2020 Stats: 46 receptions, 435 receiving yards, 4 receiving touchdowns, and 70 targets. Finished as TE 21.
2021 Projected Stats via My Fantasy League: 62 receptions, 570 receiving yards, 6 receiving touchdowns, and 94 targets. Projected as TE 15.
Austin Hooper’s 2021 Dynasty Outlook
Austin Hooper is entering his second season in Cleveland and is hoping it’s more productive than his first. Year one was a forgettable season, as his numbers were similar to those in 2017 while with the Atlanta Falcons.
Once Odell Beckham Jr. was lost for the remainder of last season, due to a torn ACL, many people were looking at Hooper to pick up the slack behind Jarvis Landry. Well, as we know, that didn’t happen and it left dynasty owners questioning his 2021 dynasty outlook.
The Browns are known as a run-first team. Can you disagree with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt as your running backs? According to NFL.com, the Cleveland Browns ended last season with the fourth-most rushing attempts, totaling 495. The only teams that finished ahead of them were the New England Patriots (502), the Tennessee Titans (521), and the Baltimore Ravens (555). I don’t see their offensive game plan changing much in 2021.
Lack of Passing Attempts
Quarterback Baker Mayfield felt the impact of losing OBJ, as he ended last season with his worst passing stats to date. Mayfield had a career-low of 305 completions and 486 passing attempts, which tied with his rookie season in 2018 as a career-low total. His passing yards (3,563) were also a career-low while his 26 touchdown passes were the second-most of his young career.
Mayfield showed a nice improvement in his interceptions, with a career-best eight. This is largely tied to his increased rushing attempts (54) and rushing yards (165), both of which are career highs.
2021 Dynasty Outlook
With a healthy Odell Beckman Jr. back for 2021, a run-first offense, and a crowded tight end room, things aren’t looking great for a second-year spike in production from Hooper. If you have him rostered in dynasty, as I do, then I would just hold him for now.
Based on the projections I mentioned earlier, Hooper is a high-end TE2. MyFantasyLeague.com is projecting increases in both Baker Mayfield and Austin Hooper‘s 2021 outlook. Maybe you can use that to your advantage in potential trade talks. Another thing to note — Baker may be allowed to throw the ball more this season.
Be sure to also check out the article written by Brandon Haye about Baker Mayfield.