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Julio and Ridley are set to get theirs in 2019, but we’ve seen this Atlanta offense with returning OC Dirk Koetter support more than 2 WRs for fantasy purposes at a high level. Tony Gonzalez caught 93 balls on 124 targets in 2012 while Julio Jones and Roddy White had 1200+ yard seasons. The trio combined for 25 TDs, and this was all in Koetter’s first year as OC with Matt Ryan and the Falcons. In Gonzalez’s final 2013 year, he had another 83 catches on 121 targets.

It’s silly to compare the Hall of Famer to other TEs, but it’s part of illustrating Koetter’s usage of tight ends of the years. On the other end of the spectrum, Marcedes Lewis led his Jaguars team in receiving yards to go with his 10 TDs in Koetter’s last year as OC in Jacksonville. He even had success with TEs at the college level. Koetter seems to love the tight end position so much that he hired former HC Mike Mularkey to his staff as the TE coach.

It was evident in Koetter’s time in Tampa Bay that tight ends were a premium position. Yes, Jameis Winston loved targeting tight ends, but they made it a point to not only draft OJ Howard with a first round pick, but to re-sign Cameron Brate to a huge contract. If these two tight ends were combined into one, we would’ve cared a lot more; Brate and Howard combined for 31 TDs over the three Koetter years in Tampa, and that was with both guys banged up, especially with Howard missing more than several games.

Austin Hooper was already improving as of last season; his 71 receptions was 2nd to Julio on the team and 4th among all TEs.. it was a big improvement from his 49 a year ago. His 87 targets were 6th among TEs. Even if we assume Calvin Ridley will take a big step forward next year, we’ve seen that a TE can still be very fantasy relevant, even with two WRs shining as well.

According to ESPN’s consistency rankings, Hooper was actually the most consistent tight end for fantasy leagues, just with a lower floor than we would’ve liked. We saw a glimpse of his upside with three 9+ reception games, which is obviously appealing in PPR leagues; he was actually the TE8 in per-game PPR points.

Do you think Hooper can take a step even further in 2019? 👇