T.J. Hockenson

Detroit Lions
Tight End #38
Detroit Lions
Tight End #38
Photo: Icon Sportswire

T.J. Hockenson News

Fifth-year option picked up

The Lions officially exercised Hockenson's (thumb) fifth year option for 2023 on Tuesday, Eric Woodyard of ESPN.com reports.

Analysis: General manager Brad Holmes indicated in late March the Lions would be picking up the option, and the team that transaction official Tuesday. A long-term deal could still come to fruition, but Hockenson is now under contract for the next two seasons. The 24-year-old caught 61 of 84 targets for 583 yards and four touchdowns in 12 games in 2021 before undergoing season-ending thumb surgery. There hasn't been any concern regarding his availability for offseason workouts during the spring and summer.

Apr 26, 2022 4:23 PM EST

Fifth-year option to be exercised

General manager Brad Holmes confirmed Tuesday that he intends to pick up the fifth-year option on Hockenson's (thumb) contract, Justin Rogers of The Detroit News reports.

Analysis: Expect the Lions to formally make the decision before the May 2 deadline, though it is possible that Hockenson could agree to a long-term deal before then. In any case, there doesn't seem to be any concern that the tight end's season-ending thumb injury will impact his availability for offseason workouts this spring and summer.

Mar 30, 2022 12:45 PM EST

Should be healthy soon

Hockenson (thumb) recently said he'll be healthy for the start of the Lions' offseason program, Kyle Meinke of MLive.com reports. "I'm almost there already, and it's only been a few weeks," he said. "Just a few more left, and I'll be 100% by the offseason."

Analysis: The tight end had surgery on his left thumb in mid-December, thus wrapping up 2021 with a 61-583-4 receiving line in 12 games (84 targets, 7.0 per week). Hockenson now enters the fourth and final year of his rookie contract, though the Lions presumably will exercise a fifth-year option before the May 2 deadline. He should retain breakout hype/appeal as he enters his age-25 season, especially if the Lions upgrade at other positions this spring. Hockenson is one of the core pieces of Detroit's rebuild and a true three-down tight end.

Jan 19, 2022 9:46 AM EST

Moved to IR

Hockenson (thumb) was placed on injured reserve Friday.

Analysis: The 24-year-old tight end had season-ending surgery Thursday on his left thumb, wrapping up 2021 with 61 catches for 583 yards and four touchdowns in 12 games (84 targets). Hockenson should have plenty of time to recover before the offseason program, while Shane Zylstra and Brock Wright are left to take over at tight end for the final four weeks of the 2021 campaign.

Dec 17, 2021 4:30 PM EST

Undergoes season-ending surgery

Hockenson had season-ending surgery on his left thumb Thursday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

Analysis: The first inclination that Hockenson may be dealing with a serious injury was last Thursday, when he was spotted with a heavy wrap on his left hand. He eventually was deemed doubtful for Week 14 action and inactive Sunday in Denver. Upon returning to Detroit earlier this week, coach Dan Campbell relayed hope that Hockenson would be able to play Week 15, but the ensuing procedure will be his campaign to an abrupt conclusion, with the expectation he'll complete his recovery by the offseason program. Hockenson will end his third season as a pro with 61 catches (on 84 targets) for 583 yards and four touchdowns in 12 appearances. The Lions will turn to Brock Wright and practice squad member Shane Zylstra at tight end down the stretch.

Dec 16, 2021 10:36 AM EST

Absent from practice

Hockenson (hand) isn't participating in Thursday's practice, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports.

Analysis: Since turning in a limited session last Wednesday due to the left hand injury, Hockenson hasn't taken any reps in any of the Lions' subsequent four practices. He was listed as doubtful before being placed on the inactive list for last week's loss to the Broncos, and unless he gets back on the field in some capacity Friday, Hockenson will likely carry a designation into this weekend's contest against Arizona, if he's not ruled out beforehand. Backup tight ends Shane Zylstra (63 percent of offensive snaps, six targets) and Brock Wright (55 percent, five targets) saw similar workloads and involvement in the passing game while Hockenson was sidelined in Denver.

