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Dynasty Fantasy Football Impact: TJ Hockenson traded to Minnesota

We break down the inter-division trade of TJ Hockenson

The Detroit Lions are in the midst of yet another disappointing season. As the trade deadline approached, there were rumblings some of their players could be on the block, including star tight end TJ Hockenson. That proved to be true in the end as Hockenson was traded today to the Minnesota Vikings along with a 2023 fourth round pick in exchange for a 2023 second rounder and a 2024 third rounder. The fact Hockenson was moved wasn’t exactly a shock, but moving him within the division is clearly a surprise to many, as that simply doesn’t happen very often. Regardless, the trade is official and this is going to have some ramifications in dynasty leagues. Let’s spin around the NFC North and see whose values have changed.

TJ Hockenson, TE MIN

This is a good move for Hockenson in reality, but it’s hard to say if it’s a huge leap forward for him in terms of dynasty league value. The Lions were forced to throw a ton and actually have the ninth best scoring offense in the league at this point, so it’s not as if he was playing for a team that couldn’t produce statistics. On the positive front, the Vikings are in need of more pass catchers with Irv Smith on the shelf yet again and Adam Thielen clearly slowing down. The Vikings will look to use Hockenson creatively and his skill set should fit in nicely within their scheme.

The bigger issue with Hockenson has simply been his spotty production. At times, he can be a dominant force for fantasy stats. In fact, he posted a monster 8/179/2 game just this year in week four against Seattle. Unfortunately, the rest of his season has seen him post just 18 catches, 216 yards, and one touchdown in his other six games combined. Over the span of his career, we’ve seen this theme many times and while his career totals of 186/2,068/15 in 47 career games are solid, he just hasn’t lived up to the billing of being a top ten draft pick and his production has seen massive peaks and valleys. The Vikings will surely look to unlock his potential and you can bet Minnesota is going to exercise his fifth-year option to keep him under team control through next season as well.

In the end, this seems like a solid move for Hockenson. Kirk Cousins may not be an elite level quarterback, but Justin Jefferson will take most of the attention of the defense and Hockenson should make for a solid goal line and intermediate threat right away. His ADP should creep up a bit with the move as Minnesota looks to make his production more consistent. It’s hard to say if he’ll ever reach the “elite” tier of tight ends, though at least he’ll have a better chance in the Twin Cities.

Irv Smith, TE MIN

With every trade there are winners and losers. It’s hard not to be severely disappointed if you’re a fantasy manager with Irv Smith on your roster. After he was lost all last season, this was supposed to be the year for Smith to break out. Unfortunately, that just didn’t happen as Smith has posted just a 22/168/2 line through seven games and his now out again with a high ankle sprain. This move makes it look like the Vikings are simply ready to move on from relying on Smith and Hockenson will clearly be their top tight end moving forward. Smith is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and it’s very hard to see him staying in Minnesota long-term now. If dynasty managers still believe in Smith, he’s a player to keep on rosters to see where he ends up this off-season. However, it’s going to be tough for managers to stick with him in shallow leagues. We know he has talent, but he’s only going to have played somewhere around 40 games in four years with an injury history that seems to be piling up. His ADP is surely going to drop now.

Brock Wright and James Mitchell, TEs DET

The Lions are left with Brock Wright and James Mitchell now at tight end. Wright is more of a blocker and the Lions really seem to like Mitchell. If you’re looking for a super sleeper at tight end, that could be your guy. He’s just now coming back to full health after a torn ACL in college last year and had his first career catch just this week. He’s certainly a watch list candidate at the moment.

Johnny Mundt, TE MIN

Well, that was fun while it lasted.

 

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Ken Kelly
Dynasty Fantasy Football Impact: TJ Hockenson traded to Minnesota
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Jacob Smith
29 days ago

I happen to have both Hockenson and Smith. They’re both seeing around 4 targets a game (noting that there have been outliers such as Hock’s 12 target monster game). Hockenson’s yardage has been higher than Smith’s. Smith has been efficient, hauling in 15 of his last 17 targets, so he’s got good hands or Cousins is accurate or both. Although those catches average to just 6.7 yards per reception, so quick high-percentage passes one would assume. In the two weeks since the bye, Hock has averaged 18 yards per reception. Ideally then, Hockenson will see that high reception t-to-target ratio and also get more yards per reception. Cousins has been pretty consistent in his number of TE targets per game, and Hockenson could open the TE passing game. I’m optimistic!

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