Why DeAndre Hopkins Will be the No. 1 WR in 2016
With Andre Johnson out of the picture, DeAndre Hopkins was the unquestioned No. 1 WR in the Texans’ offense in 2015 and took advantage of that opportunity to become one of the best fantasy wide receivers in the league. He ended the year with 111 receptions for 1,521 yards and 11 TDs, and he was the sixth best WR in standard leagues and fourth in PPR.
He did all that with some of the worst quarterbacking in the NFL. The likes of Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, T.J. Yates and Brandon Weeden all drew at least one start in 2015 and collectively represent the worst quarterback with a top 10 fantasy wide receiver to throw to. It’s that bad quarterbacking that attributed to his very low catch rate of 57.8 percent compared to guys like Antonio Brown (70.5) and Larry Fitzgerald (75.2), and is the main reason why he is my dark horse candidate to finish 2016 as the No. 1 WR in fantasy — making him a steal at his current ADP of a late first early second round pick.
To give you an idea of how much his low catch rate affected his fantasy production, let me break down the numbers. All things equal, if we were to raise his catch rate to Brown’s 70.5 percent, Hopkins would have had the same number of receptions as Brown but with more yards and two more TDs, making him — not Brown — the No. 1 receiver in fantasy. If we used Fitzgerald’s catch rate of 75.2 he would have broken a few NFL records.
Now, I don’t expect newcomer QB Brock Osweiler to be the second coming of Tom Brady, but even if Osweiler could get Hopkins into the 65 percent range, Hopkins would be a top three WR at the very least. The Texans spent a lot of money to steal Osweiler away from Denver, and the Broncos had every intention of making him their starter had he not left via free agency. That tells me that both teams see him as a starting quarterback in this league and that’s enough for me to believe he can be better than Hoyer and Co.
The addition of RB Lamar Miller in the backfield, as well as some promising first and second-year WRs, will help Hopkins in his bid to be the No. 1 overall WR. Miller will give the defense another offensive threat to worry about and if one of the Texans’ young WRs can step into that No. 2 role and be a productive, Hopkins may see less double coverage. Taking advantage of that must have him salivating at the mouth already.
Hopkins may or may not end the season as the No. 1 overall WR in fantasy, but he has the best chance of any receiver not named Antonio Brown to do it and I, for one, will be targeting him in every one of my drafts come August.