We’re in the thick of the NFL offseason and it’s officially time to start fantasy football prep. I’ll be answering the biggest questions heading into the 2021 season. Click here to read the series of questions answered so far.
The list of wide receivers who have been better than DeAndre Hopkins since he entered the league in 2013 is either brief or non-existent. The three-time All-Pro has been nothing short of spectacular during his eight-year career despite spending the first half of it with the sort of quarterback play that would make Andre Johnson and Allen Robinson blush.
Fast forward to 2021 and Hopkins remains one of the single best players at his position. Just ask all-world CB Jalen Ramsey, who dubbed the artist known as Nuk as his single-toughest cover in the league. Father Time remains undefeated, but Hopkins is just 29 years old and showed no signs of slowing down in 2020.
What follows is a breakdown on just how good Hopkins has been during his career and what we should expect from him as well as the rest of the Arizona Cardinals’ receivers as fantasy assets ahead of 2021.
Credit to Hopkins for almost always making the most out of his opportunities
Pick a stat, any stat: Hopkins has been one of the NFL’s best wide receivers since he stepped foot on a professional football field:
- PFF receiving grade: 93.9 (No. 4 among 208 wide receivers with 100-plus targets since 2013)
- Receptions: 747 (No. 1)
- Receiving yards: 10,009 (No. 2)
- Receiving touchdowns: 60 (No. 4)
- Yards per route run: 2.06 (No. 17)
- Percentage of catchable balls caught: 91.8% (tied for No. 26)
- Drop rate: 3.3% (tied for No. 6)
This was more true than ever in 2020, as Hopkins posted a sterling 115-1,407-6 receiving line in his first season catching passes from Kyler Murray. Overall, he improved in virtually every meaningful efficiency metric from 2019 to 2020, noticeably racking up a career-high 22 forced missed tackles along the way.
DeAndre Hopkins making dudes miss pic.twitter.com/ndvrvjhsvi
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) July 13, 2021
There simply isn’t a part of the game where Hopkins is anything other than excellent. On 154 targets last season, he dropped *one* pass. Madness.
Corners typically have a tough time stopping Hopkins even when they get lucky and don’t fall victim to some of his route-running high jinks. Overall, Hopkins is PFF’s third-highest-graded receiver on contested targets since 2017, and he tied Allen Robinson for the league lead in contested catches in single coverage last season with 39.
In recent years, Hopkins has had the benefit of playing with Deshaun Watson and Kyler Murray. Thank goodness, because the first four seasons of his career featured the following quarterbacks under center for the Houston Texans:
- Matt Schaub
- Case Keenum
- T.J. Yates
- Ryan Fitzpatrick
- Ryan Mallett
- Tom Savage
- Brian Hoyer
- Brandon Weeden
- Brock Osweiler
Moral of the story: Hopkins is absolutely fantastic at his job and is anyone’s idea of a top-five wide receiver in both real life and fantasy.
Now the tougher question to answer ….