Player Analysis: DeAndre Hopkins
Since entering the league in 2013, DeAndre Hopkins, “Nuk” has been one of the few players out there who is yet to miss a game. After a ridiculous 2015 season, and with Zero-RB being all the rage heading into 2016, Hopkins was being drafted in the first round, and rightfully so. All the signs were there, a steady target, reception, TDs, air yards, and receiving yards increase over his first three years, and it only made sense that Nuk was looking like the next sure fire thing at the WR position. It is also worth noting that at Clemson, Hopkins also went through an eerily similar steady progression from 2010 to 2012.
There has been a lot of controversy in the Fantasy community about whether or not you can trust Hopkins moving forward. Clearly, Brock Osweiler was an absolute train wreck, but Tom Savage can’t be any worse, right? The hopes of Tony Romo to the Texans are past, and now we must face the reality that is, Tom Savage. Assuming the Texans don’t go for a QB this year of course, which of course isn’t out of the question by any means.
Anyway, assuming Tom Savage is the starter, obviously we need to look back and see how Hopkins played with him.
Week 15: Tom Savage enters the game against the Jaguars after Osweiler starts off with 2 interceptions. He ends up with a solid stat line of 23 of 36 for 260 passing yards, with no TDs or interceptions, but he did lead them down the field that resulted in a 52-yard drive ending on a TD run by Lamar Miller. Here’s what matters most to me, Hopkins was targeted 17 times by Savage, and ended up catching 8 for 87 yards. Not to mention, he was being shadowed by Jalen Ramsey multiple times.
Week 16: Tom Savage once again goes into the game as the starter, this week against the Bengals. This game was a little odd scoring wise, after the third quarter, the score was tied 3-3. Savage finished the game going 18 of 29 for 260 passing yards, and once again with 0 TDs and 0 interceptions. Again, what matters most to me here is Hopkins, who ended up catching 3 of 6 targets for 43 yards. It is worth noting that this game was a very low scoring one, and Hopkins led the team in yards with 43 and had 3 receptions, while the leader in receptions was TE C.J. Fiedorowicz with 4 catches.
Week 17: Tom Savage did start in week 17, but he left the game early in the second quarter after a big hit that resulted in a concussion. Hopkins caught just 1 ball on 2 targets from Savage in this short time. After Osweiler entered the game for Savage, Nuk ended with 7 catches on 11 targets for 123 yards and no TDs.
This small amount of data that we have to develop an outlook on Hopkins and Savage moving forward is extremely limited. You’re looking at 25 targets, 12 catches, 138 yards, and 0 TDs for Hopkins during this timeframe. 17 targets on a high scoring division game, followed by just 6 targets on a very low scoring game with Cincinnati, makes this Hopkins situation a little murky moving forward. One thing that is important for me when looking at Hopkins, is his targets and receptions were both down almost 40 each from 2015.
For Redraft Leagues, Hopkins is a guy I will gladly take slightly later in the draft, as his current value and ADP is tending to drop. His air yards were also down almost 900 from 2015 as well. These are some huge hits when you’re talking about volume for a WR, however I am not counting him out yet. His numbers were clearly down significantly, but I am putting a large portion of that blame on Osweiler. I am not thrilled about Savage by any means, but based off these few games they had together, I’ll gladly buy in on Hopkins. I mean 17 targets per game against the Jaguars, you’re talking 289 targets on the year. This is an absolutely absurd number to fathom, but if Savage is going to realize he has Nuk out there with his sticky hands, I am a believer that they will turn it around in 2017.
For Redraft Leagues, I’d approach Hopkins as a solid WR2 with some serious upside. This is not crazy to think about considering his current ADP and value, most owners are likely down on Nuk. Hopkins is being drafted as the 11th WR off the board in MFL public league drafts, as of 4/6/17. I expect this number to increase some as the season rolls around, but Hopkins could have some serious value behind his name in 2017.
For Dynasty Leagues, Hopkins may be someone that many owners are not as down on as they are in Redraft Leagues and MFL10s. In Dynasty League drafts, Hopkins is currently the 6th WR off the board, showing that Dynasty owners clearly still believe in him. I am buying in on Hopkins as well, and Hopkins will only be 25 years old this year, making him a very valuable and high upside asset moving forward.