For the 2nd time in 3 games, opposing defenses paid significant attention to Hockenson, who is the best overall receiver and weapon the Lions have at WR or TE, resulting in fewer than 25 receiving yards. In addition, he came into this game as a game-time decision with knee soreness, so it’s also possible that his seeing just 3 targets was part of the team’s plan to manage him through the injury while having him on the field to open things up for the other receivers.
Overall, Hockenson has still seen 8-10 targets in the majority of his games, and it’s likely he leans toward seeing heavy target volume than the 2 games within the last 3 when he’s seen 3 or fewer looks. Of course, defenses will look to bracket him at times, but he’s too good of an offensive weapon for the Lions to not prioritize him. Despite the likelihood of a few clunkers, he should be a function weekly starter with clear upside when he finds the end zone.
Hockenson caught 4 of 8 targets for 42 yards in the Lions' Week 4 loss to the Bears.
Hockenson had a 21% target share but struggled to produce in the box score for the 2nd consecutive week as teams are certainly trying to take him out of the game with extra attention and double teams.
Hockenson remains an every-week TE1 with consistent volume in this offense.
Despite seeing at least 9 targets in his first 2 games and facing a Ravens defense that has given up solid production to the 2 top-end TEs they had previously faced, Baltimore placed a ton of attention on Hockenson. With no serious threats to worry about at WR, the defensive plan was effective, and he was targeted on just 2 of Jared Goff’s attempts. It also didn’t help that for the 1st time this season, the Lions weren’t digging out of a big hole on the scoreboard, and Goff threw a season-low 30 passes.
Games like this one are bound to happen, but Hockenson has a possibility of finishing in the top-3 TEs this season. The main reason is that he’s not just the primary TE on the team, but he’s their best overall receiver. Of course, there will be teams who scheme to take him away, but there’s no guarantee that’s successful, and there will be plenty of games like Weeks 1 and 2 in which he had 10 and 9 targets.
Hockenson looks like a fantasy monster through two games. While he was a sought after TE heading into fantasy drafts, it appears as if he has elevated his game to another level. Against the Packers he saw 9 targets, catching 8 for 66 yards and a TD.
This production comes a week after a 10-target game where he also caught 8 passes and scored a TD.
Going forward, Hockenson is looking like he should be much closer to Darren Waller than the George Kittle/Mark Andrews/Kyle Pitts tier.
As expected, Hockenson was the most reliable option among the Lions receivers, as he led the team in receiving yards. Going into the game, there was concern about the matchup, as star LB Fred Warner has been a terror against TEs over the years. But the 49ers didn’t play Warner exclusively on Hockenson, which certainly helped him have a big performance. His TD actually came before garbage time, as the score had tied the game at 7 on a pass from deep in the red zone.
Coming out of Week 1 with an excellent stat line in a difficult matchup may indicate that Hockenson could be ready to take the leap to compete with the elite TEs as early as this year. It’s very likely that the Lions will have to throw the ball often due to the poor state of their defense. And if Goff is throwing the ball upwards of 40 times most weeks, then Hockenson, as the defacto #1 receiver on the team, could see an enormous target total.