DeAndre Hopkins to reportedly sign with Titans; where should he go in fantasy drafts?

DeAndre Hopkins to reportedly sign with Titans; where should he go in fantasy drafts?

DeAndre Hopkins has a new home, as the veteran receiver is expected to sign a two-year, $26 million deal worth up to $32 million with the Tennessee Titans, according to reports.

Before the 10-year NFL veteran was released by the Arizona Cardinals on May 26, he was the subject of trade rumors but a deal never materialized.

[Join or create a Yahoo Fantasy Football league for free today]

Hopkins hasn’t had a great statistical season since his inaugural campaign with the Cardinals in 2020 when he went for 1,407 yards and six scores on 115 catches. The last two years have been marred by injuries and a suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy. Based on watching him play, the film shows he’s taken a few steps back as an individual wide receiver in isolation. However, his ability to get open and win catches in tight coverage is still at the level of a high-quality NFL starter.

While I’m always wary of sharp-downward age curves at this position — as the Titans should know all too well — I understand why this team was heavily in the mix recruiting Hopkins. The NFL world has been begging Tennessee to rebuild for almost a full calendar year. That is just not in Mike Vrabel’s DNA. So it makes sense they went for one last gasp in the Ryan Tannehill/Derrick Henry era to pull in a possible No. 1 receiver. You can argue it was their most pressing roster need.

Treylon Burks showed some flashes in Year 1. However, he was a developmental player coming into the league after playing a gadget, slot and backfield-heavy role in college and didn’t demonstrate No. 1 receiver ability as much as other rookies from the 2022 class. The depth chart behind him was barren. Chig Okonkwo at tight end was the only other high-upside player in the passing game.

Where should you consider Hopkins in fantasy football drafts?

Hopkins should assume the top target-earner spot in Tennessee, as long as he’s healthy. Of course, that may only net him 120 to 130 targets if we’re being optimistic. For that reason, he won’t be a proactive target for me in fantasy drafts but one I will consider post-Round 5. If that is too conservative a ranking, so be it — his current Yahoo Fantasy average draft position (ADP) is 53.4. I don’t think he’ll end up being a league-winner in this new environment and at this stage of his career. It’s a nice real-life signing for the Titans but far from desirable for fake football.

You have to sink Burks (104.4 Yahoo ADP) in your wide receiver rankings. He’s now all too likely the second-fiddle on a run-heavy offense that has numerous outstanding questions at offensive line and future quarterback. If he has a top-24 WR season in his career, it’ll come in 2024 or beyond. I’m still willing to take Okonkwo (120.6 ADP) as fringe TE1 on the chance he erupts into an efficient starter at a light position. Lastly, this makes me more content to take a chance on Henry (15.6 ADP) bucking the touches/age curve as an RB1. I never like to take backs attached to a poor offense. Whatever step you think Hopkins has lost, he makes Tennessee better right now.