No. 5: Tight End Austin Hooper
It may be a risk to take a first-year Browns player, but Austin Hooper is too efficient to not be on your radar. He has caught 146 of his 185 targets over the past two seasons, which is an incredibly efficient 78.9 percent of his targets. Considering the Browns offense, like the Falcons offense he is coming from, is crowded in terms of talent, efficiency is key.
Baker Mayfield also relies on his tight ends more than Matt Ryan does, which is a huge plus for Hooper. Hooper saw career highs in yards and touchdowns last season, and he should be a premier target for the Cleveland Browns in the red zone.
Last season, not many players had efficient stats in regards to catching their targets. The highest catch percentage for the Browns of any receiver with more than 10 targets that wasn’t a running back was Ricky Seals-Jones, who had a catch percentage of 63.6 percent.
The Browns tight end room last year was a big part of the reason Mayfield struggled, as he didn’t have his safety blanket to rely on when he needed some yards. Hooper is most likely going to see the third-highest amount of targets this season out of any Browns receiving weapon, so he’s definitely someone who could fill your TE1 role.
He may compete with David Njoku for reps and targets, but you’ll find Hooper will be used more frequently as a target in play-action situations because he can sell the run better than Njoku.
Hooper shouldn’t be your first tight end off the board obviously, as he won’t be like George Kittle where he is arguably the best receiving option on his team. However, Hooper’s efficiency along with his volume of targets should place him as an intriguing play as a starting tight end in any league. Whether you’re in an eight-man league or an 18-man league, Austin Hooper should be a starting tight end.