Fantasy Football 2014: DeAndre Hopkins Will Be Breakout Receiver of the Year

By Chris Lehman
DeAndre Hopkins Houston Texans
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

DeAndre Hopkins was brought in by the Houston Texans to make an immediate impact lining up opposite Andre Johnson. In 2013, the Texans’ first-round draft pick did a solid job. He wasn’t spectacular, but aside from Johnson, was anyone on that offense?

While Hopkins wasn’t a revelation, he wasn’t as bad as critics give him credit for. The Clemson product’s total of 802 receiving yards ranked him second among rookies and ninth among all No. 2 receivers. In other words, the Texans could be doing a lot worse at wide receiver.

Due to injury, Houston featured two quarterbacks over the course of the year, Matt Schaub and Case Keenum, who finished 27th and 33rd in passing yards respectively. That’s nothing to write home about, but when you combine the two, their total of 4,070 yards suddenly becomes more impressive and ranks them in the top 10 for the year. These numbers were not achieved because of Schaub and Keenum’s accuracy, or lack thereof. Instead, I’d bet those numbers have a lot more to do with Johnson and Hopkins.

Sure, Hopkins had his rookie struggles, but most rookie receivers do. He was still more productive than fellow rookies Terrence Williams and Kenny Stills, whom fantasy fanatics are raving about. On top of the fact that Hopkins had more yards, his season was more impressive than both Williams and Stills’ because at the end of the day, he didn’t have Tony Romo or Drew Brees throwing to him.

Now, the Texans get a healthy Arian Foster back, which can only help the flow of the offense. Insert Ryan Fitzpatrick, who albeit, won’t win games, definitely knows how to air it out. With his top-20 yards-per-catch ranking, there’s no reason to believe Hopkins can’t bring in 70 receptions and close to 1,100 yards. Even if his touchdowns are lacking, he still provides a great return on investment and therefore, high fantasy upside.

Currently, Hopkins is ranked as the 43rd receiver in standard fantasy formats, and in 12-team leagues has an Average Draft Position in the 10th round. There’s no reason to believe he can’t be as efficient as receivers Michael Crabtree or Jeremy Maclin, who are being drafted as high as the fifth round.

In a year where it’s especially crucial to spend early picks on running backs, Hopkins provides starting Flex-potential out of your ninth to 10th round pick. This is far from a boom-or-bust pick. The boom potential is there without the risk of him blowing up in your face.

Chris Lehman is a New Orleans Saints Writer for Follow him on Twitter @ChrisBreezy91, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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