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DeAndre Hopkins' fantasy outlook, ADP, and projection for 2022

Sep 20, 2023

What is DeAndre Hopkins' fantasy outlook and projection for 2022, and should you look to draft him at his current ADP?

One of the top receivers in the NFL and fantasy football, Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins will be an intriguing pick for 2022 as his fantasy outlook has been diminished as he will not be available all season. With the NFL season and fantasy drafts closing in, what is Hopkins’ fantasy outlook in 2022, and could he prove to be a value at his current ADP in fantasy drafts?

When at full form, Hopkins is one of the most talented receivers in the NFL and fantasy. In his first season with the Cardinals following a still head-shaking trade, Hopkins caught 115 passes for 1,407 yards and six touchdowns. Finishing as the WR4 overall and WR5 with 18.0 PPR/game, Hopkins was set to dominate again. However, things did not go according to plan.

The WR21 in fantasy points per game, Hopkins only commanded a 20.5% target share which was good for 35th among wideouts. It was the first time since 2017 that Hopkins was outside the top 20 in targets per snap. That drop in volume impacted his ceiling as Hopkins pulled in 42 passes for 572 yards and eight touchdowns on 63 targets.

Not only did he struggle, but Hopkins was also injured, missing seven games due to a rib injury in Week 3, a hamstring injury in Week 8, and a torn MCL suffered in Week 13, which ended his season.

Unfortunately, Hopkins will miss more time in 2022. Shortly after the NFL draft, it was announced that Hopkins would be suspended for the first six games of the 2022 season due to violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances. Hopkins did issue a statement of his own denying having taken any performance-enhancing drugs, but the damage was done. The earliest Hopkins can make his debut is Week 7 against the New Orleans Saints on Thursday Night Football.

Hopkins’ value has gone from a low-end WR1 for fantasy to a late WR3/4 on draft day. Not only is he guaranteed to miss time, but there is also the question of what will he be when he comes back. Was last season an anomaly, or is the now 30-year-old receiver no longer the elite player he was a couple of seasons ago? Can he become the Hopkins we know, or will these next few years resemble what we have seen from Julio Jones? An elite talent and one of the greats of this generation who struggle with inefficiency and injuries.

If you can hold out for Hopkins to return, I can understand the value. If it clicks, you drafted a mid WR2 at WR4 value. That's a winning move. With that said, I don't have Hopkins on many of my teams as WR is already full of value. If I really want Hopkins, I’ll trade for him in Week 5 and get him from a likely frustrated manager.

You have to assume the Cardinals knew Hopkins’ potential suspension was coming down the pipe. If not, talk about some fortuitous luck as the Cardinals pulled off maybe the biggest surprise of the offseason. Given the offseason we had, that is saying something.

In a move that came out of absolute nowhere, Arizona acquired Marquise Brown from the Baltimore Ravens during Round 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft. A move that had been in the works for months, the fact this happened with virtually no one knowing is a testament to how tight-lipped these organizations were.

Having watched Christian Kirk receive the second-most surprising contract of the season, Brown has a massive role to fill for the first six weeks at minimum. Brown is coming off a career year as the Ravens were forced to open up the playbook.

From Weeks 1-9 (eight games), Brown had 46 receptions on 69 targets for 682 yards and six TDs as the WR6 in PPR formats (18.8 ppg). Unfortunately, an injury to Lamar Jackson and playing with multiple backup QBs hurt Brown over the second half.

From Weeks 10-18, Brown caught 45 passes for 326 yards with no touchdowns on 77 targets. Over this stretch, Brown was the WR47, averaging almost half as many points at 9.5 per game.

Brown is the Cardinals WR I want to roster in 2022. Back with his former college QB, I expect Brown and Murray to find their rhythm quickly. I wouldn't be surprised if Hollywood has a career year.

Along with Brown, the Cardinals will rely on A.J. Green on the perimeter. While not fantastic for fantasy, Green had an underrated year in 2021 with 848 yards and three TDs. Rondale Moore should see an expanded role after posting the lowest aDOT of any receiver last year, which still baffles me. Zach Ertz, having been extended in the offseason, will be a staple in the red zone until Hopkins comes back.

Once that happens, Hopkins will slot in as the No. 1 receiver when healthy and see seven or more targets a game. But until then, Arizona has more than enough firepower offensively to be a dangerous team in 2022.

With an ADP of 86, Hopkins is coming off the boards as the WR37 in PPR formats at the moment, placing him in the seventh round in 12-team fantasy leagues.

In PFN's 2022 fantasy football redraft rankings, Hopkins is very close to his current ADP as the WR35 and 90th ranked player. I am quite a bit lower with Hopkins as my WR46 and 108th ranked player for fantasy in 2022.

From a points-per-game basis, Hopkins will easily exceed where I have him. Even the WR37 ADP is doable as Hopkins’ talent has never been in question. But coming off a torn MCL, his least productive season since his rookie year in PPG, turning 30, plus playing alongside a very talented WR in Brown, it's more likely someone else likes him and wants the risk more than I do.

Hopkins will not return to the 10+ target role he had from 2017-2020. If it is anywhere near the 4.2 catches for 57.2 yards per game of last year, managers banking on Hopkins to push them into the playoffs could be disappointed.

His range of outcomes is practically as wide as any receiver in the league. How much risk you want to take on in fantasy and at what point the reward outweighs it is up to the individual manager and how the draft shakes out.

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