Hayden Hurst

Hayden Hurst

TE - CAR
Height: 6-4
Weight: 260 lbs
Age: 30
College: South Carolina
Carolina Panthers

2023 Season Outlooks

On his third team in three years, Hurst hopes to help the Panthers as a middle-field target for rookie Bryce Young. Sadly, Hurst's receiving average has dropped in each of his five seasons and last year he saw three or fewer touchdowns for the fourth time in five years. If there's a glimmer of hope it's that the Panthers receiving corps is awfully shallow, providing Hurst with a chance to see more than the 5.2 targets per game he averaged in 2022. His Week 1 matchup at Atlanta won't be impossible, so at the very least you could draft Hurst with a late-round pick and then hope he gets your team off to a good start this fall. He shouldn't get picked until at least 20 other tight ends get taken, which means he might not get drafted at all.

Hurst isn’t exciting, but he doesn’t need to be. Carolina paid him like a key offensive piece in free agency, and he joins an iffy set of pass catchers.

On top of that, early ADP finds Hurst going very late. You can draft him as a TE2 and find someone with a path to rank at least among his team’s top 2 in targets.

Although we project Hurst in the middle of TE2 range, it wouldn’t be shocking if he flirted with a top-12 finish in PPR.

What We Learned Last YearHurst set a career high with 4.0 receptions per game in his lone season with the Bengals.His 31.8 yards per game fell short of his 2020 high, thanks primarily to a career-low 8.0 yards per catch. That ranked 31st among 32 TEs with 30+ targets last year, beating only Cleveland’s Harrison Bryant.Hurst also ranked second-to-last in that group in average depth of target (5.3) and tied for just 24th in yards after catch per reception. That’s particularly disappointing for a guy who entered the league with a 78th-percentile 40 time among TEs.His yards per route checked in 28th. His Pro Football Focus receiving grade a better 17th.Hurst also ranked 17th in passer rating on balls thrown his way, despite playing with Joe Burrow – PFF’s leader in passing grade.He ranked 18th among TEs in target share and finished 18th in PPR points per game.
What to Expect in 2023The Panthers gave Hurst the biggest TE contract in free agency: $21.75 million over three years. That $7.25 million annual average ranks 17th at the position for 2023.Hurst said his season in Cincinnati marked the first time a team “let me be me.” He did enter the league in the same Ravens draft class as Mark Andrews, whom Hurst immediately fell behind. (An August injury that delayed the start of Hurst’s rookie season didn’t help.) And then Kyle Pitts arrived in Hurst’s second Atlanta season. In between, he set a career high with 35.7 receiving yards per game in 2020.Hurst says he’s looking to be the “best friend” on the field for rookie QB Bryce Young, providing a reliable option within 10 yards of the line and down the seam. His contract says the Panthers envision the same.Hurst’s competition for targets includes: 33-year-old WR Adam ThielenWR D.J. Chark, on just $5 million, one-year dealRound 2 rookie WR Jonathan MingoWR Terrace Marshall and his 45 total receptions through two pro seasons

Hurst signed with the Panthers after spending his first five seasons with the Ravens, Falcons and Bengals. The 2018 first-round pick has proven a reliable target (he has two drops on 250 career targets), but he hasn't shown much fantasy upside, having produced one career top-20 fantasy campaign (10th in 2020). That 2020 season was also the only time Hurst cleared three TDs in a season. The 30-year-old enjoyed a career-high 14.8% target share in 2022 and new Carolina coach Frank Reich has a TE-friendly track record. However, Hurst failed to reach TE1 status in an elite Bengals' offense, so doing so in a rebuilding Carolina offense with a rookie QB (Bryce Young) is a long shot. He's a fringe TE2.

2023 Fantasy Football Rankings

Standard

#233

PPR

#199

Half-PPR

#159

Superflex

#228

2023 Fantasy Football Draft Projections

Rush Yds Rush TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD
48.4 447.0 3.2

2023 Average Draft Position (ADP)

Standard

#222

Pick 19.06

PPR

#230

Pick 20.02

Half-PPR

#206

Pick 18.02

Superflex

#224

Pick 19.08

Injury Risk

Injury Risk:
High

Depth Chart

Depth Chart Not Available

Strength of Schedule

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