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Dynasty Fantasy Football Mailbag: DeAndre Hopkins a Titan, Jerry Jeudy a Bust?

We answer your dynasty questions.

DeAndre Hopkins

Welcome back to the DLF Mailbag, the preeminent mailbag in all the dynasty fantasy football land. This year I’ll be answering questions from you via Twitter, Discord, or the old-fashioned way (via email).

Free agency is now far behind us. The 2023 NFL Draft has now come and gone. It’s the quiet season until training camps open, but that doesn’t mean the questions ever stop. While it may be the dog days of summer, and seemingly nothing is going on this is a great time to evaluate your rosters and see what changes or upgrades can be made.

DeAndre Hopkins is a Tennessee Titan

I’ve received a couple of questions regarding Hopkins signing with the Titans, so let’s dig into that. Let’s answer this question from the back forward, as how Hopkins produces will indeed affect the other Titan pass catchers. A year after I wrote Hopkins off as being washed, after scoring 14.7 PPG but being limited to ten games due to injury, and capturing just a 20.5% target share (his lowest rate outside of 2013 in his rookie season), he bounced back in 2022 – at least he did in the limited amount of time he was on the field. Though he missed the first six weeks while serving a PED suspension, Hopkins increased his fantasy scoring to 16.9 PPG and his target share rebounded to a 29.4% share last season. Besides missing those six games, he also missed two more games due to a knee sprain.

Hopkins enters the 2023 season as a 31-year-old wide receiver moving to a team that passed at the third-lowest rate (26.8 pass attempts per game) in the league last year. And while AJ Brown may have thrived in this offense in 2020, finishing as the WR8 in PPG, I still have concerns about Hopkins’ outlook.

That 2020 season was an outlier for wide receiver production in the Titans offense during the Mike Vrabel regime. That season has been the only one thus far that a Titan wide receiver has finished better than WR24 in PPG (also AJ Brown in 2021). Under Vrabel, the Titans have never finished higher than 25th in pass attempts in a season, finishing each of the other four seasons with the 30th or 31st most attempts.

Could Hopkins produce at an elite level in 2023? Over the past three seasons, the Titans have averaged 492 pass attempts per season, and Hopkins has captured a 26% target share, which would be 128 targets. That is assuming he plays a full complement of games – which he hasn’t been able to do since the 2020 season – and as already noted Hopkins is now 31 years old, not an age when you typically get healthier. He can produce at an elite level if he remains healthy and produces more in line with his 2021 season when he finished sixth in fantasy points per target as opposed to his 2022 season (69th), or his 2020 season (57th). But considering the low-volume passing offense he’s joining, and his own recent inefficiencies, I’m betting on Hopkins being closer to a WR2 than his customary WR1 range.

I already feel the market is too high on Chigoziem Okonkwo, even though he did score as a top-eight end on three (!) occasions last year. Yes, that is sarcasm you are sensing. Hopkins joining the Titans pass catchers and monopolizing targets can not be seen as a good thing for Okonkwo.

My distaste for Treylon Burks is pretty well noted. Rookie wide receivers who have produced at his level (8.6 PPG in their rookie season), have typically not done well as fantasy assets. To paraphrase my friend, @RunDFF, it’s hard to believe in Burks when it’s obvious that the Titans don’t think he’s a WR1, and have just replaced him in the pecking order. As of two months ago, I was willing to accept any 2024 first-round rookie pick for Burks, I’ll now accept any 2025 first-rounder to get him off my roster.

Is Jerry Jeudy a bust?

First things first, regardless if Jerry Jeudy never plays another down, it’s fair to say he’s the most successful wide receiver drafted 15th overall in the NFL draft in the past 23 years. Take that for what it’s worth.

For those not in the know, the third-year wide receiver theory is exactly what it sounds like: a number of wide receivers tend to break out in their third seasons in the NFL, and this has been floating around the dynasty space for some time and is still kicking around. After “breaking out” in his third season, finishing as the WR19 in PPG, it’s fair to wonder what Jeudy’s value is and what could be his future upside. He has been consistent from a volume perspective with at least a 19% – 21% target share in each of his first three seasons. His 9.9 PPG in his rookie season left him among a nice group of players who produced similarly as rookies over the past 12 years.

Jeudy took a step back in his second year dealing with injuries, but he rebounded well last season. Looking at other wide receivers who produced similarly in their third seasons, some players have gone on to produce as WR2s and a couple of WR1 producers in Stefon Diggs and AJ Brown.

Just based on these quick comparisons gathered utilizing Stathead, I think we can assume that Jeudy will continue to be a WR2 at worst, with the potential for more. While I don’t think he’ll ascend to WR1 levels, he’s never commanded the requisite target share to do so, he’s still a useful piece to your fantasy roster. Considering his production and age, I’d say his DLF WR23 ranking is fair. If I could use him and another player to tier up into the WR1 range I would certainly do so, and I also wouldn’t be opposed to getting a WR ranked lower than him if I could get a kicker thrown in the deal.

Roster construction advice

When given the choice of which lottery ticket wide receiver to roster, I will always give the same answer. Neither. Pick up a running back instead. ‘Any RB on a 53’ (shoutout to my co-host @CharlesChillFFB) is a better option than a bottom-of-the-roster wide receiver. The probability of a fifth-string wide receiver ever providing you with fantasy production or value is minimal. The path is too hard to overcome. These players would need three or four injuries above them to see playing time, and even then it’s not as if they would just absorb all the targets vacated by the missing player. They’re not actually any good, which kind of matters at the wide receiver position, since targets are earned. Running backs just need volume, even inefficient running backs who have volume are liable to give you some production, or at least the allure of production which can allow you to flip them for a rookie pick.

Dynasty Fantasy Football Mailbag: DeAndre Hopkins a Titan, Jerry Jeudy a Bust?
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2 months ago

Not sure if I can fully get behind the Burks take. I get the sentiment, but it really feels like that’s a knee jerk reaction. I can see moving him if you’re really trying to make a contending push, but I think most other teams would be better served investing in his type of talent while the market is down on him. Would really like to see a more complete analysis on your take about historical ppg. Hopkins (ironically) posted just under Burks ppg in his rookie season. Davante Adams, Chris Godwin, and Michael Pittman are some other guys that also posted less than that 9 ppg. Not sure I buy into the predictiveness of that stat.

Last edited 2 months ago by qwengler
2 months ago

 “it’s hard to believe in Burks when it’s obvious that the Titans don’t think he’s a WR1, and have just replaced him in the pecking order” – with that logic, it’s straightforward to see your distaste for Burks. I feel any NFL team wants to upgrade their team if they see a fit and a way. The Titans though are kind of like the Colts recent QB starters in that both try aged products to plug the hole that haven’t been successful. Burkes appears much leaner this year, and if his ability to breath is resolved (asthma), I see nothing in adding a weapon on the opposite side to control safeties as a negative for the young stud to keep progressing

Last edited 2 months ago by globalruler
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