DeAndre Hopkins - Fantasy Football Rookie Relevance
DeAndre Hopkins was the 27th overall selection and the second player taken at his position during the 2013 NFL draft after being selected by the Houston Texans. Hopkins, the Clemson wide receiver, was the second pass-catcher selected during the first round of the draft selection process and the earliest wide receiver taken by the Texans during Gary Kubiak’s tenure as head coach. Only five wide receivers have been drafted by the Texans since 2006 when Kubiak hired on as Houston’s head coach and offensive signal caller.
The table below shows stats accumulated by each wide receiver during each player’s rookie season under Gary Kubiak.
From the table we can deduce an attempt to allow higher round draft picks an opportunity to contribute which seems to fit the status quo in the NFL for various reasons. It is worth noting that in 2006 the Texans employed wide receiver Eric Moulds opposite Andre Johnson and in 2007 Kevin Walter assumed the role opposite Johnson therefore not having a dire need to plug-in-play 3rd round rookie Jacoby Jones immediately. Fast forward to 2012 and neither Kevin Walter nor Jacoby Jones are any longer with the team. Heading into 2013 the receiving core situation, or the lack there of, made the position a priority for the Texans leading them to select one of the most productive wide receivers in college football last season. How will DeAndre Hopkins affect the Texans game plan? What can fantasy football pundits expect statistically from Hopkins? Will the proverbial fantasy football cup runnith over or will Hopkins’ fantasy output simply cast a similar shadow of past Texan rookie draft picks during each one’s initial year of service?
Over the past twenty-two years a meager 25.3% of 83 selected first-round wide receivers have managed to catch 50 passes as rookies, and the number increases only slightly to 32.5% when you look at first round pass catchers who reeled in 32 or more passes during inaugural seasons. Let’s fast forward to 2003. Over the past ten years we see an increase to 31.6% for the 38 first round wide receiving selections catching 50 or more passes. This could be related to the notion that total team passing attempts are up over the last five years. Up to the tune of 7.1% since 2008. Relatively teams passed more last year than any other time in NFL history since the merger. Over the same recent 5 year span 85.7% of receivers taken in the first rounds have come right in and made immediate contributions by catching at least 42 passes and averaging 4.75 touchdowns in each season. Will this season be any different for the two first round receiving threats designated to play in 2013? Or a more appropriate question being how will this information translate to DeAndre Hopkins on field performance for the Houston Texans. First, let us take a peek at how well the 27th overall selection fared versus other wide receivers before bolting for the NFL.
Below is a graph representing Hopkins best college season compared to the top statistical collegiate season of other NFL draft selections that managed the very least 30 receptions during their rookie campaign regardless of drafted round.
As you can see DeAndre Hopkins, represented by the fluorescent pink dot on the graph lies outside the bulk majority. Actually placing in the 68th percentile in receptions among the 51 qualified candidates and Hopkins also finishes in the 78th percentile among the same candidates in terms of receiving yardage. This graph really means nothing as it translates to the NFL game other than to merely display where Hopkins college stats rank in comparison to other NFL rookies who have come in and been solid first season contributors. The baseline of 30 receptions for drafted rookies to make the cut seemed about the lowest point before a player in their first season would be considered non-productive.
It is worth noting that DeAndre Hopkins was targeted a total of 122 times in Clemson’s offense and actually threw two passes near the goal-line accounting for 13.1% of the Clemson Tigers offense while Clemson limited his offensive contributions in four blowout games during 2012. Despite those blowout games DeAndre Hopkins managed 1st in the ACC with 1405 receiving yards, 2nd in the NCAA with 18 touchdowns, and among college wide receivers with 60+ catches Hopkins ranked 3rd in yards per reception with a 17.1 average.
Hopkins collegiate drop rate of 5.8 % rated 11th best among 2013 wide receiver draft prospects. This drop rate has Hopkins on par with the NFL average for wide receivers. In an attempt to be extremely pessimistic. If we were to drop Hopkins by 20 percentile points in both receptions and yardage production among the same 51 candidates’ offense output within their inaugural seasons then Hopkins would peg out with 47 receptions and approximately 764 yards receiving. Accumulating those numbers or exceeding them slightly would pace him with 2012 rookie wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. Now if it were only that easy when predicting a rookie wide receivers statistical forthcoming.
If nothing more the number crunching between drafted rookies college and professional stats give only comparative measurement but 47 receptions and 764 yards does seem a healthy offensive contribution and we were being extremely bleak in our percentile deduction when gauging Hopkins’ NFL statistical transition. Coupling this affirmed data with reality of increased NFL team passing numbers, the departure of Kevin Walter’s 71 targets (12.7% offensive contribution), Arian Foster’s target numbers in the passing game dropping 39.4% over the past 3 years it all lends credence to the plausibility that the Houston Texans will give DeAndre Hopkins every opportunity to succeed early and often.
Barring injury DeAndre Hopkins seems poised to leverage a college 89.9% receiving success rate into the NFL and could make a run as a top offensive rookie contributor. For those fantasy football savants looking to add solid support to rosters after the rookie running backs are off the board look no further than Texans rookie DeAndre Hopkins.
Currently DeAndre Hopkins’ ADP is 131 in all redraft leagues being chosen as early as 41st overall and as late as 478th while selected in only 318 of 420 drafts. In rookie only drafts the Houston Texans wide out has an ADP of 8.75 playing second fiddle to only St. Louis Rams rookie Tavon Austin.