Austin Hooper

Cleveland Browns
Tight End #81
Cleveland Browns
Tight End #81
Photo: Icon Sportswire

Austin Hooper News

Goes untargeted in win

Hooper was not targeted in Sunday's 21-16 win over the Bengals.

Analysis: Hooper took a step back in his second year with Cleveland, but he remains a big target and blocker at tight end. He had fewer targets (61), catches (38), yards (345) and touchdowns (three) relative to 2020. The 27-year-old tight end carries a big contract entering 2022, but the money isn't guaranteed per Zac Jackson of The Athletic, although he would cost the Browns $11 million against the cap if they chose to move on. While the return on investment is not commensurate with his salary, Hooper is a frequent target and a good blocker for a team that earns its wins through running the ball. If the Browns don't re-sign David Njoku -- there's reported interest on both sides -- then Hooper could reclaim all the targets and then some he lost in 2021.

Jan 10, 2022 3:50 PM EST

Targeted five times in loss

Hooper caught two of five targets for 28 yards in Monday's 26-14 loss to Pittsburgh.

Analysis: While it was position mates David Njoku's and Harrison Bryant's night to shine -- each scored a touchdown Monday -- Hooper remains heavily involved in the passing attack. He's been targeted at least five times in eight games this season, including five of the last six contests. His 61 targets are second on the team behind No.1 wideout Jarvis Landry.

Jan 4, 2022 5:19 AM EST

Quiet yet again

Hooper caught three passes for 26 yards on five targets against Green Bay on Saturday.

Analysis: When the Browns made Hooper one of the league's highest-paid tight ends as a free agent in 2020 it was assumed he'd be a focal point of the Cleveland offense, but through nearly two full seasons he has been both lightly used and highly inefficient, and he heads into the final two weeks of 2021 at risk of finishing with an average of less than 6.0 yards per target despite catching just 58.9 percent of his targets to this point. He has surpassed 42 yards in a game just once this year, so he might be touchdown-dependent for fantasy viability against the Steelers in Week 17.

Dec 25, 2021 5:22 PM EST

Activated from COVID list

Hooper has been activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Analysis: Hooper was unable to gain clearance to play in Monday's loss to the Raiders, but he's now poised to return to action for this Saturday's game against the Packers. In his last contest (Dec. 12 versus the Ravens), Hooper logged a 100 percent snaps share on offense, en route to catching five of his six targets for 30 yards and a TD. His return will bolster the Browns' tight end corps (which also includes David Njoku and Harrison Bryant) ahead of Week 16 action, and Hooper should see enough snaps/targets this weekend to merit fantasy lineup consideration.

Dec 22, 2021 9:08 AM EST

Won't play Week 15

Hooper (illness) wasn't reinstated from the reserve/COVID-19 list and won't be available for Monday's game against the Raiders, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Analysis: Even with the NFL pushing back Cleveland's Week 15 game an extra two days in addition to relaxing the return-to-play protocols for vaccinated individuals who test positive for COVID-19, Hooper and several other key Browns players weren't able to clear the necessary protocols prior to Monday's 5 p.m. ET kickoff. With Hooper and wideout Jarvis Landry (illness) both set to miss Monday's contest, fill-in starting quarterback Nick Mullens will likely have to make do with Donovan Peoples-Jones, Anthony Schwartz (concussion), Rashard Higgins and David Njoku as his top targets in the passing game.

Dec 20, 2021 10:28 AM EST

Browns-Raiders moved to Monday

Hooper (illness) and the Browns will no longer play the Raiders on Saturday, after the NFL officially rescheduled the matchup between the two teams for Monday at 5 p.m. ET.

Analysis: Due to ongoing COVID-19-related issues within the Cleveland organization, the NFL is hopeful that by delaying the game two days, the Browns will restore enough players from the reserve/COVID-19 list to alleviate depth concerns on the roster. Hooper -- one of 24 Cleveland players and 12 starters who has been placed on the list over the past week -- tested positive for the virus Tuesday. The NFL's decision to push the Week 15 game back two days will give Hooper some time to clear the necessary protocols, but he's not a lock to be available Monday. David Njoku would be in line to start Week 15 if Hooper isn't ready to go.

