The Houston Texans' receiving corps is putting fantasy owners into a state of confusion, and it may take longer to get sorted out than anyone is comfortable enduring.
Star pass catcher Andre Johnson wants out. He reportedly doesn't want to play with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and is hoping to be released or traded.
DeAndre Hopkins' fantasy value is directly tied to what happens with Johnson, which is a frustrating reality. According to Hopkins, as of late May, he was struggling to pick up the offense and build chemistry with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
... but ...
A player being behind the pace in spring organized team activities doesn't mean a whole lot to me, since training camp is where most of the offensive installation takes place. It will become a vexing situation should Hopkins' struggles linger.
Hopkins' volume of work goes up drastically if Johnson is granted defection from the team. His job as a No. 1, however, becomes that more difficult with all eyes -- and defensive attention -- on him. Hopkins has an easier ride if AJ stays, though, given all of the single coverage he'll see.
The Clemson product has successfully dealt with an unreal degree of adversity in his life. Hopkins is still physically maturing, has great hands, and has is committed to putting in the necessary work. In a nutshell, he has become a leader on a very young squad.
What to expect?
Hopkins is more likely to offer big-play results if Johnson is on the field, which would also mitigate his PPR worth, relatively speaking. All bets are off if No. 80 walks, because Hopkins will have to make it up in bulk. That isn't such a bad thing for the second-year receiver.
I have a hard time seeing a situation, barring injury, in which Hopkins is worse than a WR3 in fantasy leagues, even with the likes of a Fitzpatrick throwing his way. My gut feeling, regardless of Johnson's situation, is that Hopkins shines as a WR1/WR2 play and should be on your short list of prized sleeper targets entering 2014 fantasy football drafts.
About Cory J. Bonini
Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.
Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.
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