Best Landing Spots for DeAndre Hopkins and Fantasy Football Implications
In case you missed it, the Arizona Cardinals released wide receiver D’Andre Hopkins this afternoon. The team attempted to trade Hopkins, but after not having success they released the All-Pro wide receiver.
Here’s What You Need to Know
- DeAndre Hopkins will turn turn 31 next month. The former All-Pro wide receiver loved 64 catches for a team-leading 717 yards, and three touchdowns last year.
- In his three seasons in Arizona, Hopkins had 2,696 yards and 17 touchdowns on 221 receptions.
- By releasing Hopkins now, the Cardinals will save $8.15 million in cap space in 2023 but are set to take a dead cap hit of $22.6 million.
- With the release, Hopkins is a free agent and can sign with any team in the NFL.
QBs Hopkins Would Like to Play With
So, where will Hopkins land? Well, he shared some insight into where he might to land next season when he named the top five quarterbacks that he would like to play with on a recent episode of the “I Am Athlete” podcast with Brandon Marshall.
Let’s discuss the fit for each of those teams.
Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills could use another wide receiver to compliment Stefon Diggs this season. The addition of tight end Dalton Kincaid in the NFL Draft certainly helps the passing game. Still, a seasoned veteran like Hopkins could go a long way in helping the Bills reclaim their Super Bowl aspirations this season.
Buffalo has just $1.4 million in cap space (per OTC) right now, so they would have to get creative, and Hopkins would have to be willing to take a deal where the bulk of the incentive was to have a shot at winning a Super Bowl. The Bills had interest in Hopkins earlier in the offseason, but who knows if that remains the case.
Hopkins named Jalen Hurts as a QB he would like to play with. The Eagles also check the other boxes that Hopkins laid out for his next team on that same podcast (stable upper management and great defense).
The Eagles have $13.4 million in available cap space, the most of any of the teams that Hopkins named as potential next stops. Philadelphia already had a strong offseason after a trip to the Super Bowl last season. Adding Hopkins to Jalen Hurts’ weapons (which already feature A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith) would be the icing on the cake.
Kansas City Chiefs
Like the Bills, the Chiefs could definitely use Hopkins. However, Kansas City has less than a million in available cap space. So, that seems like a long shot at this point. However, I wouldn’t rule anything out with the many ways that NFL teams can manipulate the salary cap.
The Ravens actually have the need and the space for Hopkins. Well, more than the Bills and Chiefs, at least. Baltimore has $11.7 million in available cap space. However, they have $15 million committed to Odell Beckham Jr., who might have been Baltimore’s lone splash at receiver (outside of the draft) this offseason. Still, it would be intriguing to watch Lamar Jackson with Hopkins, OBJ, Rashod Bateman, Zay Flowers, and Mark Andrews at his disposal in the passing game this season.
Los Angeles Chargers
Could Hopkins go from the NFC West to the AFC West? Hopkins named Justin Herbert a QB he would like to play with. Plus, the Chargers have $12.7 million in available cap space. Adding Hopkins would give Justin Herbert one of the best receiver rooms in the NFL (including Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Josh Palmer, and rookie Quentin Johnston) and block the Kansas City Chiefs from landing Hopkins. Two birds, one stone.
What About …
- Atlanta Falcons RB Cordarrelle Patterson changed his Twitter avi to DeAndre Hopkins today. The Falcons have some cap space ($10.7M), and it sure would be fun to see Hopkins join CP, Bijan, Tyler Allgeier, Drake London, and Kyle Pitts in Atlanta.
- The Chicago Bears were a team with a need at WR in the offseason, and they have more cap room than anyone in the NFL right now. However, I don’t see this one happening with D.J. Moore, Darnell Mooney, Chase Claypool, and rookie Tyler Scott in the mix for targets. Plus, Chicago doesn’t exactly check Hopkins’ list of prerequisites in his new team.
- I would put the following two teams in the “probably not going to happen, but it would be interesting” category. The Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers have oodles of cash to spend and rookie quarterbacks who could use a veteran receiver like Hopkins to help their development. Doubt Hopkins is interested, but if he prioritizes money over a shot at winning, there could be a fit there.
- Last but not least … hear me out … DeAndre Hopkins, Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and Elijah Moore. Cleveland has had a pretty strong offseason with limited resources, the front office and coach are feeling the heat to win now, and Hopkins and Deshaun Watson were one of the best QB-WR duos in the NFL during their time together in Houston.
Fantasy Football Implications
As of this morning, 4for4 had Hopkins ranked as WR19 in half PPR leagues. Coming from Arizona, who was expected to have some combination of Colt McCoy, David Blough, and rookie Clayton Tune as the only healthy QBs for the first half of the season, anywhere Hopkins lands should result in his fantasy projections climbing.
Some more than others, however. For example, if DeAndre Hopkins landed in Kansas City, he would immediately be the Chiefs’ top pass-catching target, not named Travis Kelce. That would move Hopkins up the board significantly. The same could be said for Hopkins landing in Buffalo, where Stefon Diggs needs the help opposite in the Bills’ offense.
By contrast, landing in Philadelphia and sharing targets with A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith would likely result in a lesser climb up the rankings for Hopkins.
Essentially, even with the Cardinals having bad QBs for much of the 2023 season, Hopkins was in line to be the top target. So, for Hopkins to provide fantasy players a ton of value, he would need to land in a similar situation, target-share wise.
I would also consider this — Marquise Brown and rookie Michael Wilson now have some sneaky late-round upside.