Dec 17, 2021 4:11 PM EST

Hits COVID-19 list

The Browns placed Hooper (undisclosed) on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday.

Analysis: Last Tuesday, Cleveland added tight ends David Njoku and Stephen Carlson to the reserve/COVID-19 list, and Hooper joins them this week along with five others, including Jarvis Landry (illness), on the active roster. The team has a quicker turnaround than normal with a Saturday matchup against the Raiders on tap, so the state of the TE room is in flux for Week 15. Currently, Harrison Bryant (ankle) and Miller Forristall are the members of the position group currently not on the COVID list.

Dec 14, 2021 10:27 AM EST

Scores in victory

Hooper caught five of seven targets for 30 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 24-22 win over the Ravens.

Analysis: Hooper tied for Cleveland's team lead in receptions and matched his season high in targets while fellow tight ends David Njoku (COVID) and Harrison Bryant (ankle) were both sidelined. Crucially, he also found the end zone with a one-yard reception during the second quarter. That marked Hooper's third touchdown of the campaign, and depending on the Browns' tight-end situation ahead of Week 15's Saturday game versus the Raiders, Hooper may have another favorable opportunity ahead.

Dec 12, 2021 1:43 PM EST

Lone tight end left standing

Hooper's slated to work as Cleveland's unquestioned top tight end Sunday against the Ravens, as Scott Petrak of The Chronicle-Telegram reports that Harrison Bryant (ankle) has been ruled out.

Analysis: Bryant will be joined on the sidelines by David Njoku and Stephen Carlson, who are both on the reserve/COVID-19 list, leaving practice squad tight end Miller Forristall as the only healthy body at the position behind Hooper. Cleveland's depth at tight end has led to an inconsistent season for Hooper, but he won't have to worry about sharing targets in this rematch with a Ravens team that held him without a catch in Week 12, when both Njoku and Bryant were healthy.

Dec 10, 2021 10:45 AM EST

Shut out in loss

Hooper did not catch any of three targets in Sunday's 16-10 loss to the Ravens.

Analysis: Hooper, who led Cleveland's tight ends in snaps, was shut out for the second time this season. As has been well documented, the Browns utilize their tight ends in the passing offense, so any one of Hooper, David Njoku (five targets) or Harrison Bryant (three targets) could set themselves apart in terms of production. When it comes to playing time, however, Hooper consistently tops the position group in snaps and leads in overall targets/touches. The Browns are off Week 13 and will return to action the following week at home against Baltimore.

Nov 29, 2021 3:39 AM EST

Racks up 53 yards

Hooper recorded four receptions on seven targets for 53 yards in Sunday's 13-10 win over the Lions.

Analysis: Hooper tied for the team-lead with four receptions and was only out-targeted by Jarvis Landry. As has become customary, he worked primarily in the short areas of the field. On the other hand, he managed two receptions of exactly 20 yards after entering the game with only one gain of at least 20 yards on the campaign. In the three contests since Odell Beckham's departure, Hooper has seen a combined 14 targets for 10 receptions, 92 yards and a touchdown.

Nov 21, 2021 5:59 PM EST

Finds end zone in blowout

Hooper caught four passes for 25 yards and one touchdown on five targets against New England on Sunday.

Analysis: The touchdown was the first of the day but the Browns went into the tank almost immediately afterward in the 45-7 loss. As much as the touchdown is an encouraging sign, Hooper just doesn't seem like a great fit in the Kevin Stefanski offense, and his usage is rarely a given since the Browns rotate in David Njoku and Harrison Bryant so aggressively. It will likely remain difficult to anticipate Hooper's infrequent productive games with the Brown.

Nov 14, 2021 2:13 PM EST

Grabs two passes in win

Hooper caught two of two targets for 14 yards in Sunday's 41-16 win over the Bengals.

