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What You Need to Know:
-Hooper enjoyed a career-best 2019 with Atlanta: 97 targets, 75 catches, 787 yards, 6 TDs — all in 13 games.
-He parlayed that success into a 4-year, $44 million contract ($23 million guaranteed) with Cleveland.
-The Browns spent a 2020 4th round pick on receiving TE Harrison Bryant. He garnered 38 targets across 15 games. Holdover David Njoku scattered 29 targets across 13 games.
-The 26-year-old missed 2 mid-season games following an appendectomy; 1 late-season tilt with a neck injury.
-Still, Hooper’s 70 targets ranked 2nd on the team, as Odell Beckham’s Week 7 ACL tear helped boost volume.
-In 6 full games with Beckham, Hooper finished as the TE32, TE31, TE32, TE6, TE11 and TE12. He saw 2, 4, 4, 7, 10 and 6 targets.
-He was a top-10 TE in each of the final 3 regular season weeks (each without OBJ). He also posted 7-46-1 on 11 targets against Pittsburgh in the Wild Card round.
-Hooper’s 69.6% catch rate was solid, but it was still a career-low. He was up at 77.9%+ over the prior 3 seasons.
-Hands were an issue, as his 11.3% drop rate set a career high.
-The 2021 Browns return Bryant and Njoku, plus Beckham and Jarvis Landry at WR. No significant offseason moves were made to threaten Hooper’s role.
-Baker Mayfield enters year 4. He rebounded from a down 2019 to post career-bests in QB rating (95.9), QBR (72.2) and INT rate (1.6%).
-Hooper joined Mayfield for private workouts ahead of OTAs. He’ll also participate in the new Tight End University, an in-person summit run by Travis Kelce, Greg Olsen and George Kittle.
Draft Sharks Bottom Line
Hooper doesn’t have the skill set that really excites us for fantasy. He also won’t slot any higher than 3rd in line for targets for the run-heavy Browns — provided Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry stay healthy.
Even so, Hooper’s currently going deep in TE2 range and looks like a cheap source of targets. (Current projections have only 15 TEs slated for more targets.) At a minimum, he’s a matchup-based streamer.