The Falcons will be without running back Todd Gurley this week, which could mean more work for the tight ends.

Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation

Start Hurst as a low-end TE1.