[dropcap]A[/dropcap]ll of the talk was squarely focused on wide receivers Tavon Austin and Cordarrelle Patterson coming into the 2013 NFL draft. Yet post draft, talk has been building around a player that I had rated number one at the receiver position, DeAndre Hopkins.
Hopkins exploded in his 2012 campaign, posting 82 receptions for 1405 yards and 18 touchdowns, overshadowing fellow receiver, and future top prospect, Sammy Watkins. The Texans selected him with the 27th pick in the first round. Houston has desperately needed a good number two option, opposite Andre Johnson for years. Kevin Walter is gone, and Lestar Jean hasn’t produced. Keshawn Martin was a contributor for the team in his 2012 rookie season, but profiles more of a slot receiver. First round players are typically expected to be day one starters, and because this fills a huge offensive need, Hopkins will likely see plenty of early work in the Texans offense. So how will this translate to fantasy impact?
RE-DRAFT: Typically rookie wide receivers make little to no impact the first year. This can be caused to to general football intelligence, route running, or learning the play book. Elite level players such as Julio Jones and A.J. Green go against the grain and usually do make an impact in year one. I think DeAndre Hopkins falls in between that. As of now he is almost entrenched as the number two starter for the Texans come week one. Out of the entire receiver draft class, I see Hopkins making the most fantasy impact in the first year. He could put up numbers worthy of a WR3-4, but could surpass that come year’s end, making him a great re-draft target. I think he would be a solid mid round selection in all redraft formats. He will provide great depth, or a potential starter, if you go running back heavy in the first part of the draft.
DYNASTY: In rookie drafts for dynasty leagues, I think selecting DeAndre Hopkins is as safe as you can get. He combines immediate impact for receiver needy teams, as well as a young option for depth, and after all dynasty is always about planning for the future. I don’t see him having as high of a ceiling as guys like Cordarrelle Patterson or maybe Justin Hunter, but I think his floor regarding production, will be much higher. That said i do think there is enough upside to warrant taking him even as early as number one overall in rookie drafts. Looking at situation alone, Hopkins will not only start,but in the not too distant future, will have the chance to take over the number one role from the aging and injury riddled Andre Johnson. DeAndre Hopkins has the kind of talent that I would have still had ranked as the number one receiver in this class, as well as for fantasy purposes, even if he went to an awful situation like the Jacksonville Jaguars or New York Jets. In my opinion Hopkins will have a solid multi year career, and should remain a steady producer throughout.