DeAndre Rashaun Hopkins is 28 years old and was born in Clemson, South Carolina. He attended a local high school where he was a three-sport athlete: basketball, football and ran track and field. During his high school football career, Hopkins had 57 receptions for 1,266 yards and 18 touchdowns on offense, but as a defensive player, he also snagged 28 interceptions and 5 touchdowns.
Upon graduating high school, Hopkins stayed in his hometown and chose Clemson as his college of choice. Despite being only a freshman, Hopkins was Clemson’s leading receiver, with 52 catches for 637 yards and 4 touchdowns over 12 games. Hopkins played for the basketball team that season as well.
In his sophomore season at Clemson, Hopkins had 72 receptions for 978 receiving yards and 5 scores, finishing second on the team in receiving to Sammy Watkins. Hopkins came out strong in his junior season playing in all 13 games catching 82 passes for 1,405 yards and 18 touchdowns. What a monster season.
Hopkins was a top prospect coming out of Clemson. At the NFL Combine, he suffered a calf injury that prevented him from completing the workout. However, he did measure 6’1” tall, weighed 214 pounds, and ran a 4.57-second 40-yard dash. Hopkins, as one of the best wide receivers, was considered to be a first or second-round pick.
The Houston Texans chose Hopkins as the 27th pick in the first round. He was the second wide receiver off the board, behind Tavon Austin (LAR). Starting in his rookie season, Hopkins began to make a name for himself, as he caught 52 passes for 802 yards but only 2 touchdowns. In his second year, he caught 76 receptions for 1,210 yards and 6 touchdowns; a star was born.
Let’s talk about Hopkins’ injuries. Hopkins has only missed one game in his seven NFL seasons, playing in 111 out of a possible 112 career games (99.1%). Simply amazing. That is not to say that Hopkins doesn’t get injured; it just means that his injuries have not prevented him from missing many games.
In 2013, he suffered a concussion, but it was in the preseason, and he did not miss any regular-season games. Then late in 2014, Hopkins reportedly tore a ligament in his wrist. He played with this injury but ended up having surgery in the off-season.
Hopkins suffered another concussion in 2015 but was able to play the following week. On Christmas Day in 2017, Hopkins suffered a calf strain in Week 16, which caused him to miss the final game of the season. In a playoff game in early January 2019, Hopkins suffered his most severe injury to date: a grade 3 AC joint sprain in his right shoulder.
AC joint or shoulder sprains are relatively common but are quite painful. Grade one and two sprains traditionally heal within 4-6 weeks without the need for surgery. Grade 3 sprains are tricky, as some athletes manage to appropriately rehab without surgery, while others end up opting for surgery because the shoulder doesn’t feel right. Grade 4 and above all require surgery.
Elaborating on this injury, Hopkins himself revealed in June 2019 that he had several ligaments tear off the bone. However, there was still no clarity of whether or not he had surgery.
Hopkins was consistently on the injury report throughout the 2018 season. He was listed with thumb, ankle, foot and hamstring injuries throughout the regular season, despite never missing a game. He stated that he had never played in more pain than any point in his career than he did last season.
“Last year was tough, not just physically but mentally. It’s the most banged up I’ve ever been playing football. I was dealing with serious injuries a lot of people would have sat down for. But we have a good team that depended on me, and I never gave a thought to not playing unless the doctors told me I couldn’t.”
It’s rare when athletes are this honest, but it’s nice to see and hear. Despite being so banged up, he still finished the season in elite fashion: 115 catches for 1,572 yards and 11 TDs, earning first-team All-Pro honors.
During the 2019 season, he was on the injury report with ribs but didn’t miss any time. He was dealing with flu-like symptoms in week 17 and suited up but didn’t play as the Texans had already clinched a playoff spot and rested their starters.
Hopkins finished the year as the WR5 in PPR, only one point behind Cooper Kupp as a WR4 and less than seven points behind Godwin for WR2. Imagine if he just caught one pass for a one-yard TD in week 17. He would have been the WR2!
