T.J. Hockenson had the benefit of the Detroit Lions constantly playing from behind in 2021, but can he transcend himself as one of the best tight ends in football with the team taking their next step in a winning direction? The 25-year-old is coming off a solid campaign with 61 receptions on 83 targets for 583 yards and four touchdowns.
2021 season statistics & fantasy finish
Out of the 23 times that the Lions reached the end zone last season, the only player on the roster to surpass Hockenson was Amon-Ra St. Brown. After another offseason of building, we can expect the team to improve on their scoring. Hockenson had the best season of his three-year career for average fantasy football production, recording 7.0 points per game, and finishing as the overall TE15.
Detroit Lions offseason moves
The Lions signed former Jacksonville Jaguars wideout DJ Chark, and retained receivers Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond for depth.
2022 best case scenario
Hockenson is still only 25 years old, which means that his best days with Jared Goff in the Lions offense could very well be ahead of him. While the team irons out their crowded WR room, it might be Hockenson to reap the benefits in the passing attack to start the season. He lit the NFL on fire during Weeks 1 and 2 last year, so we’ll see if he can maintain his eight catches on his 9.5 targets for all 17 regular season games.
2022 worst case scenario
The worst case scenario for Hockenson is contingent on the Lions’ overall offensive success in the 2022-23 campaign. Aside from Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers, Detroit didn’t score over 19 points until their Week 13 matchup against the Vikings. While there are benefits for Hockenson being on a team with no true No. 1 wideout set in stone, it also comes with its caveats. The uncertainty leaves concern whether or not Jared Goff will spread the football around, lock in on one or two targets throughout the season, or let D’Andre Swift lead the offense out of the backfield.
Hockenson is currently pegged as the sixth-best tight end in half-PPR fantasy drafts this year, per FantasyPros. His age really gives managers reason to believe that he can reach elite status. There’s still plenty of time for Goff to mold a chemistry with Hockenson. The sooner this happens, the sooner his fantasy value stops plummeting.