Fantasy Sleepers at Tight End: Ascending players set to demand targets

“Sleeper” is a complicated and often misused word in fantasy. Everyone has their own preconceived notions and explanations for what a sleeper is and who qualifies as a sleeper. For this exercise, we’re focused on UNDERVALUED options available outside tight end position’s top-10, according to Yahoo ADP.

T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions

Brad: Call this “The Andy Behrens Special.” It’s rare first-year tight ends make a measurable splash in fantasy, but Hock is a brilliantly skilled weapon who should get his feet wet immediately. The youngster has made highlight-reel catches consistently throughout Lions training camp, impressing the coaching staff and onlookers. Matthew Stafford struggled on intermediate throws across the middle last year. He and Hock could easily turn that weakness into a strength, provided the tight end isn’t overly tied to the line. If everything clicks: 50-650-6.

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Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

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Dalton: Few players have received more glowing offseason reports than MARK ANDREWS, who’s the favorite to be Baltimore’s No. 1 target in the passing game. The Ravens are no doubt going to be among the run-heaviest teams in the NFL this season, but he’s set up to lead his team in target shares unlike many other tight ends around the league. Typically one of the toughest positions to learn as a rookie, Andrews finished second among tight ends last year in yards per target (11.0), produced a 124.8 Passer Rating that was second-best in the NFL when shaky Baltimore QBs targeted him and finished fourth in fantasy points per target. Moreover, Andrews got the fourth-most yards per route run, just ahead of Zach Ertz. Let’s see what he does in year two with an improved Lamar Jackson throwing to him.

Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons

Scott: Players don’t always show linear improvement, but it’s a tidy story when they do — and that’s been the AUSTIN HOOPER tale. He bumped his counting stats for the second straight year last season and his catch rate has improved every campaign, topping out at 80.7 percent last year. To be fair, he’s not a downfield guy, and last year he made just 9.3 YPC. But 71 catches are lovely, especially as PPR and half-PPR formats start to become the norm.

Fantasy Football Draft Kit
Fantasy Football Draft Kit

Hooper’s career-high for touchdowns is just four, but he’s also been a regular two-point conversion target for the Falcons, suggesting some latent TD upside. And last year he ranked third in tight end-targets inside the 10-yard line; Matt Ryan trusts him in those tight areas.

Stepping into his fourth NFL season, Hooper is a solid mid-round target if you’re thinking about a value pick at tight end. Early Yahoo draft rooms are giving you a tidy price on Hooper (often outside the Top 12; he was a comically cheap TE22 earlier in the summer), and you should take it.

Follow the Yahoo fantasy football crew on Twitter: Andy Behrens, Dalton Del Don, Brad Evans, Matt Harmon, Liz Loza, Scott Pianowski and Tank Williams

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