HomeNewsSportsDeAndre Hopkins Joins the Titans: Impact on Tennessee's Offense and Fantasy Football

DeAndre Hopkins Joins the Titans: Impact on Tennessee’s Offense and Fantasy Football

After a long period of courtship, it has been confirmed by CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones that the Tennessee Titans are set to sign All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. The reported contract is for two years and will see DeAndre Hopkins earning $26 million in both 2023 and 2024. It is said that he could receive up to $15 million during the first season of the contract, as reported by NFL Media.

In addition to his base salary, DeAndre Hopkins has the opportunity to earn up to $3 million in incentives each season. These incentives are tied to his performance and can be earned based on criteria such as the total number of receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. There is also a possibility of earning up to $1 million in bonuses.

Stephen Oh, an analyst at SportsLine, has projected that the signing of DeAndre Hopkins will have a substantial impact on the Tennessee Titans’ prospects. According to his analysis, the addition of DeAndre Hopkins significantly improves the Titans’ chances of winning the AFC South division and securing a spot in the playoffs.

It’s evident why the signing of DeAndre Hopkins is considered significant. Prior to this acquisition, the Tennessee Titans had one of the least imposing pass-catching groups in the league. The expected starting wide receivers were Treylon Burks, a first-round pick from 2022, and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, a former undrafted free agent in his fourth year, lining up on the outside. Meanwhile, Kyle Philips, a fifth-round pick from 2022, was projected to play in the slot position.

Deandre Hopkins
Deandre Hopkins

With the arrival of Hopkins, the Titans’ receiving corps gains a major boost. DeAndre Hopkins is likely to take the position opposite Burks, adding a formidable threat to the team’s passing game. Westbrook-Ikhine will likely assume a role as a situational deep threat, providing additional options for the Titans’ offense. This upgrade in personnel significantly strengthens the Titans’ receiving capabilities.

While DeAndre Hopkins has predominantly played as an outside receiver throughout his career, it is worth mentioning that last year he had one of his highest rates of slot usage. This suggests that the Tennessee Titans may also utilize him in that role. Pro Football Focus provides alignment statistics that support this observation.

Although DeAndre Hopkins is known for his effectiveness on the outside, his versatility and previous experience in the slot could make him a valuable asset in various alignments for the Titans. The coaching staff may choose to deploy him strategically to exploit favorable matchups or to create mismatches against opposing defenses. This flexibility adds an extra dimension to Hopkins’ potential impact on the Titans’ offensive scheme.

As DeAndre Hopkins has matured in his career, his role has shifted towards being more of a short- and medium-depth target, rather than the true three-level threat he was earlier on. In his first six NFL seasons, DeAndre Hopkins consistently had an average depth of target of 12.2 yards or higher. However, in the last four seasons, he has only reached that mark once, and in the previous season, it stood at 10.7 yards. Consequently, DeAndre Hopkins recorded a career-low average of 11.2 yards per reception last season.

This adjustment in his playing style indicates a shift towards being more involved in shorter and intermediate routes, rather than primarily being targeted for deep passes. It could be a strategic adaptation to enhance his efficiency and maintain his productivity as he progresses in his career. While DeAndre Hopkins may no longer be the deep threat he once was, his reliability and effectiveness in the short-to-medium range make him a valuable asset in the Titans’ passing game.

Indeed, DeAndre Hopkins remains a formidable threat who can handle a substantial workload. Last season, he maintained an average of 7.1 receptions per game, which aligns closely with his performance during his prime years. Additionally, his average of 79.7 receiving yards per game was nearly identical to his career average of 77.9 yards per game.

These statistics highlight DeAndre Hopkins’ consistent production throughout his career. Despite any adjustments in his playing style, he continues to deliver at a high level in terms of receptions and receiving yards. His ability to consistently contribute and generate significant output makes him a reliable and valuable asset for any team, including the Tennessee Titans.

It is worth noting that the Tennessee Titans have had a significantly lower pass volume compared to the Arizona Cardinals during DeAndre Hopkins’ tenure with the latter. Over the past four years, with Derrick Henry as the focal point of the Titans’ offense, Tennessee has registered the second-lowest pass rate in the league, trailing only the Baltimore Ravens, according to Tru Media. In contrast, the Cardinals ranked 14th in pass rate during that same timeframe.

DeAndre Hopkins’ Role in the Titans’ Offense: How the Three-Time All-Pro WR Enhances Tennessee’s Passing Attack

Considering the disparity in pass volume between the two teams, DeAndre Hopkins’ ability to generate significant receiving volume may not be as prominent a factor in Tennessee as it was in Arizona. The Titans’ offensive philosophy, centered around Derrick Henry’s rushing prowess, suggests that the passing game might not be as heavily featured. However, DeAndre Hopkins’ skill set and track record of production make him a valuable asset regardless of the overall pass rate. His presence should still provide a boost to the Titans’ passing attack, even if the overall volume may not be as high as it was in Arizona.

