Hunter Henry is doing something that only a handful of tight ends in NFL history have accomplished: be consistently relevant in fantasy football. He is showing that he is a special talent, as the other players to do this were definite names, like Rob Gronkowski and Mike Ditka (though Ditka did it before fantasy football). He’s quickly becoming what many hoped/thought Ladarius Green would become, a successor to Antonio Gates who would be able to learn at his legendary feet. Injuries to Gates have allowed Henry to usurp his role in the offense swiftly, and he is in line for a big game this weekend.[embedit snippet=”jeff-ads”]
Through the first two games, Henry received exactly two targets. Starting in week three, the Chargers began to increase Henry’s role in the offense, giving him an average of six targets per game. He has responded by going over seven fantasy points in all four games and going for 12, 13 and 14 in his last three games. He is a key cog in the San Diego offense and is quickly rising up the fantasy football tight end ranks to becoming a weekly must-start.
I’ve previously outlined two points with regards to startable TEs: you are looking for seven or more fantasy points, and you need them to be consistent to be weekly starters. Since his role in the Chargers offense opened up, Henry has done both. He’s a talented high-opportunity, a high-yardage player who is a favored red zone target, which is precisely what you’re looking for in your tight end.
This week Henry takes on a prime opponent in the Atlanta Falcons, and with Antonio Gates admitting he has lingering hamstring issues, he is primed to make use of the opportunity. The Falcons have allowed the fourth-most points to tight ends this year, and that includes a game against the Broncos, who do not care about the tight end in the slightest. Other than the Denver game, seven tight ends in five games have gone for at least 80 yards or a score. They are dismal against the tight end, and Henry is going to take full advantage of that this weekend.
Hunter Henry is still criminally disrespected among many fantasy football players, as he is only owned in 77% of Yahoo! Leagues (and 100% of my leagues). He is bucking the trend that rookie tight ends can’t contribute in fantasy football, and he will continue to do so as Antonio Gates stays hobbled. This weekend he will feast as the Chargers head to Atlanta and take on a Falcons defense that cannot stop the tight end in what promises to be a shootout.