It’s the fantasy football finals! We made it! Now we need to make some tough start or sit decisions to help guide our teams to victory. Let’s take a look at three tight ends who changed squads for 2020. Should we start or sit Austin Hooper, Hayden Hurst, or Rob Gronkowski in week sixteen and the fantasy football finals?
Start or Sit Austin Hooper at N.Y. Jets?
The New York Jets are the 2020 version of the 2019 Arizona Cardinals free space for tight ends. They allow an additional half-PPR point per game compared to the second-place team (the Browns) and that includes games against the Patriots and the Cardinals this year wherein no tight end had a target. They’ve allowed a whopping seven tight end touchdowns in their last five games, and 13 touchdowns in the 11 games tight ends notched any statistics against them. They’re a cure for what ails ya, and Austin Hooper could use a bit of their medicine. He ended Sunday Night Football with a 5/41/1 line in week fifteen, but since his week ten return from injury, it’s been tough sledding for the Browns tight end pickup. In that span, he has just 13 receptions for 122 yards and two touchdowns on 17 targets.
In the end, I’m sliding Austin Hooper in as a streamer and I will start Austin Hooper this week against the Jets, who even in victory gave up a big game to Tyler Higbee last week (4/67/1)
Start or Sit Hayden Hurst at Kansas City?
The man that replaced Austin Hooper, Hayden Hurst, also gets consideration in this piece. He’s been on-and-off the list of startable tight ends all season. That’s life as TE8-TE18 in this world. We drafted Hayden Hurst with the idea that he would step directly into the Austin Hooper role in Atlanta, which has been a questionable proposition. He had a stretch of four-of-five games with at least seven targets between weeks seven and twelve, but he has just 12 targets in his last three games, totaling just 37 yards in that span (with 21 of them coming last week, along with a touchdown).
Hurst gets the Kansas City Chiefs this week, a team that allows the seventh-most tight end fantasy points on the season. A lot of that is concentrated into big games from Darren Waller, Rob Gronkowski, and Mike Gesicki. I wouldn’t consider Hurst as a fantasy prospect in the same talent tier as those players, so I wouldn’t lean into those guys taking down the Chiefs. It’s a decent(ish) matchup, so starting Hurst is wishing on a wing and a prayer that he gets the targets. He hasn’t lately, so I am going to sit Hayden Hurst this week.
Start or Sit Rob Gronkowski at Detroit?
Man, things certainly have been… tumultuous for Rob Gronkowski this season. He started off the year as a laughingstock in fantasy football circles. He ran terribly, with no precision to his routes, and he dropped everything. Then he hit his stride in week six, notching a 5/78/1 line against the Packers. That kicked off a five-game run wherein he scored in four-of-five games, and was only felled by the weird shellacking the Saints laid at the Buccaneers’ feet that week. Outside of that game, he averaged four catches for 58 yards and a touchdown. Then, across the last four, as Antonio Brown hit is stride, Gronk has one 106 yard game and three games of a combined 56 yards on six catches. Luckily, a two-yard touchdown strike saved his bacon last week, but he still had just one catch for two yards.
This week, Gronk gets a Lions squad that mostly stuffs tight ends on the year. However, they’ve fallen apart in that department lately. Cole Kmet, Robert Tonyan and Jonnu Smith all have at least 50 receiving yards or a touchdown against them in the last three weeks. They yielded a two touchdown game to Irv Smith in week nine, and 4/66 to Logan Thomas in week ten. The Detroit Lions have become a mess, and I think an angry Tom Brady sees this as a get right game as he fights for his playoffs life. I am going to start Rob Gronkowski with the understanding that I am targeting the porous Lions’ pass defense, and not their season-long tight end rank.
What’s the Verdict?
Out of these three players, I am leaning into the matchup and starting Austin Hooper this week. Then, I am rolling with Rob Gronkowski. I do not want to start, even as a stream, Hayden Hurst this week.
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Image Source: Rob Gronkowski on Twitter