Analysis: Hooper and the rest of Cleveland's tight ends shared seven targets with only David Njoku making an impact with a touchdown. It was the sixth straight game without a touchdown for Hooper, who had two red-zone targets (one called back by penalty) and leads the Browns with 10 such targets this season.

Nov 7, 2021 7:12 PM EST

Has season-high targets

Hooper caught four of six passes for 26 yards in Sunday's 15-10 loss to Pittsburgh.

Analysis: The six targets were a season-high for Hooper, who also had a pair of red-zone looks and leads Cleveland with eight targets inside the 20. Despite talk of the Browns utilizing him more this season, Hooper has two fewer targets per game than he had in 2020.

Nov 1, 2021 4:59 AM EST

Team-high receiving yardage total

Hooper brought in two of three targets for 42 yards in the Browns' 17-14 win over the Broncos on Thursday night.

Analysis: The seldom-used tight end was surprisingly the receiving yardage leader for the Browns on the night, with a game-long 34-yard grab fueling the majority of his production. Hooper had recorded just 101 receiving yards coming in -- including a meager 15 in his three prior games -- so Thursday's total equaled nearly half his production in that category to date. Hooper will hope to continue his ascent in a Week 8 AFC North clash with the Steelers a week from Sunday.

Oct 21, 2021 9:06 PM EST

Slump continues Week 6

Hooper caught one of three targets for four yards in Sunday's 37-14 loss to the Cardinals.

Analysis: Hooper had another red-zone target, giving him a team-high six chances inside an opponent's 20-yard line, but he's been a non-factor since Week 4. Cleveland's starting tight end has just two catches on eight targets over the last three contests. He continues to the play nearly 70 percent of the offensive snaps, so Hooper is positioned well on a team that uses its tight ends often. Unfortunately, the position group had just five targets, resulting in two catches for 10 yards in the loss to Arizona.

Oct 18, 2021 5:48 AM EST

Goes untargeted

Hooper was not targeted over 52 offensive snaps in Sunday's 47-42 loss to San Diego.

Analysis: Quarterback Baker Mayfield did not look Hooper's way, leaving the tight end without a catch for the first time in 2021. The first thought one might have is that tight ends were not used in a wide-open affair, but fellow tight end David Njoku was targeted seven times and rolled up 149 receiving yards.

Oct 11, 2021 6:24 AM EST

Out of sync with Mayfield

Hooper caught one of five targets for 11 yards in Sunday's 14-7 win over Minnesota.

Analysis: Hooper entered Week 4 having caught 10 of 11 targets, but quarterback Baker Mayfield was out of sync with all of his receivers during Sunday's win. The quarterback connected with a receiver just 15 times on 31 throws. Hooper is tied for the team lead with Odell Beckham at 16 targets, a sign that he's a more trusted option in the passing game during his second year in a Cleveland uniform.

Oct 4, 2021 5:05 AM EST

Scores first TD

Hooper caught two of three targets for 19 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown pass in Sunday's 26-6 win over Chicago.

Analysis: Hooper found an opening among three Bear defenders to score Cleveland's lone touchdown in four red-zone trips. It was his first touchdown of the season, as well as the first for Cleveland's tight ends. He's caught 10 of 11 targets for 86 yards through three games.

Sep 27, 2021 5:38 AM EST

Five catches in win

Hooper secured all five targets for 40 yards in the Browns' 31-21 win over the Texans on Sunday.

Analysis: All three of the Browns' tight ends saw expanded roles Sunday with Odell Beckham (knee) once again out of action and Jarvis Landry (knee) exiting the game in the first quarter. Hooper led his position group in catches and targets, although Harrison Bryant outpaced him in yardage by nine. The veteran has a solid 8-67 line on eight targets through his first two games, but both Bryant and David Njoku are more athletic downfield threats. Nevertheless, Hooper could be in for another relatively busy afternoon against the Bears in Week 3 if Beckham and/or Landry are sidelined.

Sep 19, 2021 2:55 PM EST

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