Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson leads list of 2022 fantasy sleepers

SideLion Report

T.J. Hockenson fell short of expectations last year, which is enough to land him on a fantasy sleeper list for this year.

If, and the Michael Jordan line about “if” comes to mind, he had played all 17 games last season, Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson would’ve had 86 receptions for 826 yards and six touchdowns. In 0.5-point PPR fantasy scoring, that would have landed him at TE6 for the season.

But Hockenson fell short of that kind of breakout, and thus left those who bought into the breakout buzz he had at around this time last year disappointed. And not only did he miss five games, but they were the final five–right at playoff time in fantasy football.

Coming off back-to-back 60-plus catch seasons at 25 years old, Hockenson sure seems to have a higher level in him. But in between the upper class of fantasy tight ends and the late-round options, he’s definitely in the top part of that middle that can be hard to mine value from in drafts.

T.J. Hockenson lands atop list of tight end fantasy sleepers

Cole Huff of USA TODAY’s For The Win made a list of five fantasy sleepers at tight end for this year. Hockenson is not only on the list, he’s the first one (I’m assuming they are put in order).

Here’s Huff on Hockenson.

Remember at this time a season ago when T.J. Hockenson was a top-5 tight end projection and expected to have a breakout season? That didn’t happen in 2021 despite his receptions per game, targets per game and receiving yards per game increasing from his 2020 total.

Reasons why he’s likely down in the eyes of fantasy managers are 1) his recent injury history (just 12 games in 2021) and 2) the fact that he didn’t take the leap in the way that he was supposed to.

But I’m here to tell you this: T.J. is entering just his fourth year in the NFL and will continue to get better in his age 25 season. Being the best pass-catching option on his team, he’ll likely be amongst the most targeted players in the league at his position. Don’t sleep on T.J. Hockenson.

Here’s a look at Hockenson’s current ADPs (on Aug. 19, 0.5-point PPR).

Fantasy Pros: TE7, pick 67 overall)
Fantasy Football Calculator: TE6 (pick 6.10)

That’s about where Hockenson’s average draft position has been all along, and some analysts have called him overvalued. Maybe with Honolulu Blue-colored glasses on, I’d rather pass on George Kittle or Darren Waller in the fourth round and wait to take Hockenson in the sixth.

It doesn’t feel quite right to call Hockenson a fantasy sleeper this year. Let’s go with undervalued, and an opportunity to get a potential top-five tight end at a slight discount.

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