Fantasy Football: The progression of DeAndre Hopkins


Sep 28, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) makes a reception against the Buffalo Bills at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

I have the Houston Texan’s second-year wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, in one of my fantasy leagues, and I’m very happy about having him on my roster.

Hopkins has scored a touchdown in three of the four games he played this year, making him a dependable WR2 for fantasy rosters. Hopkins’ recent productivity is making me wonder: “Is this Hopkins’ break out season?”

Sep 28, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) reacts during the game against the Buffalo Bills at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Are the hopes we all have for Hopkins’ progression to being a top wide receiver in the NFL already coming to fruition? Let’s take a look at Hopkins’ profile and history to see if there are any intangibles that come off the page, to help us determine the odds of Hopkins becoming a top wide receiver in the NFL.

First let’s look at where it started for him at Clemson.

College Production
During Hopkins’ college career at Clemson, he recorded 206 receptions for 3,020 yards receiving and 27 touchdowns.

His best season was his final season where scored 18 touchdowns and caught 82 balls for 1,405 yards. Hopkins was dominate during his junior year (his last year) at Clemson. If he was more dominate as a freshman and sophomore then it would have made him an elite prospect coming out of college, as his freshman year saw 637 yards and four TDs, His sophomore year saw totals of 978 yards and five TDs. Elite level college prospects generally dominate during freshman and/or sophomore seasons, they are younger then the their competition, suggesting they are genetically athletic freaks.

Combine Metrics
Hopkins measured at the combine 6-1 214-pounds, and ran a 4.51 40-yard dash. Hopkins is an averaged sized wide out, and his 40-yard dash was average as well.

Hopkins did well with the vertical jump, getting 36-inches off the ground. A good vertical besides being able to jump high for jump balls, also dictates that the prospect is explosive getting out of his stance and getting off the line of scrimmage.

Scouts considered Hopkins and excellent route runner with great ball skills, and his major knock was that he didn’t have elite level speed. Hopkins wasn’t the most athletic receiver coming out of the ’13 draft. With that, he was considered the safest wide receiver prospect that year, and he was drafted as a first round pick, No. 27 overall by the Houston Texans.

Rookie Season 2013
Hopkins had a productive season for a rookie putting up 52 receptions, 802 yards and two TDs. Hopkins had one 100-yard game, and games with fovea or more receptions. He didn’t blow up as a rookie, but provided promising stats and something to look forward too going forward.

First 4 Games of the 2014 Season
Hopkins has 18 receptions for 291 yards and three TDs before this Sunday’s game at the Dallas Cowboys. He is averaging 72 yards receiving a game, and is on pace for 1,164 yards.

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He doesn’t face any tough pass defenses in the AFC South, and he looks like he is becoming a focal point of the offense. Week 1 against the Washington Redskins, he busted out a 76-yard touchdown reception, and that play displayed that he is fast enough to get behind the defense and create separation with his quickness.

Hopkins’ Fantasy Relevance Going Forward
Hopkins is a must own in fantasy and should already be rostered in all leagues. I feel safe starting him every week unless he has a horrible matchup.

We are always on the search for the next, Alshon Jeffery (WR, Chicago), who broke out during his second season in ’13 to be one of the top WRs in the league.

Hopkins is developing quicker than what I expected and I believe he will continue to develop into a great wide receiver.

He does all the little things correctly and he appears to be a very hard worker, which is a quality that I like in a player. Will he finish as a top wide receiver this season?

That is to be determined, but he’s going to submit a very strong case if he continues to develop. I really like Hopkins a prospect going forward and I believe he will be a gem for your fantasy team.

Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter with any fantasy football questions you may have. My Twitter handle is @bmatz08