DeAndre Hopkins did not skip a beat when he was traded to the Arizona Cardinals in 2020. Hopkins was part of an infamous trade where it is clear that the Cardinals won as the Texans dealt Hopkins to Arizona for basically nothing. Cardinals fans were salivating at the chance to see Hopkins play for them and Hopkins delivered. Hopkins had the second-best season of his career with the Cardinals which included a game-winning Hail Marry catch over 3 Buffalo Bills defenders in Week 10. The NFC West is looking like the toughest division in the NFL next season, so Arizona is going to need every bit of magic from Hopkins and quarterback Kyler Murray if they want to end the Cardinals’ 5-year playoff drought.
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DeAndre Hopkins had a spectacular year in 2020. Hopkins had tied his career-high in receptions and had his third-most receiving yards in a season in his first season with the Cardinals. Kyler Murray was the perfect quarterback for Hopkins as he was accurate and could scramble and pass him the ball downfield on broken plays. Hopkins was the clear #1 receiver on the team and the Cardinals treated him as such. Hopkins had 9 games with 10+ targets which translated into Hopkins scoring 10+ fantasy points in 9 games and 4 games where he scored 20+ points. Hopkins has been a fantasy staple since he entered the league in 2013 and will look to build off his incredible 2020 season.
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I expect Hopkins to be better in 2021. With a full season and a proper offseason under his belt, I can see Hopkins messing around and breaking a couple of records this season. Hopkins is big, can run fast, has quick feet, and the best hands in the NFL. There’s not really more you could ask of a receiver and there are not many like Hopkins in the league. He is an elite receiver by every definition of the phrase and he never misses games. In fact, Hopkins has only missed 2 games out of 112 games in his entire career. Hopkins has been a Round 1 or high Round 2 talent for the past 5 years and that doesn’t look to change heading into his eighth season.
ADP & Auction Value
ADP: 16, Round 2, WR4
Auction Value: $34
Experts every can agree that DeAndre Hopkins is one of the best receivers we have in the league today. He is right in the mix of top-notch elite receivers like Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs, and D.K. Metcalf and his draft position and auction price support that. There aren’t enough good things to say about Hopkins. He has all the talent in the world, plays in the pass-friendly air raid system, and has an accurate quarterback who can get him the ball anywhere on the field. The guy has everything necessary to succeed in the NFL and fantasy. Hopkins is a no-doubt top 20 pick in this year’s fantasy draft.
There aren’t many concerns when it comes to adding Hopkins to your fantasy roster in 2021. However, one concern is the crazy good talent Hopkins will have to play against by playing for a team in the NFC West. The NFC West is a brutally hard division that contains the Seahawks, Rams, and 49ers along with the Cardinals. That means Hopkins will have to play the number 1 defense Rams and a 49ers team with who he has struggled in his career. In fact, in his two games against the Rams last season, Hopkins had a stat line of 12 catches for 87 yards and 1 touchdown. This might seem decent but is well below his average. With all of that said, Hopkins is still an elite receiver.
Not many receivers get the type of praise Hopkins does, but he is deserving of it. Hopkins has had over 100 catches and over 1100 receiving yards over the past 3 seasons. That is unheard of production and consistency from a single player. Any fantasy owner that needs more from a single player doesn’t deserve to win. And the thing is I think he can reach an even higher high in 2021. Getting more comfortable in the offense with Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury can only be a good thing for Hopkins and the Cardinals coaching staff is probably thinking of new creative ways to get Hopkins open. Hopkins is going to be at the top of the receiving leaderboard yet again in 2021.
Arizona Cardinals Offense
Welcome to the air raid offense. This style of offense came from college and has transitioned seamlessly, turning into one of the more potent offenses in the league. Last season they scored the 13th most points and gained the 6th most yards in the league. The Cardinals have an MVP-caliber quarterback in Kyler Murray who has a cannon of an arm and can run like a punter returner. Not bad for a guy who is only 5’10”. Then pick your choice of who you want to get beat by on the outside. The Cardinals feature a steady dose of the dominant DeAndre “Nuke” Hopkins, the speedy Christian Kirk, and the never-aging Larry Fitzgerald. And to make matters worse for defenses, this team also added long-time great A.J. Green to this already loaded roster. The Cardinals compliment this great passing attack with a running back who can run the ball hard and can catch out of the backfield in the newly acquired James Conner and Matthew Berry’s best friend Chase Edmonds. This offense is borderline unstoppable on paper and should be the reason why the Cardinals make the playoffs.
Strength of Schedule
Playing in the NFC West automatically gives you a tough schedule and wouldn’t you know, the Cardinals have the 13th toughest schedule next season. It’s bad enough when you have to play loaded teams like the Seahawks, Rams, and 49ers twice a year, but Arizona also has to play the NFC North, AFC South, Cowboys, Panthers, and Browns. It’s good for the Cardinals to have some easy games sprinkled in with the gauntlet of more difficult games. Among the easy games are their games against the Lions, Panthers, Cowboys, Texans, and Jaguars. Those are 5 must-win games for their playoff hopes. The issue is that they have a lot more hard games because they have to play the Seahawks, Rams, 49ers, Packers, Browns, Vikings, Titans, Colts, and Bears. Sheesh, those are some brutal games to play, but some of those are more winnable than others. They will need to stay afloat in their division standings and beat 3 or 4 of those other teams outside of their division if they want to stay in the playoff hunt.
The other interesting thing to note about their schedule is their Week 7 game against the Texans. This is the first time DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt will be playing their former team. Circle this game as the game that DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt go nuclear in.
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