Falcons Acquire Hayden Hurst, Drips in 2020 Fantasy Sleeper Upside Under Dirk Koetter - Roto Street Journal
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Falcons Acquire Hayden Hurst, Drips in 2020 Fantasy Sleeper Upside Under Dirk Koetter

The Falcons were unable to keep Austin Hooper in Atlanta after the Browns made him the richest tight end in league history.

However, they were able to acquire former first rounder, Hayden Hurst, from the tight end heavy Ravens. Hurst, who people forget was drafted ahead of Lamar Jackson, has clearly fallen behind Mark Andrews on the depth chart. He has all the talent to make noise in Atlanta and it also helps he’ll have the tight end whisperer, Dirk Koetter, dialing up plays for him.

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Straight up, the guy loves tight ends.

When asked about the historic success of tight ends in his scheme, Koetter cut right to it:

“I’m the first to admit that I like tight ends.”

The numbers don’t lie. Last season, Hooper exploded for a career year, finishing as the TE6, despite missing three games. Before his Week 10 injury, Hooper was the No.1 TE — yes, better than Travis Kelce and George Kittle. Hooper ultimately caught 75 balls for 787 yards and six touchdowns and finished third in FPPG — just in time to reset the tight end market as a free agent.

When Koetter was in Tampa, Cameron Brate and OJ Howard combined for 11 and 12 TDs in 2017 and 2018. Prior to Howard’s arrival, Brate scored 8 TDs in 2016, while Austin Seferian-Jenkins was on pace for 90 targets and 9 scores in 2015.

In his last stint with Atlanta, Koetter dialed up Tony Gonzalez over 120 times in back-to-back seasons (2012-’13). Hell, even the no-name Mercedes Lewis hauled in over 700 yards and 10 TDs under Koetter’s watch in Jacksonville.

It’s in the usage: Koetter often sends his TE on deep crosses, vertical seam routes, and corner fades for major chunk plays, especially within the 20. Now that Hooper has moved on, it’s Hurst’s time to have a career season under Koetter.

As a result, he exploded up our 2020 Fantasy Big Board to TE13, an absurd +23 against the ECR.

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