Fantasy Reaction: DeAndre Hopkins Traded for David Johnson

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The fantasy world was shooketh when we received notification that the Texans and Cardinals had agreed to move DeAndre Hopkins and David Johnson. It was already pretty rare to see one superstar traded but to see two moved for each other (DJ is still a star right?) was just plain insane. The details of the deal ended up being Hopkins and a 4th for Johnson, a 2nd, and a 4th. In other words…the Cardinals ROBBED the Texans.  While it is clear that from a pure football point-of-view that Arizona made out like crooks in this deal, in fantasy football both of these players might be thanking their lucky stars.

Listen to the Ballers reactions on the latest Fantasy Footballers podcast: Hopkins Bombshell + Free Agent Madness

Fantasy Impact: DeAndre Hopkins

There are very few offenses where DeAndre Hopkins could leave Houston and not take a slight step backwards. Arizona is near the top of that list. He remains the undisputed #1 target but now on an offense that will throw the ball far more than he has experienced in the past. Last season, Kliff Kingsbury threw the ball 20 more times than Bill O’Brien‘s Texans and the expectation is that this will increase in year 2 of this offense. While Hopkins will be competing with Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, and Kenyan Drake for targets, that is not very different from the situation he left in Houston…but again with more targets to go around. There is no reason to think that Hopkins’ stranglehold on the fantasy WR top-5 has loosened one bit now that he is in the desert.

Fantasy Impact: The Rest of the Cardinals

I’ll just let Fantasy Footballers host Jason Moore sum this up for me…

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This is great for literally every member of this offense. Christian Kirk should feast on #2 CBs, Larry Fitzgerald is still a top slot-WR, and Kenyan Drake thrives when he has space…which he will certainly have plenty. If those guys all get a slight uptick, there aren’t words to describe what this does for Kyler Murray. Murray seems ready to take a Mahomes/Jackson-type year 2 leap…but unfortunately without the draft bargain. Be ready to pay big for Kyler in fantasy drafts come August.

Fantasy Impact: David Johnson

If this trade had happened during the 2018 offseason, people would still hate it but not nearly as much. However, we can’t pretend that 2019 didn’t happen. Hopes were high headed into 2019 and for six weeks Johnson was the RB6 in the Kingsbury offense. Unfortunately, a Week 7 injury all but ended his career in Arizona. He never seemed to be himself again and Kingsbury never even tried to get him back into the primary back role. Once the Cardinals added Kenyan Drake and he dominated, the final nail was in DJ’s coffin. Houston is hoping to resurrect the RB1 from 2016.

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There should be plenty of opportunities for Johnson to shine. Last year, Houston ran the ball 38 more times than Arizona and even in DJ’s great 2016, they didn’t run the ball as much as Houston. Johnson will have almost no competition for carries, as his primary backup is Duke Johnson, who thrives in a pass-catching role. Unfortunately for both backs, the Texans just do not throw the ball to the RB and the biggest part of David Johnson’s past success is his use in the passing game. During that 2016 season, DJ was targeted 120 times. The Texans have only targeted the RB more than 100 times once during O’Brien’s tenure, and that was split between six different RBs in 2015. If Johnson is going to make his mark, it will have to be as a runner. A 100% healthy David Johnson should easily be a solid RB2 in this offense and if some of Hopkins’ vacated targets find their way to the RB, he could again be a back-end fantasy RB1.

Fantasy Impact: The Rest of the Texans

The impact on the Texans is more about the subtraction of Hopkins than the addition of Johnson. Hopkins leaves a HUGE hole at the WR1 spot for the Texans and no current player is going to fill it by himself. Both Will Fuller and Kenny Stills have shown flashes of greatness but never consistently and never to Hopkins level. If Fuller/Stills could stay healthy, they could represent the fastest 1-2 grouping of almost any team in the league and Watson has the arm strength to get them the ball downfield. Unfortunately, they can’t stay healthy. Stills hasn’t played 16 games since 2017 and Fuller has never done it in his career. This does open things back up for Keke Coutee to re-establish himself in this offense. Coutee made some noise in 2018 but disappeared once the Texans added Stills last season. Duke Johnson again finds himself in a time-share but will unlikely see the 50/50 split he did last season. Until this team throws to the RB more, he is nothing more than a handcuff in fantasy football. If either Darren Fells or Jordan Akins can lockdown the primary TE role, they could definitely soak up some of the vacated targets and find themselves in the top-10 conversation next season.

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