DeAndre Ho Arizona Cardinals garments pkins Myth Outlook: Must you draft Hopkins in 2022?

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DeAndre Hopkins

Since his breakout season back in 2014, DeAndre Hopkins has been one the most consistent pass catchers in the NFL. In fact, he’s finished in the top five in the WR rankings in PPR leagues every season from '17-20. Fantasy football owners ar Los Angeles Chargers shirt e at a bit of a crossroads with Hopkins heading into 2022, though. After a disappointing ‘21 coupled with a six-game PED suspension to begin '22, many fantasy owners are wondering if they should draft Hopkins this year.

Obviously, Hopkins will be drafted by someone, but when you combine the depth at WR with the relative value of selec Ed Reed ting Hopkins at hi nfl tshirts s current ADP, it's fair to question whether he's worth the opportunity cost.

Below, we'll dive a bit deeper into Hopkins' fantasy outlook for 2022.

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How long will DeAndre Hopkins be out?

Back in early May, Hopkins was hit with a six-game suspension for violating NFL’s PED policy. Per Hopkins, there was 0.1 percent of Ostarine in his system. Ostarine, a selective androgen receptor modulator, binds together androgen receptors and tells them to grow.

Ostarine can be found in supplements, but Hopkins has mentioned that his body is basically all natural and it was a result of contamination. He’s hoping to get the six-game suspension reduced, but as things currently stand, he won't be back on the field until Arizona’s Week 7 matchup against New Orleans on Thursday, Oct. 20th.

2022 STANDARD RANKINGS:
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Dan Marino DeAndre Hopkins fantasy ranking and ADP

SN Fantasy has Hopkins at No. 43 in both standard and PPR formats. When fully healthy, ‘Nuk still is Kyler Murray’s go-to option and remains the most talented pass-catcher on the Cardinals.

After being among the top-ranked WRs entering fantasy drafts last season, Hopkins ADP currently sits at No. 96 per FantasyPros. Given Hopkins’ past performance and consistency, he’s likely to be drafted a bit sooner than 96th overall in fantasy football drafts, especially by owners who already have all of their starting WRs. Getting Hopkins as a "backup" who you technically don't "need" early in the season is seen as a major coup.

One of your leaguemates will inevitably see his name in an unfamiliar spot among the WR rankings and wonder why he’s so low. Suspensions, especially six-game ones, result in a significant drop in a player's ADP, as he’ll be unavailable for almost half of the fantasy regular season.

2022 PPR RANKINGS:
QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers | Top 200 | Superflex

Do NFL suspensions affect performance?

Similar to injuries, a player Russell Wilson ’s performance after serving a suspension is really a case-by-case ordeal. Hopkins will no doubt be motivated to produce once he’s back, as he was shocked to be handed a six-game suspension by the NFL. That said, it's worth noting that Hopkins is now starting to get up there in age, as the 10-year vet is entering his age-30 season.

Fellow WR and current free agent, Antonio Brown, served an eight-game suspension at the start of the 2020 season. After signing with Tampa Bay, Brown became a formidable fantasy option as a WR3 or flex play, averaging 14.6 fantasy points per game in PPR formats.

It’s fair to expect a similar output from Hopkins. He'll be more of a "primary" option than Brown was, but after last season (more on that later), there are reasons to be a bit leery of Hopkins.

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Which Cardinals benefit from DeAndre Hopkins' suspension?

With Hopkins on the shelf for the first six games, the trio of Marquise Brown, Zach Ertz, and Rondale Moore will all see a respectable target share. Ertz, who was acquired last October, produced at an efficient clip without ‘Nuk on the field. In the games Hopkins missed late in the year because of a knee injury, Ertz averaged seven catches per game with a 24-percent target share. Given Hopkins’ effectiveness in the red zone, expect Kyler Murray to look Ertz’s way to shoulder Hopkins’ workload i Back to School n the e Pittsburgh Steelers clothes arly season.

Marquise Brown, Arizona’s newest WR addition, could All Back To School see the highest target share of his career and is pegged as the Cardinals' No.1 wideout entering Week 1. Brown is a New York Jets shirt worthwhile draft pick in fantasy leagues now that he’s back catching passes from his former college QB. Brown is one of the best deep threats in the NFL, and with Baltimore last season he saw the eighth-most deep targets (27).

Moore was effective in his first professional season in what was a fairly crowded skill position group for Arizona. He put up 435 receiving yards on 54 receptions and one TD along with logging 76 rushing yards during his rookie campaign. He'll be expected to increase his production without Hopkins for Weeks 1-6, making him a prime breakout candidate.

2022 RANKINGS TIERS & DRAFT STRATEGY:
QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | D/STs

DeAndre Hopkins's fantasy outlook 2022

In his last full season back in 2020, Hopkins was second in the league in receptions (115), receiving yards (1,407), yards after catch (547), and target share (29.4 percent). Hopkins wasn’t able to replicate his elite ‘20 season last year and was trending toward having his least productive season since 2016 even before factoring in his hamstring and knee injuries.

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Hopkins produced just 14.7 fantasy points per game in PPR formats, and a good chunk of his fantasy production derived from his efficiency in the red zone. Hopkins made the most of his targets inside the 20, hauling in eight TDs on just 15 targets. While ‘Nuk is no doubt a tough cover in the red zone, it’s unlikely he replicates that type of efficiency, further limiting his fantasy ceiling.

2022 AUCTION VALUES (Standard & PPR):
QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers | Overall

Again, the injuries affected him, but that's worry in its own right. Hopkins averaged just 57.2 receiving yards per game, his lowest mark since his rookie season, and he had six games with four or fewer catches. In '20, he had just three despite playing six more games. It's a little too early to suggest this is the start of a permanent decline, but there are a lot of red flags piling up here.

As always, fantasy drafts are about maximizing value. Depending on the size of your league, It’s likely not wise to go reach for Hopkins. Someone will, but unless he's still there in the ninth round — or you already have three solid WRs and a few solid RBs — you shouldn't consider drafting him before the seventh round at the earliest. He should be at least a WR2 when he's on the field, but if you're already 2-4 or 1-5 when he comes back, that's only going to help you so much.

Nick Musial

Nick Musial

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