One of the biggest moves of the offseason was the Houston Texans trading DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals. Hopkins has consistently been a top-five wide receiver in the league despite playing with a carousel of quarterbacks until Deshaun Watson arrived in Houston. For many, getting traded to yet another new quarterback would be cause for worry. However, Kyler Murray showed enough in his rookie season to inspire optimism around the team coming into 2020. Still, while Hopkins and Murray are a combination that is now likely to be around a while, it is unlikely that Hopkins remains the target-hog he has been during his time with the Texans.
DeAndre Hopkins Fantasy Football Preview
Time with the Texans in Review
Hopkins finished as the WR5 in half-point PPR leagues last year. And aside from a fluke 2016 season, top finishes have become the norm for Hopkins. Most of that comes from the insane number of targets he garners. Since 2015, he hasn’t seen less than 150 targets in a season. And, he has double-digit touchdowns in three of those five years.
There is no denying Hopkins’ talent as an elite receiver. And while he hasn’t always had the best quarterbacks throwing him the ball, he has benefitted from not having any real competition for targets. Will Fuller has shown flashes of big-play potential, but he doesn’t necessarily garner a ton of looks. In addition, Fuller is hurt every other game. This has helped Hopkins immensely during his time in Houston.
Producing in a New Environment
One thing that Hopkins will have in Arizona is other competent wideouts. Larry Fitzgerald is a definite future Hall of Famer who will continue to work out of the slot. He may be in the twilight of his career, but at least for 2020, he will still be a part of the offense. Last year Fitzgerald led the team in receptions with 75. Many of those will probably transfer over to Hopkins, but don’t expect him to just disappear.
In addition, Christian Kirk looks like an up-and-coming player. He was limited to 14 games but was only seven catches behind Fitzgerald. Both wideouts saw over 100 targets.
In real life, having three great wide receivers is great. Quarterbacks can spread the ball around and defenses don’t really know where to shift their coverage. But from a fantasy standpoint, it doesn’t necessarily benefit Hopkins. He is used to defenses knowing where the ball is going, but still making things happen anyway.
But the biggest issue could be how quickly he is able to develop chemistry with his new quarterback and learn the new system with the Cardinals. With COVID-19 all but eliminating offseason programs, it there is a legitimate concern for players who find themselves on new teams. Hopkins remains a top-talent, but it doesn’t mean it will immediately translate to fantasy performance.
DeAndre Hopkins ADP and Outlook
Looking at the top-ten wide receivers, Hopkins is the only one to find himself on a new team. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are the only ones to get a new quarterback, but that guy also happens to be the one and only Tom Brady. And Hopkins is still consistently rated inside the top-five and a fringe first-round pick. This ADP is similar to last year’s when sucking in at least 150 targets was a given. But considering the fact that he could see one-third of his targets disappear on his new team, that price is rather steep.
For team owners targeting a wide receiver in redraft round one, they should have no problem going after Michael Thomas or Davante Adams, but Hopkins as a first-round pick, or even early second is a bit scary. It might be better to stick with a running back, even if he isn’t necessarily a tier-one guy. Players can wait and come back to target someone like Kenny Golladay or D.J. Moore with their next pick to scratch that wide receiver itch.
Overall, Hopkins still has a long, productive career ahead of him. But 2020 could be the one year to avoid him in fantasy to see how things go in his new environment.
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