Indeed, the presence of DeAndre Hopkins as a threat to earn targets can have a positive impact on the Tennessee Titans’ offense. His ability to command attention from opposing defenses could create more opportunities for other receivers like Treylon Burks to make plays down the field. Additionally, it could benefit second-year tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo in finding openings up the seam.

The Titans, with Ryan Tannehill as their quarterback, have shown a preference for utilizing play-action concepts to target intermediate passes. DeAndre Hopkins’ skill set, particularly his ability to excel on routes such as digs, outs, and curls, and his knack for making contested catches, align well with the team’s offensive strategy. His presence can help in exploiting these areas of the field.

Furthermore, the threat that DeAndre Hopkins poses in those intermediate areas can force defenses to adjust, potentially causing safeties or linebackers to drop down in coverage. This, in turn, could create opportunities for Burks and other receivers to find open spaces over the top, stretching the defense and opening up deeper passing options for the Titans.

In summary, DeAndre Hopkins’ diverse route-running ability, contested catch prowess, and threat in the intermediate passing game could greatly benefit the Titans’ offense by creating opportunities for other receivers and stretching the defense vertically.

There is speculation that Ryan Tannehill’s time as the Tennessee Titans’ starting quarterback may be coming to an end, with the team having drafted Will Levis in the second round. It is anticipated that Levis could assume the top quarterback position in the near future. In such a scenario, having a reliable target like DeAndre Hopkins, who excels at winning against man coverage and making difficult catches in tight spaces, can be extremely valuable for a young quarterback in the early stages of his development.

While players like Treylon Burks, Chigoziem Okonkwo, and Kyle Philips may have the potential to become high-level targets, they are not yet at that level. Having DeAndre Hopkins on the team provides a valuable asset, particularly in terms of leadership and reliability, which can prove beneficial to a young quarterback. However, it should be noted that the extent of DeAndre Hopkins’ impact on Levis’ development will depend on whether Levis receives significant playing time while Hopkins is still with the team.

Considering the structure of DeAndre Hopkins’ two-year contract, there is a possibility that the 2023 season might be the only one in which he plays for the Tennessee Titans. Nonetheless, his presence and experience can contribute to the growth and progress of the team’s younger players, providing valuable support for the offense regardless of the quarterback situation.

Fantasy Implications of DeAndre Hopkins Joining the Titans

CBS Sports fantasy expert Jamey Eisenberg provides his assessment of the impact of DeAndre Hopkins joining the Tennessee Titans, both for DeAndre Hopkins himself and the players around him.

Impact on DeAndre Hopkins’ fantasy value: Eisenberg believes that DeAndre Hopkins’ fantasy situation is not ideal with the move to the Titans. He highlights that the Titans’ passing attack is not as dynamic as the one in Arizona with Kyler Murray. While DeAndre Hopkins has been a productive receiver, his age and uncertain volume of targets in Tennessee lead Eisenberg to consider him more as a top-24 receiver rather than a definitive No. 1 receiver. He suggests that Hopkins can be drafted around Round 5.

Impact on Ryan Tannehill’s fantasy value: Eisenberg sees DeAndre Hopkins’ arrival as a significant boost for Tannehill. With DeAndre Hopkins as the lead receiver, Tannehill’s fantasy outlook improves, and he goes from being a non-drafted quarterback in two-quarterback and superflex leagues to a reliable No. 2 quarterback option. Tannehill’s running ability and previous success with his receiving options contribute to his increased sustainability. However, he will need to perform well to retain the starting job, as Will Levis could potentially take over.

Impact on Treylon Burks and Chigoziem Okonkwo’s fantasy value: Eisenberg notes that DeAndre Hopkins’ presence lowers the ceiling for players like Burks and Okonkwo. DeAndre Hopkins typically dominates targets, limiting the opportunities for other receivers. Burks could still be considered as a No. 4 receiver option in the range of Rounds 8-9, while Okonkwo’s breakout potential is diminished due to fewer expected targets. Nevertheless, Okonkwo can still be drafted as a low-end starter at tight end.

Impact on Derrick Henry’s fantasy value: Eisenberg believes that DeAndre Hopkins’ arrival doesn’t significantly change Henry’s fantasy value. As a running back, Henry is not heavily involved in the receiving game. While the addition of Hopkins could potentially create more open running lanes, Henry’s value remains consistent as a running-focused workhorse. Eisenberg suggests drafting Henry around Round 2 rather than Round 1.

In summary, DeAndre Hopkins’ fantasy value may be slightly diminished in Tennessee, while Tannehill’s value sees a significant boost. Burks and Okonkwo’s fantasy ceilings are lowered, but they can still be considered as draft options. Henry’s value remains relatively stable with only minor changes expected.

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