Slice Me Some Pie – Hayden Hurst

In this series, I will be looking at players I like and want in my fantasy teams this coming season. Some of it will be down to my own personal preference but I will throw in some stat-based reasons too to back me up.

Hayden Hurst – TE – Atlanta Falcons

Some say drafting a TE is easy and can be left until the later rounds as it’s a position that’s easier to stream than hit on a winner. That’s fair and that’s how I’ve drafted in the past and even in a few league’s this off-season already.

However, I have also started jumping on the Hurst train. When it comes to fantasy NFL, I draft players I like and have been known to leave the consensus pick on the table for a guy I prefer. I don’t care, it’s how I play and I want to enjoy cheering on the guys in my team.

This is why I’ve started picking up Hurst a lot earlier than I usually would for a TE. His ADP is starting to rise as more and more people pick up on his potential in this Atlanta offence. Right now in a PPR format, he’s coming off the board as the 112th overall pick and as the TE 12. That’s already 2 rounds higher than I got him a week ago in one league.

Where has he been?

Hurst was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the 1st round as the 25th overall selection in the 2018 draft. Hurst However was hidden away behind Andrews who emerged as the team’s main guy. Even though Hurst was behind Andrews, he still managed to average 11.9 yards per reception over the 2 seasons he was there.

He came into the NFL after 3 seasons in college averaging 12.8 yards per reception. After two seasons with the ravens as a backup, he is now heading to the falcons after they traded a 2nd round pick for him.

The Falcons in 2020

The Falcons have had a fantastic TE for the past few years in Austin Hooper. Halfway through the 2019 season, he was the TE 1 but unfortunately got injured. By the end of the season, even with injuries and not playing every game, Hooper still racked up 787 yards.

Hooper has now left and so has Mohamed Sanu. Sanu moved during the 2019 season to go to the Pats. With these two players gone, it’s left quite a few extra touches to be shared around. At the back end of last season, Ridley exploded with these extra targets. Those targets won’t be so easy for Ridley to have in 2020 which means Hurst can have a massive benefit.

The TE play in Atlanta

As Hooper has left to go join the Browns, Hurst will now be the No1 TE in Atlanta. Knowing how the Falcons used Hooper is where I find the value. Hurst isn’t a TE that can block well. But with the falcons that won’t matter too much. Hooper was rarely in blocking mode.

When I say rarely, you just need to look at Hooper’s targets. He was targeted 97 times in just 13 games. The fact that Hurst has been in the shadows originally dropped him down the draft. But he’s stepping into a system where he’s got the potential to be getting 70+ targets.

Hurst has Chemistry with Ryan

It’s been reported that Hurst has been driving back and forth from Jacksonville to Atlanta to throw with Matt Ryan. Ryan has come out and said that Hurst is one of the “fastest and most athletic tight ends I’ve ever played with.”

Don’t forget he’s played with Hooper and had success with him but also a TE named Tony Gonzalez. For those of you who don’t know who Gonzalez is, go look him up. Arguably one of if not the greatest TE to play modern-day NFL. Yes I’ve watched Gronk and he makes a very valid claim for the top spot but my preference goes with Gonzalez.

Anyway back to Hurst. If Matty Ice is saying these things about his new TE then slice me some pie. This is a pass-first offence and even with Julio and Ridley in the team, Hurst is going to get his share.

Pittsy – @PittsyNFL

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