DeAndre Hopkins has a top-5 WR grade this year

Houston Texans' DeAndre Hopkins is a legit No. 1 wide receiver, as the most targeted pass-catcher in the league.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

DeAndre Hopkins has a top-5 WR grade this year

DeAndre Hopkins now leads the NFL in receiving yards with 727 through six weeks of the season. He has five touchdowns, 52 receptions and is tied for fourth in PFF’s wide receiver rankings (buy our new grades product here) with a 90.0 grade. He is doing this in his first season as the undisputed top receiver in Houston after Andre Johnson’s departure, and with the inconsistent Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett as his quarterbacks.

Despite a couple of drops – which are penalized significantly in our grading system – Hopkins has a positive grade in every game this season, and his consistency over the past four games has been impressive. Over that span he has caught at least eight passes and posted over 100 receiving yards in every outing.

Hopkins has become the most targeted weapon in football. He has 90 targets already, which puts him on pace for a ridiculous 240 on the season. That would be the most PFF has ever recorded for one player, and beat the second-highest mark by 41. That second-highest mark was Calvin Johnson back when the Lions’ gameplan on offense was simply to feed him the ball as often as humanly possible.

No other receiver is within 15 targets of Hopkins this season, which would be a pretty big game for most receivers. Houston have only attempted 277 passes this season. and 90 of them have been thrown towards Hopkins. That means 32.5 percent, or just under a third of all passes, attempted by the Texans are thrown towards Hopkins.

There might not be a more one-man offense in football this season, and yet he is delivering each week, making plays despite that extra attention.

What is perhaps even scarier for opposing defenses is that Hopkins has yet to really break a big play. In each of his last four games he has receptions of at least 28 yards, but in none of them has he notched one of over 35. 79 receivers this season have a longer reception to their name than Hopkins, who has been in a way the league’s most spectacular possession receiver.

This week he went up against the Jaguars’ free-agent acquisition at cornerback, Davon House. Those two were matched up on 14 of Hopkins’ 15 targets, and things did not go well for House. Hopkins caught nine of those 14 targets for 135 yards and two scores, even if House clawed back a bit of dignity by breaking up two of the incomplete passes.

Hopkins is on fire right now, and is carrying the Houston offense. He is the very definition of a No. 1 wide receiver, and according to our grades, he’s a top-5 wide receiver.

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN.

  • Malachi

    excellent route runner, really payed attention to andre when they were together, has the shoulder lean down pat too