Minnesota Vikings TE T.J. Hockenson is being placed on injured reserve with a torn ACL and MCL suffered in Week 16 vs. the Detroit Lions. Hockenson won’t return this season and the injury comes at an inopportune time for fantasy football managers as we approach championship week. Here we’ll go over your options to replace Hockenson for fantasy football, both internally and on the waiver wire in Week 17.
Fantasy football advice: T.J. Hockenson injury
Internal options on Vikings
With Hockenson out for most of Week 16 vs. the Lions, we saw two tight ends see snaps. Hock finished with 24 snaps while backups Josh Oliver Johnny Mundt picked up additional playing time. Oliver finished with just 20 snaps while Mundt had 23. Oliver had one catch for 33 yards while Mundt had one catch for 23 yards. Mundt had three targets to Oliver’s two. It was a pretty even split between the two tight ends.
We also saw WR Jordan Addison go down and is week-to-week for the Vikings. If Hock and Addison are both out, the true internal option to replace Hockenson is likely WR KJ Osborn. He’d see the most increase in targets as a result of Hockenson being out. Of course, Osborn isn’t a tight end but if you are looking for someone to replace the production of Hockenson, it could mean bringing in Osborn and looking for another tight end on waivers.
Oliver and Mundt don’t seem like realistic options for fantasy football, though Oliver does have two TDs this season. He also had four catches for 47 yards vs. the Broncos earlier in the season while Hock was healthy. In deeper formats where you’re options are slim, Oliver could be a good pickup. Worst case, Oliver splits snaps with Mundt, but that would still likely net him around 30 offensive plays. It feels risky in a championship week, so let’s look at some waiver options.
Waiver wire options to replace Hockenson
There are a few decent options to decide between on the wire. The most popular could be Tennessee Titans TE Chig Okonkwo, who is coming off six catches for 63 yards and a TD last week. The Titans face a reeling Texans defense that has struggled while the team has been without QB CJ Stroud. Okonkwo also benefitted from veteran QB Ryan Tannehill starting in place of the injured Will Levis. Monitor Levis’ status this week and whether or not Tannehill will be back. Stroud’s status is also important here as well.
We saw the Atlanta Falcons get TE Kyle Pitts involved again this week. Pitts had three catches on four targets for 49 yards and a TD in the Falcons’ win over the Colts. Over the past four games, Pitts has 13 catches for 194 yards and two TDs. The Falcons also get a good matchup against the Chicago Bears in a game Atlanta needs to stay alive in the NFC playoff picture. Also be sure the Falcons stick with QB Taylor Heinicke, who had a decent game against Indy.
Going back to that Texans-Titans game, if Stroud returns for Houston, TE Dalton Schultz becomes a viable TE option in most fantasy football formats. Schultz was solid in PPR this past week with eight catches on 10 targets for 61 yards vs. the Browns with a combination of Case Keenum and Davis Mills at QB. Even if the Texans go with Mills, Schultz would see a lot of targets again.
Schultz, Pitts and Okonkwo feel like the elite TE options on the waiver wire if you’re in a bind. You could also do OK with TE Logan Thomas if the Commanders roll with Jacoby Brissett at QB over Sam Howell. Also don’t sleep on Pat Freiermuth with the Steelers looking at starting QB Mason Rudolph in Week 17. My final recommendation would be Rams TE Tyler Higbee vs. the New York Giants.