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Austin Hooper Fantasy Football News | Shark Bites

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ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reports that the Browns are releasing TE Austin Hooper (with a post-June 1 designation). That will send Hooper to a free-agent market that has seen little TE movement in the early days. His departure leaves room for David Njoku to take over the lead TE spot, with 3rd-year TE Harrison Bryant behind him. Njoku has remained a solid value in best-ball drafting since re-signing with Cleveland. We'll see how much his ADP climbs with the Hooper news. Fowler says the Browns planned to keep Hooper but that acquiring WR Amari Cooper and pursuing QB Deshaun Watson changed the cap situation.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reports that the Browns plan to keep TE Austin Hooper around, despite using the franchise tag to keep TE David Njoku of the free-agent market. Hooper has 1 year left on his contract at a $13.25 million cap hit, according to Spotrac. Even cutting him, though, would mean $7.5 million in dead cap space. Having Hooper, Njoku and Harrison Bryant all on the roster once again would make it tough for any to provide consistent fantasy production. Don't overrate any of them in early fantasy football drafts.

Browns TE David Njoku (shoulder) is listed as questionable for this weekend’s game vs. the Bengals. He only got in a limited practice on Friday. Njoku’s absence would be a slight boost for TEs Austin Hooper and Harrison Bryant.

Browns TE Austin Hooper has been activated from the COVID list. He'll be back for Saturday's game vs. the Packers. WR Jarvis Landry remains on the COVID list as of Wednesday afternoon.

Browns QB Baker Mayfield, QB Case Keenum, WR Jarvis Landry and TE Austin Hooper will not be activated from the COVID list for tonight's game vs. the Raiders, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. So QB Nick Mullens will get the start for Cleveland. His top 2 WRs figure to be Donovan Peoples-Jones and Rashard Higgins. David Njoku should top the TE depth chart. We'll see if TE Harrison Bryant (ankle) is able to play. Expect a run-heavy game plan featuring Nick Chubb from the Browns.

The Raiders at Browns game originally scheduled to kick off at 4:30 pm ET on Saturday is being moved to Monday due to the rash of COVID positives on the Browns, according to insider Josina Anderson. Even that is probably still subject to change based on more positive COVID tests in Cleveland. We'll see if any of the Browns currently on the COVID list -- namely Baker Mayfield, Case Keenum, Jarvis Landry and Austin Hooper -- are activated before Monday. But, as of now, we'd still plan on not having those guys in Week 15 fantasy lineups.

Update: Raiders-Browns will kick off at 5 pm ET on Monday, per Fox Sports' Jay Glazer.

The Browns on Tuesday placed 8 players on the COVID list. That included WR Jarvis Landry and TE Austin Hooper. ESPN's Tom Pelissero reports that all 8 tested positive, which means all will almost certainly miss Saturday's game against the Raiders. The group also includes LT Jedrick Wills and RG Wyatt Teller. That further depletes an O-line already operating without RT Jack Conklin (IR).

Browns TEs Harrison Bryant (ankle) and David Njoku (COVID) are out for Sunday's game vs. the Ravens. That leaves Austin Hooper to hog all of the TE work. He's a viable spot starter vs. Baltimore's 25th-ranked TE defense.

Browns TE Harrison Bryant (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday. Reportedly battling a high-ankle sprain, he's unlikely to play vs. the Ravens this weekend. TE David Njoku is on the COVID list, so Austin Hooper might hog all the TE targets on Sunday.

Browns TE David Njoku has been placed on the COVID list. That makes him unlikely to be available for Sunday's game vs. the Ravens. Njoku has averaged 3.3 targets per game this season, so his absence would be a slight boost to guys like Austin Hooper and Jarvis Landry.

Browns WR Odell Beckham (knee) is INACTIVE for today’s game against the Chiefs. It’s a major surprise after Beckham trended in a positive direction throughout August. We assume he’ll debut next week, but we’ll see. Beckham’s absence today should move WR Donovan Peoples-Jones into the starting lineup. WR Jarvis Landry and TE Austin Hooper also get target boosts.

Browns HC Kevin Stefanski says he plans to "grow the role" of TE Austin Hooper this season, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. Hooper went from about 18% target share before his appendectomy last season to 15.3% after. Either of those target shares would have ranked top 9 at the position last season. Only 5 TEs cracked 18% for the year. Hooper is an easy value well into TE2 territory in current ADP.

Browns WRs Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge have been placed on the COVID list as high-risk close contacts and are out for Sunday's game against the Jets. Those are Cleveland's top 4 WRs. Marvin Hall is the only other WR on the active roster. Ja'Marcus Bradley and Derrick Willies are on the practice squad. We wouldn't mess with that situation in Week 16 fantasy lineups. TEs Austin Hooper, Harrison Bryant and David Njoku should be busy tomorrow. Baker Mayfield, meanwhile, goes from a solid QB1 play to a shaky QB2. Expect a run-heavy game plan from Cleveland.

Update: Bradley and Willies have been promoted from the practice squad.

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