The biggest shocker of the day (so far) was the inclusion of star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in the trade that sent running back David Johnson to the Houston Texans. The Arizona Cardinals added an absolute stud to an offense that is expected to take a step forward in 2020 in its second year under quarterback Kyler Murray and head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
How does Hopkins joining the Cardinals affect his fantasy value in 2020? Will he still be many fantasy football players’ No. 1 overall target at the wide receiver position? Let’s take a closer look.
It’s hard to find a more consistently great player over the last few years than Hopkins. He was the No. 3 overall WR in 2015, the No. 2 overall WR in 2017, the No. 4 overall WR in 2018 and the No. 3 overall WR last season. His 2016 dip in production is clearly an aberration at this point, and Hopkins has had success with a litany of quarterbacks in that timeframe. That last part is what’s so important when it comes to evaluating his 2020 value.
Here are just some of the names of quarterbacks who have thrown passes to Hopkins in his career: Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, T. J. Yates, Matt Schaub, Tom Savage, Case Keenum, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brock Osweiler and Brandon Weeden. Yes, he’s gotten to play with Deshaun Watson for the majority of the last three seasons, but he’s been incredibly productive with no-name quarterbacks too. Murray isn’t Watson (at least yet), but he’s far from a no-name.
Arizona produced only two top-45 fantasy WRs in PPR formats on a per-game basis last season: Christian Kirk (No. 31, 12.9 FPPG) and Larry Fitzgerald (No. 45, 11.3 FPPG). While both of those players will be back in Arizona for 2020, neither should eat into Hopkins’ target share—mainly because of talent, but also because both Fitzgerald and Kirk are better in the slot.
Kingsbury’s offense isn’t going to run 70 plays per game or anything ridiculous like that, despite the hype last offseason, but the Cardinals are still going to be a team that has to throw a lot (especially late in games) because of their shoddy defense. Hopkins has had at least 96 targets per season in which he’s finished as a top-four overall fantasy wide receiver and should have no problem hitting that mark again in 2020 if healthy.
Impact on Kyler Murray and Deshaun Watson
Murray gets a major boost with the Hopkins addition, and is solidly in QB1 territory. The fear is that he gets hyped up and pushed up draft boards exactly like he did during the preseason last year, which would price me out of the market.
Murray finished as the QB12 last season, averaging 18.8 FPPG. Assuming he didn’t hit a sophomore slump, he would’ve improved on that total slightly anyway in his second season. Now, with Hopkins in the fold, he’s going to be drafted among the top five quarterbacks in some leagues. He’ll be a top-10 option for me, but not quite within the top five.
As for Watson, this is a significant downgrade. Sure he’ll (likely) still have Will Fuller and Kenny Stills, plus David Johnson and Duke Johnson to catch passes out of the backfield, but you can’t undersell losing arguably the best wide receiver in football.
Since coming into the league, Watson has been a premier fantasy QB. He was the No. 1 QB in terms of average fantasy points during his seven-game season in 2017, the No. 6 QB in average FPPG in 2018 and No. 2 last season. He was going to be ranked as the consensus No. 3 QB (behind Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson) heading into 2020, but he’ll now have some competition.
It’s hard to envision him falling out of the top five, though. And to me, he’s still the QB3, just a lot closer to QB4 than Mahomes and Jackson.
We asked one of the top players in the world the projected draft range for the players involved in this trade:
- DeAndre Hopkins: 2nd
- Will Fuller: 5th-6th
- David Johnson: 4th
- Kenyan Drake: 2nd
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