There weren't many big off-season moves this year, but when the Texans traded stud WR DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals for RB David Johnson and a couple of draft picks, the fantasy world took notice. It's not just that Hopkins was the best fantasy wide receiver in the league, it's that Johnson's time had seemed to finally set on him.
It has been a long time since we've seen the DJ that we fondly remember. The last time Johnson was a fantasy stud was in 2016 when he rushed for 1,239 yards, caught 80 passes, and visited the endzone a whopping 20 times. He showed flashes of brilliance in 2018 but he never really returned to that glory, nor has he eclipsed the 1K rushing mark since. The Texans must feel that there's some gas left in the tank because they're putting up serious cash for him. Johnson heads into the 2020 season as one of the top-paid backs in the league.
DeAndre Hopkins is coming off back-to-back 100+ catch seasons. While he saw fewer touchdowns last year, you can't really ask for much more from a guy who averages over 1,200 yards per season and has only failed to top 1K yards receiving twice in his seven-year career. Nuk has been consistently reliable for fantasy owners and helped make Deshaun Watson a productive fantasy QB. You could argue that Kyler Murray is not that much of a difference, but chemistry is something that doesn't happen overnight.
So what should fantasy owners do?
David Johnson was the 6th RB off the boards last year in PPR drafts and finished the season as the 37th-best RB. Fantasy owners burned by their first round pick have every right to be wary and cautious with DJ this year. I looked at Carlos Hyde for comparison as he played for the Texans last year. He was able to rush for 1,070 yards and 10 touchdowns average 4.4 yards per carry. Johnson has averaged 4.0 yards per carry on his career and has health concerns that we shouldn't overlook, but it's the best comparison that we've got.
On fantasy football nerd, Johnson is ranked 21st and his ADP has him going near the end of the third round. Guys that are being drafted around him include James Conner, Le'Veon Bell, rookie Jonathan Taylor, and Mark Ingram. That seems like a comfortable spot. DJ would either be your second RB or your flex. I would feel comfortable taking him there.
DeAndre Hopkins was a first round pick last year and hasn't really moved much. He is ranked 12th on fantasy football nerd and his ADP has him going 9th off the board. He has a new quarterback and won't be the only focal point on his new offense. Besides Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk, another productive fantasy option and a guy I'm expecting a lot out of this year is RB Kenyan Drake. Given that Kyler Murray is dangerous on his feet, you might think that he would have fewer pass attempts than Watson, but that's not the case. Murray actually rushed and threw more than Watson last year. The opportunities are there. It simply becomes a question of how many targets.
Hopkins will not last much beyond the first round of most drafts. There are a few receivers that I would rather have, but the list is small. Devante Adams, Tyreek Hill, and Julio Jones should come off the board first. It has been some time, but this is the first year that Hopkins is projected for under 1K yards receiving. If you want Hopkins on your team this year, you'll likely pay a small premium for him. Hopefully he's your second pick of the draft.