Austin Hooper

Fantasy football 2020: Top 10 busts to avoid at major positions

Fantasy football 2020: Top 10 busts to avoid at major positions

Nobody likes a pessimist. But trust us: This advice is for your own good.

Just as finding a sleeper in the later rounds can separate you from your fantasy football competitors, spending premium draft capital on a player who flops can ruin your team. (Just ask anyone who drafted Antonio Brown in the first round last season.)

Identifying bust candidates is tricky business, though. As you'll see, many of the following players are talented fantasy options who deserve roster spots. But all of them come with red flags that could signal a serious drop-off in production in 2020, meaning they probably should be taken later than their average draft position.

So, if you're on the clock and see one of these players on the board, you may want to explore other options.

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NFL Rumors: Patriots target Austin Hooper to sign with Browns

NFL Rumors: Patriots target Austin Hooper to sign with Browns

Cross a tight end off the New England Patriots' wish list.

Pending free agent Austin Hooper will join the Cleveland Browns on a contract that will make him the NFL's highest-paid tight end, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Monday.

Hooper arguably was the top tight end on the free agent market after tallying career highs in receptions (75), receiving yards (787) and touchdown catches (six) for the Atlanta Falcons last season.

The 25-year-old said recently he'd "love" to play with quarterback Tom Brady and would have filled an obvious need for the Patriots, who relied on the underwhelming tight end trio of Ben Watson, Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo last season.

While LaCosse and Izzo are set to return in 2020, Watson just announced his retirement, and New England could use more depth at the position, regardless.

The Patriots still have options, though: The team reportedly is expected to pursue Eric Ebron in free agency while also "sniffing around" elsewhere on the tight end and wide receiver markets.

TE Austin Hooper: 'Everyone would love to play with Tom Brady'

TE Austin Hooper: 'Everyone would love to play with Tom Brady'

It's no secret that the New England Patriots are in need of help at the tight end position. After losing Rob Gronkowski to retirement last offseason, the team struggled to get any sort of production out of Matt LaCosse, Ben Watson, and Ryan Izzo.

As a result of their issues at tight end, the Patriots will probably look to find an upgrade at some point this offseason. They are reportedly interested in free agent Eric Ebron, among others.

But could they be interested in Austin Hooper? The Atlanta Falcons tight end is arguably the best player at his position on the open market. And it seems that he would like to play with at least one potential member of the Patriots.

When asked if he would like to play alongside Tom Brady, Hooper answered in the affirmative and paid respect to the veteran quarterback.

"Of course, everyone would love to play with Tom Brady,'' Hooper said per ESPN's Vaughn McClure. "He's one of [the] greatest of our generation.''

That mirrors closely what Tennessee Titans receiver A.J. Brown said about the potential opportunity to play with Brady. So, it's safe to assume that there are plenty of pass-catchers out there that would like to play with Brady.

If the Patriots do retain Brady -- they're reportedly one of the two teams left in Brady sweepstakes -- they'll likely add more offensive weapons to their arsenal. Could Hooper be one of them? It seems that he would at least be open to it.

We'll soon see what the Patriots do in free agency. They've already made a key move by extending Devin McCourty, and more moves should soon follow. With the league year scheduled to go on as planned, the legal tampering period to kick off free agency will open on Monday at 12 p.m.