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Fantasy football implications of DeAndre Hopkins joining Arizona Cardinals

We break down how the potential fantasy football impact of players on the Arizona Cardinals following the DeAndre Hopkins trade.

Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins points to teammates before an NFL Divisional round playoff game between the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs on January 12, 2020 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Houston Texans trading DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals is the trade none of us were expecting. Hopkins has consistently been one of the best receivers in the NFL for a while. Can he thrive in a new system with a different quarterback? Will he complete Arizona’s air raid offense? We’ll take a look at the Cardinals fantasy players for the 2020 season.

DeAndre Hopkins

Hopkins has tallied more than 1,000 receiving yards in each of his last three seasons, but 2019 was a down year. When you consider that he hauled in 104 passes for 1,165 yards and seven scores last season, it’s easy to see that he’s one of the most dangerous weapons in the pros.

Hopkins dropped out of the top five for fantasy wideouts last year for the first time since 2016, but now he’ll have a chance to become second-year quarterback Kyler Murray’s go-to guy. Murray cracked the top 10 in passing attempts (542) as a rookie, and it’s not hard to see him throwing the ball even more with one of the NFL’s top talents.

Teams will be key in on Hopkins, and Murray isn’t nearly as refined as Deshaun Watson as a passer, so it’s unlikely that Hopkins is a top five pass catcher. The top 10 isn’t out of the question, but the elite numbers he’s put up in the past might not be in the cards for Hopkins at this point.

Kyler Murray

Murray helped lead Arizona to a 5-10-1 record as a rookie, but was a pleasant surprise from a fantasy perspective. He threw for 3,722 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 12 interception. He also ran for 544 yards and four scores, helping him crack the top 10 in fantasy football point production. He only trailed the Baltimore RavensLamar Jackson in ground yardage and was just ahead of the Buffalo BillsJosh Allen.

It’s hard to believe Murray won’t get better in year two — especially considering that 36-year-old Larry Fitzgerald was his leading receiver last season. Hopkins is set to become the new top dog in Arizona, Christian Kirk is on the rise, and Fitzgerald can still be an essential member of the receiving corps.

Another year in Kliff Kingsbury’s system and the Hopkins acquisition should help Murray notch a career-high in passing yards and touchdowns this upcoming season. He has a legitimate chance throw for more than 4,000 yards and run for another 700 in 2020. That makes him a threat to crack the top 10 for a second straight year.

Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk

Fitzgerald and Kirk were neck and neck in fantasy football impact for 2020. They both cracked the top 50, but neither were close to being elite. Fitzgerald led the team in receptions (75), targets (109), and receiving yards (804) last season. Kirk was right behind him with 68 receptions for 709 yards while playing three fewer games. Fitzgerald caught four touchdown passes while Kirk tallied three.

Kirk could be poised to bump Fitzgerald to WR3 with Hopkins coming in. While Fitzgerald is still effective, it might be time for him to take a step back in his 17th NFL. You should expect less from Fitzgerald and more from Kirk, but it’s unclear where they’ll rank among other wideouts.

Kenyan Drake

Drake was expected to have a breakout season with the Miami Dolphins, but he didn’t really start to pick up steam until he was traded to the Cardinals. Despite only playing eight games for Arizona after failing to live up to expectations in Miami, Drake finished 2020 as a a top 20 running back.

Drake showcased his versatility by racking up 817 rushing yards and 345 receiving yards with eight total touchdowns. He split the workload with David Johnson some in 2019, but Johnson has been traded to the Texans. This makes Drake Arizona’s lone feature back. He should crack the top 15 in 2020 and could even rise hover around the top 10 area.