MNF preview: A.J. Green or DeAndre Hopkins?
Monday Night Football will feature two of the best wide receivers in the game today: the Bengals’ A.J. Green and the Texans’ DeAndre Hopkins. Both are dynamic weapons, with each being their quarterback’s go-to guy. Determining which WR is having the better season becomes difficult, as their situations are drastically different.
With the help of PFF’s new Player Grades, I’ll determine who is having the better year.
DeAndre Hopkins (91.4 receiving grade)
Hopkins is having a monster season. QB Brian Hoyer practically force feeds Hopkins the ball, as he is third in the NFL in targets (and will likely be the leader after tonight) with 111. Hopkins has 66 catches for a 59.5 catch rate, which is subpar, but when eliminating off-target throws, that catch rate improves to 69.5.
Houston’s offense is mediocre, and with Brian Hoyer at the helm, defenses are able to roll coverage towards Hopkins. Even with the pass-heavy attack of the Texans, Hopkins has a respectable 2.27 yards per route run average, which ranks 12th in the league.
Another facet of Hopkins’ game is deep passing. Hoyer has thrown just eight catchable deep passes on 27 targets to Hopkins in this area for a 29.6 catch rate.
A.J. Green (90.6 receiving grade)
Green has the benefit of being surrounded by quality weapons. QB Andy Dalton is having a career year, as is TE Tyler Eifert. Defenses have to account for a solid rushing attack and multiple receiving threats other than Green.
Dalton has targeted Green 68 times with 50 catches, good for a 73.5 catch rate, but with an 86.2 catch rate when accounting for the off-target throws. As already stated, Green benefits from a QB making good decisions with the football in the passing game. His vastly improved catch rate doesn’t account for single coverage versus forced throws into double coverage.
Green enjoys the ninth-best YPPR at 2.55, and also a 42.9 percent catch rate on deep passes.
While Green’s signature stats look more impressive than Hopkins, Hopkins has far less to work with than Green this season. Hopkins’ longest catch of the year is just 34 yards, but his 111 targets almost equal the rest of the Houston receiving corps combined (122 receptions).
With Hopkins owning a small edge in our PFF Player Grades, and regardless of the debate between which is better, tonight will showcase two of the NFL’s most talented wide receivers.