Cleveland Browns tight end Austin Hooper saw his fantasy production take a nice jump last week in his team’s win against the Giants. Targeted six times, he caught five passes for 41 yards and a touchdown.
Hooper has had an inconsistent season, but Week 16 presents a unique opportunity for him, David Njoku, and Harrison Bryant. The Browns have placed their top four wide receivers on the COVID-19 injured reserve list as high-risk close contacts. Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and KhaDarel Hodge are all going to miss Sunday’s game.
Marvin Hall was the only receiver on the active roster to not go on the IR list, and the team has promoted receivers Ja’Marcus Bradley and Derrick Willies. The Browns ground game will be plenty busy, but Baker Mayfield could spend a lot of time looking to his tight ends.
Fantasy Football analysis: Browns TE Austin Hooper, David Njoku, Harrison Bryant
Hooper’s six targets last week more than doubled the number of looks he had the previous two games, it was the most he’s had since Week 11, when he had three catches on five targets against the Jaguars. Hooper was producing a better clip earlier in the season, but his production has fallen off lately. His slide also happens to coincide with a much-improved Browns passing game. He still gets some looks in the red zone, and last week’s touchdown was his second in his last three games.
Bryant briefly showed up on the waiver wire radar after a two-touchdown performance in Week 7. He’s had four catches for 37 yards over the past two weeks, but has otherwise been silent. Njoku has four receptions for 67 yards over the past two weeks, but like Bryant really hasn’t done a whole lot of much.
The Jets defense has given up seven touchdowns to opposing tight ends over their last five games. Hooper was not a bad TE2 option this week, and gets a boost with most of the receiver corps sidelined. Baker Mayfield will have to throw the ball to somebody.
Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation
Austin Hooper is a fringe TE1 this week.