DeAndre Hopkins moving to the Titans let’s not beat about it- let’s dive into the fantasy impact. The signing of Hopkins actually makes the Tennessee Titans’ wide receiving core as a whole not look like the worst receiving core in the NFL. While Burks was there, it was extremely slim pickings after that.
Watching Hopkins last season, it was clear that he still has the juice and should step in as the top target earner in this offense. Based on talent alone, Hopkins should be a top-12 fantasy wide receiver this year in season-long leagues. That being said, the offense that the Titans run downgrades him to a low-end WR1/high-end WR2 with the potential to put up elite WR1 weeks on occasion.
The Titans have been a bottom-10 passing team in all but one season since 2014. And paired with that low passing volume, there will be some combination of 35-year-old Ryan Tannehill, roster bubble Malik Willis, and Will Levis who has failed to beat out Malik Willis thus far in camp throwing these receivers the ball. Maybe the addition of a stud wide receiver can elevate this group of quarterbacks, but the Titans were still bottom-10 in passing yards per game for two of the three years that AJ Brown was on the team.
On a points-per-game basis, I expect Hopkins to be a low-end WR1/high-end WR2. And if he can stay healthy all 17 games, he should finish as a WR1. He’ll command volume and should provide a boost to this offense, earning the team more red zone trips and total touchdowns. We’ve seen Hopkins be quarterback-proof in the past.
What About Treylon Burks?
While this move definitely hurts Burks’ short-term value, this could be a good thing for his long-term value. In the short term, it definitely makes it harder for Burks to retain or gain value in Dynasty formats. He was facing next to no target competition before this signing, making it extremely easy for him to look viable with a high target share and volume. Now, he has elite target competition lining up across from him on a week-to-week basis on a low-passing volume offense.
That being said, Burks lined up as the primary X-receiver for the Tennessee Titans in 2022. That was the exact opposite of how he lined up in college where he was the primary slot receiver for the Arkansas Razorbacks. He basically had to learn a brand new position. Now, he has Hopkins, hopefully, as a mentor to guide him in the transition to a primary outside receiver. I’m very interested to see who lines up as the primary X and the primary Z in this offense. Hopkins has always been a bonafide X receiver, but his age could see him lining up as the Z yet still being the target hog we expect to see.
Additionally, the acquisition of a player that can actually play the X in this offense, could open up more opportunities for Burks to play more snaps from the slot. The slot is where he saw massive success during his time in college, and where he saw more success towards the end of the year last season. There is still hope for Dynasty managers as his outlook still looks bright. But he really has to prove his talents in the peripherals this season, much more so now that he has legitimate target competition.
Chig is Still a Top-12 TE, right?
Chigoziem Okonkwo now becomes, most likely, the third target in this offense. And while tight ends don’t quite need the same target volume as wide receivers to be fantasy relevant, we’ve gone over just how low the pass volume has been on this team. The third target on this team just won’t hold significant fantasy value. That being said, the tight-end landscape is barren and Okonkwo could easily still fall into a top-12 tight-end finish with some decent touchdown luck. Additionally, if they figure out the quarterback position in a year or two, there is a chance that Chig holds some upside.
Okonkwo showed legitimate upside as a rookie in a porous offense. He has the talent to be a real receiving threat from the tight-end position. But I’d temper expectations for 2023 with the addition of Hopkins. Give him some time though and be patient with him in Dynasty leagues as he’s shown what he’s capable of. It might just take a bit longer to pay off now. Redraft leagues, he’s someone to watch list instead of a late-round flier now.
DeAndre Hopkins is going to get his in this offense and still has the juice to do so. He may not have the top 5 fantasy wide receiver upside he’s had in years past, but he’s still going to demand targets and be the best receiver on the field. I expect consistent high-end WR2 production with a handful of WR1 weeks to put him in the top 12 wide receiver finish running.
Things are not all gloom and doom for Treylon Burks as he gains a mentor and someone to take the pressure of the defense off of him. Additionally, this roster move could give him the opportunity to play more in his natural position. I think Burks is a great Dynasty asset still, but expectations should be severely tempered in terms of Redraft leagues. If Burks is who everyone thought he was coming out of college last season, he should be fine. His path is just a bit more difficult.
Okonkwo still has some Dynasty upside, mainly due to the barren landscape of the tight end position and a non-zero chance to be the second target in this offense. But in Redraft, he’s a wait-and-see target.
The same can’t be said for Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Kyle Philips, both of which are rendered fantasy irrelevant for the most part without injury.
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