With the Detroit Lions facing off against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 8, is there a sneaky fantasy option to consider?
Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson is in your starting fantasy lineup every week, due to his play-making abilities and big role in the offense. We all know that the position is a wasteland after the top-tier options. The consensus of fantasy has Hockenson ranked in the top six for the rest of the season.
Hockenson has not scored since Week 2, and in Week 3 and Week 5 he had less than 30 receiving yards. But his 359 yards rank sixth among tight ends through seven weeks, with a rebound in production over the last two weeks (14 catches on 20 targets). Only Travis Kelce has more targets than Hockenson at the position. He is second on the Lions in receiving yards, behind D’Andre Swift.
The Eagles may attempt to cover Hockenson with cornerback, and former teammate, Darius Slay. Observing videos on Slay’s coverage playing outside routes versus the slot this season, it doesn’t look like he’ll shadow Hockenson the whole game. Also, Kalif Raymond had a quiet yet productive 115-yard outing last Sunday. Combine Raymond with the threat of Swift catching passes, and the middle of the field up should be open for Hockenson.
Speaking of Swift, what about backfield partner Jamaal Williams? So far this season Williams has 312 rushing yards and 99 receiving yards while adding two touchdowns on the ground.
Williams should be a lock for 10 or more rushing attempts this week against the Eagles. His goal line usage could uptick during this matchup, especially with the Lions’ issues cashing in scoring opportunities in the red zone. He does not appear on Week 7 injury report after previously dealing with a hip issue, and he’s not on the first injury report for Week 8. Hockenson continues to deal with knee and ankle issues that limit him during the practice week, but he has yet to miss a game.
The Eagles are ranked 14th in the league against the pass right now (227.7 yards per game). On the flipside, they are fourth-worst in the league against the run thus far (133 yards per game). Last week, Raiders’ running backs Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake each scored a rushing touchdown in their matchup against Philadelphia.
Hockenson is in your fantasy lineup no matter what every week. But there’s room to consider Williams as a flex play for Week 8 in leagues with 12 or more teams.