The Falcons invested a second-round pick in Hayden Hurst when they traded it to the Baltimore Ravens, a franchise that gave up on him just two years after investing the No. 25 overall pick on him. Hurst wasn't able to replace Austin Hooper's production in 2020, but in the dead zone that is the TE position in Fantasy after the big three, he finished as a TE1. That won't be the case in 2021 after the team drafted Kyle Pitts and proceeded to not pick up Hurst's 2022 fifth-year team option. Hurst seems more likely to be traded or cut than to return Fantasy value on the Falcons in 2021.
The Falcons aren't exercising the fifth-year option on Hurst's rookie contract, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports. The 2018 first-round pick got his big shot after a trade from Baltimore to Atlanta, but Hurst was underwhelming in his first season with the Falcons, putting up a modest 56-571-6 receiving line despite playing 70 percent of the snaps in a pass-happy Atlanta offense. He'll be working with a new coaching staff led by Arthur Smith in 2021, but the more important development for fantasy purposes is the Falcons' recent addition of No. 4 overall pick Kyle Pitts, the only FBS tight end to reach 700 receiving yards last season. Even if Hurst remains the nominal starter, he'll likely be replaced by Pitts in a lot of passing situations.
Hurst is part of an Atlanta offense that now includes TE Kyle Pitts, the fourth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, ESPN.com's Michael Rothstein reports. A first-round pick himself, Hurst finally got his big chance in 2020, playing 70 percent of Atlanta's offensive snaps while averaging 5.5 targets per game. He finished with a 56/571/6 receiving line and only 6.5 yards per target, while Pitts had 770 yards and 12 TDs in only eight games for Florida last season. The uber-prospect won't necessarily be a nominal starter right away, but he should be Atlanta's top receiving threat at tight end right out of the gate. That leaves Hurst on shaky footing ahead of his fourth pro season, with the Falcons perhaps declining the fifth-year option on his rookie contract -- a decision they'll need to make by Monday afternoon.
Hurst reeled in four of six targets for 28 yards and a touchdown during Sunday's 44-27 loss to the Buccaneers. Hurst's fourth-quarter TD catch helped reduce Atlanta's deficit to three points with 8:19 to go, as the 27-year-old tight end concluded his 2020 campaign with scores in three straight games. His 56 receptions, 571 receiving yards and six TDs all represent huge increases from previous career highs established during his first two NFL seasons in Baltimore. The Falcons have a decision to make on Hurst's fifth-year option going into the offseason, but it's hard to imagine there's another tight end on the roster capable of making equal contributions as a pass catcher.
Hurst corralled all five of his targets for 47 yards and a touchdown during Sunday's 17-14 loss to the Chiefs. Hurst tallied his second TD in as many games, punching in a score at the 3:35 mark of the second quarter via a Matt Ryan shovel pass. The 27-year-old tight end has shattered career highs across the board, with 52 receptions, 543 receiving yards and five TDs heading into a Week 17 finale against the Buccaneers. Hurst scored against Tampa Bay last Sunday in a 31-27 loss, a not-so-infrequent pattern for tight ends as the Buccaneers have surrendered eight to the position in 2020.
Hurst caught four of five targets for 21 yards and a touchdown during Sunday's 31-27 loss to the Buccaneers. The 27-year-old was held under 25 receiving yards for a third consecutive outing, but his third-quarter TD grab snapped a seven-game scoring drought. Hurst was right near his season average of 5.4 targets per game in Week 15, as Julio Jones (hamstring) sat out a second straight contest. Hurst could be lined up for another solid outing in Week 16, taking on a Chiefs defense that's surrendered the sixth-most receiving yards to opposing tight ends this season.
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/19||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||21||7.80|
|3||09/26||@New York Giants||11||6.63|
|4||10/03||Washington Football Team||9||6.47|
|5||10/10||New York Jets||32||11.25|
|9||11/07||@New Orleans Saints||18||7.56|
|11||11/18||New England Patriots||7||6.13|
|13||12/05||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||21||7.80|
|15||12/19||@San Francisco 49ers||1||4.50|
|18||01/09||New Orleans Saints||18||7.56|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||50||33||361||3||20||10.94||54|