You learn you have the 1.01 pick in a dynasty startup. Excited, you rush to the DLF Dynasty Rankings. Uh, oh. Both Odell Beckham Jr. and DeAndre Hopkins are in a virtual tie at the top – this isn’t going to be an easy decision. Whoever you go with may just win you championships, or prove to be the reason you can’t get over the hump. You can’t mess this up, right?
Luckily, in this article, I’m going to tackle this debate head-on. Through examining a variety of factors, I hope to give you an answer you can be confident in. So, worry not 1.01 owners, your answer is here. Let’s settle this.
A Brief Career Review: Odell Beckham Jr.
Since being taken with the 13th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, OBJ has been, in a word, dominant. Although he only played twelve games in his rookie season, Beckham placed tenth in the NFL with 1,305 yards, tied for ninth with 91 receptions, and tied for fourth with 12 touchdowns. His per-game numbers were ridiculous – 7.6 receptions for 108 yards and 12 touchdowns. Beckham was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and was only getting started.
While his per-game numbers weren’t as staggering as his illustrious 2014 campaign in his second and third years, Beckham kept on torching defenses throughout 2015 and 2016. If two-second team All-Pro awards aren’t enough to sway you, let’s look at the combined stats. Through a total of 31 games, Beckham garnered 197 receptions for 2,817 yards, and 23 touchdowns. Over that stretch, only Julio Jones and Antonio Brown had more receiving yards and Beckham topped both of them in terms of touchdowns. Along with Brown, Beckham was the only receiver to finish in the top five of wide receiver scoring in both of those seasons as well.
Everything was rolling for Beckham, and then 2017 happened. After getting off to another solid start, the Giants star went down with a fractured ankle which ended his year. Beckham’s injury was one of many that rocked the entire fantasy landscape last season.
A Brief Career Review: DeAndre Hopkins
Hopkins has had a career filled with ups and downs, but is now seemingly, fully coming into his own. Picked 27th overall by Houston in 2013, he didn’t start his career off with the same bang Beckham did but still showed a lot of promise. The Texan finished his rookie season with 52 receptions and 802 yards but had a pedestrian two touchdowns.
Hopkins really stepped things up in his second season. Not only did he up receptions, yards and touchdowns by significant amounts, he finished as a WR1 for the very first time.
Building off of a successful sophomore season, Hopkins really took off the following year. Producing a slash line of 111/1,521/11, the Clemson product was a top-five fantasy receiver and second-team All-Pro. He was set up to have one heck of a 2016 season.
Instead of taking another step forward, Hopkins regressed, pretty majorly. He tumbled all the way down to 35th in WR scoring, while failing to get 1,000 yards nor five touchdowns.
There was plenty of reason to be wary of an inconsistent Hopkins headed into 2017. As we all know, he was unbelievable. Finishing as the best fantasy receiver and a first-team All-Pro, Hopkins was straight up remarkable. With a line of 96/1,378/13, he went from an intriguing player to a dynasty asset you could build your team around.
Now that we’re all caught up on how we got here, let’s go through a series of factors that will led us to the decision.
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Although Hopkins was drafted a year before Beckham, the two are only separated in age by five months. Hopkins will turn 26 in June while Beckham will do the same in November. Both of these receivers should just be entering their NFL primes. Yes, I would always take the younger of two players all else being equal, but five months isn’t enough for me to take age under any sort of serious consideration.
Injury/Off Field History
Hopkins wins big here. It’s really not close. His only off the field “issue” is a 2016 holdout that lasted all of one day. This guy is seemingly a model citizen. As far as injuries history, once again, there is nothing scary at all. Through five seasons, Hopkins has missed only one game. That’s it.
Beckham, on the other hand, has had his stock become a bit marred by his antics and injuries. OBJ missed four games as a rookie due to a hamstring issue and was sidelined for the majority of 2017. The former LSU Tiger has also had his fair share of off the field controversies as well. A one-game suspension in 2015 for his dangerous spat with Josh Norman and a recently released video that shows Beckham with probable drugs is understandably scary to some owners.
I really think Hopkins is in the ideal situation. After dealing with shaky quarterback play for most of his young career, he appears to finally have his franchise quarterback in Deshaun Watson. Hopkins’ place in the offense is also just perfect. He’s surrounded by enough talent in Will Fuller, Lamar Miller, D’Onta Foreman and even a young player like Keke Coutee to take some off some of the heat, but not good enough to threaten any of his targets.
On the other hand, will Beckham be a Giant for the long haul? Although it wasn’t always clear, it looks to be the case. However, unlike Houston, New York has some serious offensive firepower surrounding their superstar wide receiver. In Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard, OBJ has some weapons to compete with. Couple that with the fact the Giants have no clear quarterback of the future and you can see why the edge goes to Hopkins here.
Hopkins’ numbers are tantalizing, but this Beckham all the way. Here are their career finishes at the receiver position:
Beckham: 2014: 4th, 2015: 4th, 2016: 4th, 2017: 83rd (injury)
Hopkins: 2013: 26th, 2014: 12th, 2015: 5th, 2016: 35th, 2017: 1st
When healthy, Beckham has certainly been superior.
In 79 career games for Hopkins, he’s totaled a very respectable 18 (23%) outings of over 100 receiving yards.
However, Beckham, in only 47 games, has 19 (40%) of those performances.
Whether you go by yearly numbers or weekly production, Beckham wins this all day long.
Final Decision: Odell Beckham, Jr.
DeAndre Hopkins is extremely intriguing. You know he’s going to be on the field every week. He’s the clear number one in a budding Texans offense. And oh, by the way, is coming off a 2017 season where he was the most productive receiver in football. However, I’m still going with Beckham – this kid is just too talented. And when he’s even remotely healthy, he absolutely balls out. The numbers he puts up are just too good to pass up on.
Where do you lean? Let us know in the comments below?