Generational wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has officially signed with the Tennessee Titans. This new contract will keep Hopkins in Tennessee for the next two seasons after ultimately choosing the Titans over the Patriots.
What everyone wants to know is how does this impact the players involved in the Tennessee offense? It will take some time to see how ADPs shift until we can determine the 2023 fantasy value that each player provides. Regardless, we have a general idea of how each player’s fantasy outlook is affected by this acquisition.
Up until this point, I believe that DeAndre Hopkins has not been seriously considered by many fantasy managers due to the uncertainty of his landing spot. With his 2023 situation now clear, the fantasy community will begin to develop stronger takes on Hopkins. As of now, Hopkins is being selected at the end of the fourth round as the WR19. I believe somewhere in the range of WR20 to WR25 is the right price for Hopkins this year.
Throughout his career, and during his two seasons in Arizona, Hopkins has been an elite target hog. The Tennessee offense has supported target hogs in the past, as AJ Brown ranked ninth in target share in both 2020 and 2021. Unfortunately for Hopkins, the Titans throw the ball at the lowest rate in the NFL, ranking 27th in 2022. The Titans’ passing game as a whole has been a mess over the last few seasons. They have ranked near the bottom of the league in pass attempts, yards, and touchdowns in each of the last two seasons.
Although Hopkins will likely command a high target share, this will likely not translate to an elite number of targets due to low pass volume. The combination of landing in a run-first offense and slight drops in efficiency over the last few seasons lead me to believe that Hopkins will have mid to low-end WR2 production.
Second-year wide receiver Treylon Burks is clearly the player most impacted by this move. Projected to be the No. 1 pass catcher in this offense, Burks is simply not the top dog anymore. It’s clear that Burks’ price in drafts will plummet, but time will tell to what degree. Burks is currently the WR36 and drafters are selecting him at the end of the seventh round. Following the addition of Hopkins, I would expect Burks’ ADP to drop at least two rounds, near WR45.
If Burks’ price drops past WR50, I believe he provides tremendous value. In the Ryan Tannehill era with the Titans, he has supported a WR2 who was a viable option in fantasy. In 2020, Corey Davis finished with 964 yards on 65 catches, while finding the endzone five times. This performance placed Davis as the WR30 in PPR leagues, making him a legitimate flex option. This included three weeks in which Davis finished as a top-10 WR on the week. I don’t think anyone would disagree with the opinion that Burks is a much more intriguing talent than Davis. With an incredibly cheap price and high-level talent, Treylon Burks is someone I would be willing to bet on in the later rounds of drafts.
In my opinion, the impact that the Hopkins deal has on Chigoziem “Chig” Okonkwo is the most disappointing of all. Okonkwo was a late-round tight end that I was excited about in 2023. However, this absolutely destroys his value for this season. While Tannehill and the Tennessee offense have been able to support two fantasy-relevant pass catchers in the past, they have never supported three. With Chig projecting to be the third option in the passing game, it is hard to see a path where Okonkwo provides value to fantasy teams.
Chig was incredibly efficient last year (first in yards per route run among TEs) and the Titans targeted tight ends at the third-highest rate of any team. Considering this, there is a path where Okonkwo legitimately challenges Burks for targets. Still, I believe the most likely outcome is that Okonkwo is stuck in a support role. Because of this, Okonkwo is someone that I will not be targeting in drafts as often anymore. Yet, if Chig’s price completely tanks in the coming weeks, he could be someone worth a pick in the last few rounds of drafts.
DeAndre Hopkins slides in as the clear top receiver in Tennessee. The addition of “Nuk” also improves the outlook of this offense as a whole. Considering that Hopkins is a household name and was pacing for nearly 1,400 yards last season, I believe he could jump up draft boards. However, I believe he should be treated like a mid-tier WR2 and should be drafted somewhere in the fourth or fifth round of drafts.
When it comes to other Titans’ pass catchers, this news is disappointing. The projected volume of all other pass catchers takes a massive hit. This also makes the second-year breakout of Treylon Burks significantly less likely. Nevertheless, the addition of Hopkins may lead to considerable enough drops in cost to make these players worth a late-round flier.
The ADP fluctuation of these players should be monitored by all fantasy managers. However, it may take several weeks for the ADP of these players to settle. If the ADPs change drastically, or more than I have highlighted, the outlook of these players should be reevaluated.
Keep tabs on The Wolf’s 2023 Fantasy Rankings to see where Hopkins, Burks, and the rest of the Titans land on his most recent update.