2023 Fantasy Football Player Profile: What does new Titans WR DeAndre Hopkins offer?

2MA1PNN Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) reacts after a play during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)

DeAndre Hopkins signs with the Tennessee Titans: The future Hall of Famer signed a two-year, $26 million deal with the Titans

• Hopkins’ level of play has declined in recent seasons: The 31-year-old receiver is already 28th all time in receptions — and has by far the most among active receivers. It’s hard to stay efficient after 853 career receptions.

• His competition is unproven: The Titans are relying on Hopkins and three 2022 draft picks who had at most 33 receptions last season.

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

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Last updated: 7:15 a.m. Monday, July 17

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Player Outlook

Hopkins is arguably the best wide receiver of the past decade and was still playing at a high level last season.

  • His 93.3 PFF receiving grade over the past decade ranks fourth among wide receivers and is the top mark among those with at least 5,000 pass routes, including the playoffs and plays called back by penalty.
  • He has run 5,540 regular season routes for 1,311 targets and 853 receptions en route to 2399.2 PPR points in the decade, which all rank first.
  • His play peaked in 2018, with his PFF receiving grade declining in each season since that point. He earned a 73.5 receiving grade last season.
  • He’s still been able to find success from a fantasy football perspective despite his declined play.
  • He ran a minimum of 29 routes per game and reached at least 40 routes in more than half of his games last season.
  • Hopkins was targeted on 25.7% of his routes last season, which ranked eighth out of 73 wide receivers with at least 345 receiving pass routes.
  • His high volume mixed with good-not-great play led to 16.9 receiving PPR points per game, which ranked ninth last season.
  • He missed the first six games of the season due to suspension and the last two games due to a reported knee strain.

Competition for Touches

Hopkins will be fighting for targets from a trio of sophomore receivers.

  • The Titans lost their top-two players in terms of targets last season in Robert Woods and Austin Hooper.
  • Tennessee spent a first-round pick on Treylon Burks in the 2022 draft, and Burks is expected to be the outside receiver opposite of Hopkins.
  • Burks joins Hopkins as a receiver great at gaining yards after contact. His 0.38 receiving yards after contact per route run ranked eighth last season.
  • 2022 fifth-round pick Kyle Philips is a sleeper in the slot, while 2022 fourth-round pick Chigoziem Okonkwo is a sleeper at tight end.
  • Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and free agent addition Chris Moore will be the primary backups.
  • Hopkins is used to rarely leaving the field. He played at least 92% of offensive snaps in 70% of games last season.
  • The Titans like to rotate their receivers more than the Arizona Cardinals did. Hopkins is replacing Robert Woods, who replaced A.J. Brown.
  • Brown reached 92% of offensive snaps only once in 2021, with his snap rate being 84% or less in every other game. Woods reached that mark twice last season and was under 80% in over half of the games.
  • While Hopkins is better than Woods, A.J. Brown in 2021 was better than Hopkins at this point of his career.
  • Hopkins is also competing with Derrick Henry for touches. The Arizona Cardinals were the fourth-most pass-heavy team, while the Tennessee Titans were the fifth-most run-heavy last season.
  • The combination of the Titans' run game and wide receiver rotation should lead to a noteworthy drop in routes run for Hopkins.
  • He should be able to maintain a 25% target share if the Titans view him as their best receiver. A.J. Brown had a similar rate in 2020 when Corey Davis was on the team, and he was at a 29.1% clip in 2021 when Davis was gone.
  • If Burks makes a second-year leap and Hopkins continues to decline, it’s certainly possible Burks ends up leading the team in targets.
  • Chigoziem Okonkwo played extremely well on a relatively small sample last season, and Kyle Philips led the team in targets in Week 1 before his season was derailed by injury. It will be difficult for Hopkins to post a rate much higher than 25%, even if he stays the same as last year.

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Impact of Teammates

Hopkins will likely be catching passes from Ryan Tannehill, another aging veteran.

  • Tannehill is similar to Hopkins in that a few seasons ago he was grading in the 90.0s, but after a consistent decline, he is grading out in the low 70.0s.
  • If there is one bright note, it’s that where Tannehill is playing his best matches where Hopkins is playing at his best.
  • Tannehill has graded better against zone defenses than man in each of the past four seasons.
  • He still graded out as the 15th-best quarterback against zone defenses last season, but he ranked 10th-worst against man for all quarterbacks with at least 50 dropbacks against each defensive scheme.
  • Similarly, Hopkins was once a great player against man defenses. His play against man has declined considerably, but his play against zone has stayed relatively the same the past few seasons.
  • Hopkins averaged 2.18 yards per route run against zone last season, compared to 0.98 against man, despite similar target shares against each defense.
  • Kyler Murray was also better against zone than man, and Ryan Tannehill graded out better than Murray last season.
  • There is a chance this is an upgrade for Hopkins, but Tannehill will be turning 35 later this month, so a continued decline is certainly possible.
  • Tennessee spent a second-round pick on rookie Will Levis. There is a chance Levis is starting at some point this season; especially if the Titans are out of playoff contention late in the season.

Bottom Line

Hopkins’ most likely outcome is his worst fantasy season in years in terms of fantasy points per game. But it probably won’t be much worse, still making him a fantasy starter.

  • It’s unlikely Ryan Tannehill or DeAndre Hopkins improve in 2023 based on their age and how they’ve played in recent seasons, and the Titans’ run-first offense doesn't help.
  • Hopkins is competing with a bunch of high-upside, unproven receivers. His potential target share could vary greatly depending on how well those players develop.
  • At best, his targets will be similar to last season and his quarterback play will be a little better, leading to a top-20 wide receiver season.
  • His target share could be closer to 20% if all players progress as expected, which could leave him outside of the top 30 wide receivers in fantasy football.

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