2015 DFS Breakout Ballers: DeAndre “Nuk” Hopkins
This is the first installment of a 10 part series spotlighting players that will make a significant leap in the 2015 NFL season. Each player featured in this series are prime prospects to target in season long formats, as well as early season DFS lineups before their prices rise. Let’s get into it!
Why We Believe
For NFL fantasy enthusiasts: The Houston Texans getting rid of future Hall of Famer Andre Johnson was a huge blow to the Texans offense. With the loss of Johnson, how will the Texans fill a huge hole left for their franchise? Insert DeAndre “Nuk” Hopkins, a third year receiver out of Clemson. Look out for Hopkins and his explosive abilities to take over the reins in Houston as the number one target. The addition of Brian Hoyer (who I believe will win the starting job) should help bring stability to a passing attack that saw three different starting quarterbacks last season.
What the Numbers Tell Us
Although Hopkins’ numbers overall were impressive and ranked 15th in fantasy points for wide receivers according to FantasyData.com, the biggest statistic that stands out for Hopkins is his yards per reception (15.9) which, according to FantasyData.com ranked 6th out of the top 50 receivers on their list. That’s an impressive number, especially when you look at the unstable quarterback position the Texans had this past season. Also, Hopkins’ 76 receptions on 127 targets (59.8%) ranked in the middle of the pack. With Brian Hoyer coming in and expected to win the starting job, I see his receptions per target percentage increasing roughly 5%, from 59.8% to almost 65.0% respectively. Hoyer, who had no consistency at receiver with the Cleveland Browns last season, gets the opportunity to compete with Ryan Mallett to throw to a potential top 10 fantasy receiver heading into the 2015 season.
Now let’s take a look at why Andre Johnson’s release out of town strengthens our argument on why Hopkins is primed for a breakout fantasy season.
Hopkins was already the team leader in yards (1,210) and yards per reception (15.9), but an important stat that will help him break into the top 10 of fantasy leagues is the total targets and touchdowns. With Johnson signing with the Colts this offseason, look for Hopkins to warrant at least 20 more targets and increase his touchdown receptions above 10 for the first time in his young career. We also saw Hopkins overtake Johnson in yards and touchdowns, (Hopkins: 6, Johnson: 3) which helped make the decision to release Johnson that much easier.
The numbers Hopkins posted in his second season in Houston suggest that he could become a top 20 fantasy player overall in the 2015 season. With the release of Johnson, the Texans brought in Cecil Shorts from Jacksonville and drafted former ASU Sun Devil Jaelen Strong. These two additions should help shoulder the loss of Johnson and take away double teams from Hopkins. It’s also important to note that Hoyer will have his first full summer to build rapport with Hopkins. With Hopkins’ fantasy numbers being at a respectable 155.0 season total (15th overall WR), look for those numbers to increase by another 200 yards, with at least 4 more touchdowns and pushing 100 receptions which would push him into the top 10 in the league respectively.
2015 Stats Prediction: 96 Rec, 1,462 Yards, 11 Touchdowns
2015 Fantasy Prediction: 208.00 Season Total, 13.00 Weekly total
By: Myles Gorham
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