Hayden Hurst Fantasy 2020
In the frenzy of trades and signings to start the NFL’s new season, the Falcons made a very intriguing move. Shortly after letting Austin Hooper walk in free agency and him signing with the Browns, Atlanta decided to make a move for their future starting tight end. They dealt their 2020 2nd and 5th round picks for Hayden Hurst and the Ravens 2020 4th round pick.
Hurst is walking into a very intriguing spot, with 111 vacated targets at the tight end position from last season between Austin Hooper and Luke Stocker. Targets don’t essentially work that way where they are distributed to the next player, as talent is very important, especially in a high powered offense with multiple stellar receiving weapons. However, with the investment the Falcons put into the former 2018 first-round pick who was buried behind Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle for the Ravens depth chart, I’d expect them to definitely target Hurst. One thing to note about Hurst was his efficiency last year. While playing just 41% of his team’s offensive snaps in 2019, he totaled 30 receptions for 349 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 39 targets. To put that into context, he averaged 8.9 yards per target and a 76% catch rate, which are both the highest out of any of the tight ends in Baltimore. While I don’t expect Hurst to be as productive as Hooper last season, who was the TE3 in points per game, I could fully see Hurst producing as a top 7 or 8 tight end as soon as 2020. He views as both a great later tight end to invest in both redraft and dynasty leagues. Another impact this could have is on Mark Andrews. Many are saying sell high on Andrews due to his low snap count of 41% with a high touchdown rate. With that being said, this could give Andrews an uptick in snap percentage which could help make sure his volume remains.
I will start this by saying Hayden Hurst is currently a guy you should definitely be shopping for in your dynasty league. A lot of this has to do with his analytical profile. To start off, he was a first-round pick and is just entering Year 3. 82% of tight ends drafted in the first round who fail to produce a top 12 season in their first two seasons, still produce a top 12 season at some point in their careers (Analytics of Dynasty). Now, I’m going to dig deep into what I believe and have seen have a correlation in tight ends who produce multiple top 12 and top 5 seasons. Hurst had a great college profile, having an average of 15.5% of his team’s market share receiving yards, breaking out at age 22 and averaging 1.1 yards per his team’s pass attempts throughout his collegiate career. To add to this, he ran a 4.67 at 250 pounds. These are all very promising metrics for tight ends, as he is averaging similar numbers to the tight ends who have produced well for fantasy purposes. Adding this with his draft capital and average 8.3 yards per target throughout his NFL career, he’s had a very promising start.
The biggest knocks are his lack of production and being traded after year 2. Having just 512 yards throughout two seasons, but for tight ends, that’s not as worrisome as they typically still can breakout later in their careers. Another note would be the trade, Hurst was in a very weird situation being injured to start his NFL career allowing Mark Andrews to flash tremendous upside and demand targets his rookie season. This continued into his second season causing Hurst to be farther down the depth chart. It’s hard to know about being behind Boyle as well, however, while playing 28% less snaps, he produced more yards than Boyle on 4 fewer targets. The good part of this, however, is the low risk you will be investing in him in the case he misses, as he is very cheap.
Some recent trades involving Hurst since the trade include:
- Hurst for the 3.02
- Hurst for Keke Coutee
- Hurst for 2 3rds
- Hurst for Parris Campbell
*All trades according to Dynasty League Football Trade Finder
These to me are instant accept offers, currently, there is only maybe one tight end I would take over Hurst in this draft class, and that depends on draft capital. I would be buying Hurst for a price as high as approximately the 20th rookie off the board in single Quarterback leagues. He has a far higher probability of hitting along with a very strong profile to back him up. Although, I would definitely try for cheaper as that is higher than the market value is for him currently.
Hurst is a very interesting player that could split the fantasy community, as some buying into hype these following months, while others believe he is a huge sell high due to his lack of production, new offense, and age for a third-year tight end. However, age doesn’t seem to matter as much for tight ends entering the NFL, and his profile looks very strong. Go buy Hurst expecting him to increase in cost in the future.