The biggest sporting news outside of the COVID-19/Coronavirus is the trade of DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals for running back David Johnson. Hopkins now enters a higher-paced more passing offense. He will have a better-talented group around him, including Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk.
“Nuk” has been a top-five fantasy WR in four of his past five seasons, while averaging 10.5 targets per game over that period. The trend should continue in Arizona. Hopkins has been thriving since entering the league in 2013. His one down season in 2016, he still saw 78-954-4 stat line, but that could have been done more to the Brock Osweiler and the Tom Savage duo.
Since 2015, he’s never posted less than 151 targets or caught less than 78 passes. Hopkins has averaged 89.4 yards/game, 10.3 TDs/year, 105 catches/year, and 1,371 yards/year. Now, he has had three consecutive 100+ reception, 1100+ yards, and seven+ touchdown seasons. Those are elite WR1 numbers.
Even though it seems he has a tougher road achieving his success with the great talent around him, the Cardinals will be passing a ton of footballs, approximately 35 times per game, and Hopkins is their number one target.Quarterback Kyler Murray has a long road to go for stardom, but the Cardinals offense finished strong. Three plus touchdowns in eight of their last 11 games and Hopkins should only boost those numbers. The running game of Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds will also be beneficial for the high-octane offense that was active enough to play at the fourth highest pace.
Murray did spread out the targets, and therefore, the receiver production was minimal. Fitzgerald led the team with 75 receptions for 804 yards and 4 touchdowns. Kirk was second in all categories (68-709-3). Arizona will run many four-wide receiver sets, so perhaps Andy Isabella (9-189-1) can turn it up after being selected in the second round.
Look for Hopkins to take a slight bump in production. For him to see over 150 targets might be a stretch with the crowd at wide receiver. Look for him to hover around the 130-135 range. Lower targets equal lower yardage and reception numbers. Anywhere near 85-90 receptions for 1,200 yards and 7-9 touchdowns should be a floor.
His ceiling could put him in 2018 statistical numbers. 115-120 receptions, 1,570-1,650 yards, and 13-14 touchdowns. To achieve this would mean a change in offense and the onus on Hopkins. It would then mean a change in the spread offense.
Sports Injury Predictor calculates that Hopkins has a 41.4% chance of injury in 2020. It is a low number for a player who plays as many snaps as he does.
Hopkins is one of the least risky players in the NFL, in my (Dr. Morse) opinion. My risk score for him is 1 out of 10 and has missed one game in his entire seven-year career. If someone plays in 111 out of 112 games despite finding his way on the injury report more often than not, that is someone I want on my team.
Especially an elite wide receiver who is moving to a team that wants to throw the ball 30+ times per game.
Hopkins should continue to thrive in a fast-paced offense with Hall of Fame talent around him. He has a quarterback with a cannon for an arm. Unfortunately, Hopkins has a crowd of receivers around him to steal away the attention.
He is currently going as the third wide receiver off the board after Michael Thomas and Davante Adams. Look for many explosive plays from Hopkins, but be careful with your expectations with Hopkins due to the multitude of options that Murray has.
Injury Risk: Low. 1/10.
|Projected Missed||Probability of injury per game ?||Probablity of injury in the season ?|
|Jan 5, 2019||Shoulder A/C Joint Sprain||Hopkins suffered a grade 3 AC joint sprain in his right shoulder in the playoffs vs. the Colts. He was withdrawn from the Pro Bowl|
|Dec 25, 2017||Leg Calf Pull||Hopkins injured his left calf in Week 16 and missed the final game of the season.|
|Sep 20, 2015||Head Cranial Concussion Grade 1||Hopkins suffered a concussion in Week 2 but was able to play the following week.|
|Dec 23, 2014||Hand Wrist Ligament Tear||Hopkins popped up on the Week 17 injury report but played in the game with a ligament tear in his right wrist. He had surgery after the season.|
|Aug 17, 2013||Head Cranial Concussion Grade 1||Hopkins sustained a concussion in the 2nd preseason game. He missed the following week (and sat out the 4th, which he probably would have anyway) before returning for the regular season.|