The Arizona Cardinals have acquired All Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. This news comes out of nowhere, as Hopkins has been a Top-3 wide receiver, but they are letting him go to the Cardinals for running back David Johnson and a fourth-round pick, per Houston Chronicle’s John McClain.
Johnson was injured last season and then outplayed by mid-season acquisition Kenyan Drake when healthy. On the face of this deal, the Texans look like the automatic losers, as Hopkins is without a doubt a player who will continue to be one of the best in the league, while Johnson’s injury history an performance last season put him as a big risk going into 2020.
The fact that head coach Bill O’Brien is also the general manager for the Texans puts this deal solely in his lap, so there is a lot riding on Johnson returning to form and the team getting better with the picks they received.
In seven seasons with the Texans, Hopkins has averaged 92 receptions for 1,251 yards and eight touchdowns per season. Only Antonio Brown and Julio Jones have more receptions and yards in that span and only Brown has more touchdowns. He is as elite as a receiver can get in the NFL.
David Johnson has had one breakout year, in 2016, when he rushed for 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns and caught 80 passes for 879 yards and four more touchdowns. It was a huge season and one of the best of all time, but a hand injury kept him out of the 2017 season and then 2018 was derailed by an awful offense, but he still managed 1,386 total yards and 10 touchdowns, but with a 3.6 yards per carry pace.
The addition of Hopkins for Kyler Murray is a huge boon for his fantasy value. Murray was already set to take a step forward this season, but now his offensive playmakers look amazing, with Kenyan Drake as the main back, Hopkins as WR1, Christian Kirk as WR2 and Larry Fitzgerald out of the slot. Murray’s price tag in fantasy just went way up and Hopkins value should remain the same or rise in Kliff Kingsbury’s system.
Much depends on what the Texans do to replace Hopkins, but for now, Kenny Stills and Will Fuller get big bumps with DeShaun Watson throwing them the ball as long as they’re still with the team by the time the season starts.
Watson on the other hand, will take a hit without Hopkins in the fold. He’s still a strong fantasy play, but this isn’t good news for his fantasy value in 2020.