With Hopkins bouncing back to elite form last year after a drab season in 2016, there’s only one conclusion to be drawn: Former Texans QB Brock Osweiler really was THAT bad. Hopkins, who goes by the nickname “Nuk,” finished No. 1 in fantasy scoring among wide receivers last year. His 13 TD catches led the league, as did his 174 targets. Hopkins ranked fourth in receiving yardage and sixth in receptions. He has now exceeded 1,200 receiving yards in three of the last four years. What’s exciting is that Hopkins put up huge numbers, even though rookie sensation Deshaun Watson played only seven games at quarterback last year before tearing his ACL in practice. In Watson’s six starts, Hopkins had 38 catches, 551 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Playing with Watson for a full season, Hopkins might be able to soar to new heights.
Substandard QB play is really the only thing that’s been able to slow down Hopkins. We don’t think that should be a concern this year, but Watson’s rookie-year sample size was relatively small, and there might be growing pains.
Hopkins’ triumphant 2017 performance confirmed that his statistical downturn in 2016 was just a QB-driven hiccup. With the promising young Watson on the way back from a torn ACL, Hopkins’ outlook is bright. He should be a first-rounder in all fantasy drafts, and while we think Antonio Brown should be the first wide receiver to come off the board, it wouldn’t be ludicrous to bestow that honor upon Hopkins.