Dec 16, 2021 10:16 AM EST

No practice Wednesday

Hockenson (hand) will not practice Wednesday, Chris Burke of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: Hockenson couldn't suit up for Week 14's loss to Denver, and though Dan Campbell said he's "hopeful" the tight end will return for Week 15, Burke theorizes that he's trending in the wrong direction. In any case, Hockenson will almost certainly need to return to practice in at least a limited fashion prior to Sunday's game against the Cardinals, if he is to secure any chance of suiting up. Top running back D'Andre Swift (shoulder) is also sitting out Wednesday's session.

Dec 15, 2021 9:06 AM EST

Optimism regarding Week 15 return

Coach Dan Campbell said Monday he's "hopeful" Hockenson (hand) will be available for Sunday's game against the Cardinals.

Analysis: Campbell said the same of D'Andre Swift (shoulder), so it looks like it's possible both of Detroit's top offensive weapons could be back on the field versus Arizona. In the event that Hockenson needs more time to rest, however, undrafted rookie Brock Wright and Shane Zylstra will once again be called upon to hold down the fort at tight end.

Dec 14, 2021 6:29 AM EST

Sitting out in Week 14

Hockenson (hand) is inactive for Sunday's game at Denver.

Analysis: After opening Week 14 prep with a limited session, Hockenson didn't practice at all Thursday and Friday. In the process, he was seen Thursday with a heavy wrap on his left hand, an injury that will force his first absence since the 2019 season finale. With Hockenson sidelined, the Lions will trot out undrafted rookie Brock Wright and practice squad member Shane Zylstra at tight end.

Dec 12, 2021 11:36 AM EST

Doubtful for Sunday

Hockenson (hand) is listed as doubtful for Sunday's game in Denver, Tim Twentyman of the Lions' official site reports.

Analysis: Hockenson was a limited practice participant Wednesday before sitting out Thursday and Friday, with Detroit beat reporters noticing a heavy wrap over his left hand. The Lions are woefully thin for the upcoming contest, with around half the roster missing practice time this week due to some combination of injuries, a flu bug and COVID-19. With Hockenson likely missing the upcoming game, Brock Wright figures to step in as Detroit's top tight end.

Dec 10, 2021 1:18 PM EST

Misses practice again

Hockenson (hand) didn't practice Friday, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports.

Analysis: Coach Dan Campbell acknowledged RB D'Andre Swift (shoulder) is unlikely to play this week but didn't make any similar comments about Hockenson. The tight end has now missed back-to-back practices after a limited session Wednesday, with Friday's injury report potentially revealing if he's in real danger of missing the game in Denver on Sunday.

Dec 10, 2021 10:52 AM EST

Sits out Thursday's practice

Hockenson (hand) didn't practice Thursday.

Analysis: During the portion of Thursday's session open to the media, Hockenson was spotted with a heavy tape job on his left hand, according to Justin Rogers of The Detroit News. Hockenson's downgrade from limited Wednesday to no activity one day later may merely be maintenance-related, but Friday's injury report will relay whether the tight end is in possible danger of sitting out this weekend.

Dec 9, 2021 1:33 PM EST

Dealing with hand issue

Hockenson (hand) was listed as limited on Wednesday's estimated injury report.

Analysis: The hand injury is a new health concern for Hockenson after avoiding practice limitations since Week 8 prep. During that five-game stretch, he racked up a 23-224-2 line on 31 targets. Assuming he gets past the current issue by week's end, Hockenson again will serve as one of the Lions' top receiving options, but who will be throwing him passes is a question mark with Jared Goff unable to practice Wednesday due to an illness.

Dec 8, 2021 1:13 PM EST

Snags another touchdown

Hockenson caught four of eight targets for 49 yards and one touchdown during Sunday's 29-27 win over Minnesota.

Analysis: Hockenson found the painted area for the second straight week as his up-and-down usage continues. Through 12 games, the tight end has seen eight or more targets eight times while seeing three or less targets in the remaining four games. Thankfully, this week brought with it the former and Hockenson used it to come through with a strong stat line. However, if D'Andre Swift (shoulder) remains sidelined in Week 14, fantasy managers will need to cross their fingers he doesn't get schemed out of the game plan by a decent Denver secondary.

Dec 5, 2021 3:32 PM EST

Snags Thanksgiving touchdown

Hockenson secured three of three targets for 35 yards and one touchdown during Thursday's 16-14 loss to Chicago.

Analysis: Not only entering the week outside the top 60 players in terms of red-zone targets, Hockenson has now seen eight or more targets seven times while logging three or less targets in the other four outings. While this up-and-down usage has occasionally been a death sentence for his fantasy output, the Iowa product managed to overcome his minimal usage Thursday by snagging a 17-yard score in the third quarter. However, that was just his second touchdown since Week 2, and it may be difficult to build upon this performance in Week 13 against a Vikings defense that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to tight ends in 2021.

Nov 25, 2021 2:21 PM EST

Bounces back with six receptions

Hockenson recorded six receptions on eight targets for 51 yards in Sunday's 13-10 loss to the Browns.

Analysis: After failing to find the stat sheet against Pittsburgh in Week 10, Hockenson bounced back to record at least six receptions for the fourth time in his last five games. His biggest gain of the day came late in the fourth quarter on a 24-yard reception, though the drive ultimately stalled and concluded in a punt. While he was otherwise limited to short-area catches, Hockenson has now topped 50 yards in five contests this season heading into a Week 12 matchup against the Bears.

Nov 21, 2021 2:45 PM EST

Blanked by Steelers

Hockenson was targeted once but he did not record a catch during Sunday's 16-16 tie with the Steelers.

Analysis: It is not believed that Hockenson was dealing with any sort of injury. Instead, it seemed like he was yet again victim to Detroit's Jared Goff-led passing attack that generated 114 yards on the day. Since Hockenson entered the week averaging eight targets per game with 31 targets in his previous three games, fantasy managers should expect some sort of rebound in Week 11 against Cleveland, but this outing should be a reminder that the floor for even Goff's best pass catchers is apparently zero in any given week.

Nov 14, 2021 7:03 PM EST

Snags double-digit receptions

Hockenson caught 10 of 11 targets for 89 yards during Sunday's 44-6 loss to the Eagles.

Analysis: Seeing more than double the number of targets as the next closest player on the team, Hockenson was the only avenue through which the Lions were able to find success. However, through eight games, the tight end has now seen at least eight targets six times, which is a claim that only one other tight end in the NFL (Travis Kelce) can make. While Hockenson won't have Kelce's upside as long as Jared Goff is throwing him the ball, his usage rate is elite and it's likely that Hockenson is just approaching his physical peak. The No. 8 pick of the 2019 NFL Draft will remain a top fantasy option when the Lions return from their Week 9 bye.

Oct 31, 2021 2:08 PM EST

Cleared for Week 8

Hockenson (ankle/knee) doesn't have an injury designation for Sunday's game against the Eagles.

Analysis: Despite being listed on the injury report for much of the season, Hockenson has played at least 80 percent of snaps on offense in every game, with his 53 targets narrowly topping D'Andre Swift's 52 for the team lead. The third-year tight end should be a big part of Detroit's gameplan this Sunday against a slumping Philadelphia defense.

Oct 29, 2021 12:42 PM EST

Remains limited at practice

Hockenson (ankle/knee) was limited at Thursday's practice, Tim Twentyman of the Lions' official site

Analysis: Despite a rotating cast of Lions wide receivers, Hockenson hasn't been incredibly efficient with his workload, with his 53 targets going at a clip of 6.8 YPT. He's also reached the end zone just twice in seven games. Assuming he puts his ankle and knee injuries behind him ahead of Sunday's game, Hockenson will look to exploit an Eagles defense that has given up the second-most catches (46, tied with the Ravens) to tight ends this season.

Oct 28, 2021 1:58 PM EST

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