Deandre Hopkins for David Johnson. Trade disaster or Acquisition Genius?

 

Revisiting the Deandre Hopkins for David Johnson Trade


The fantasy community has moved on from the trade disaster that sent David Johnson, a 2020 second-round pick, and a 2021 fourth-round pick to the Texans and shipped Deandre Hopkins and a 2020 fourth-round pick to the Cardinals. Only insiders know why this trade went down the way it did, but we can speculate. It seems like a classic case of an unhinged Bill O’Brien making emotional decisions without any regard for the future of his team.  Does he really think David Johnson and a battered WR Corps can get them to the next level, or was it smoke and mirrors to hide his incompetence?

DeAndre Hopkins

The fact that Houston did not even secure a first round pick to replace the team’s all-pro superstar was disturbing to say the least. Since entering the league in 2013, Deandre Hopkins solidified himself as an immediate threat. Hopkins’ rookie year stat line was impressive and gave everyone in Houston something to be excited about.

Never-ending QB Frustrations

The quarterback situation in Houston had been embarrassing until Deshaun Watson’s arrival in 2017, but Hopkins did what any star player would do and kept producing. 2014 was his first 1,000+ yard season, posting 76 receptions for 1210 yards. He followed that up in 2015 with the biggest year of his short career production-wise. He posted 111 receptions, 1521 receiving yards, and 11 touchdowns. Matt Shaub showed the most promise but crashed and burned faster than you can say “interception”. Following him was a series of terrible replacements: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett, Case Keenum, Brian Hoyer, T. J. Yates, Brandon Weeden, Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage (all within a 4-year span). Hopkins has proved he can play regardless.
My 2020 Prediction: 93 receptions for 1230 yards and 10 touchdowns.

David Johnson

David Johnson has proven that he can play running back at an elite level, but he has also shown himself completely unreliable at times. Since 2015, he has only posted one season that he ran for over 1000 yards. In 2016, he rushed 293 times, for 1239 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns, while also managing 80 receptions for 879 yards and 4 receiving touchdowns. This was the year that David Johnson set the fantasy world on fire. Unfortunately for owners, he followed that up in 2017 by dislocating his wrist and playing just one game. Looking at the full picture exposes the roller coaster that is David Johnson’s production, or lack thereof.

His injury history is problematic. It is not necessarily the seriousness of the injuries, but the frequency of them, that  demonstrates his durability is clearly an issue. Here is his injury history in the NFL.

Oct 20, 2019 NFL Pedal Ankle Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1
Sep 10, 2017 NFL Hand Wrist Dislocation
Jan 1, 2017 NFL Knee MCL Sprain Grade 2
Nov 27, 2016 NFL Hand Finger Dislocation
Aug 3, 2015 NFL Thigh Hamstring Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1

So, is there a silver lining for Houston and/or David Johnson? I say yes. In 2018, Carlos Hyde had 58 rushing attempts for 189 yards and a league-worst 3.3 yards per touch. He had zero touchdowns rushing or receiving. In 2019, the Texans signed him in the offseason and his career was revived. He rushed 245 times, for 1070 yards, for a 4.4-yard average, and 6 touchdowns. David Johnson is a far superior running back to Hyde without question. His longevity, speed, and durability are being heavily scrutinized, but if he can stay on the field, he should do very well. If he earns his spot as the feature back, he will see his first 1000-yard rushing season since 2016.
My 2020 Prediction: 260 rush attempts for 1050 yards and 8 touchdowns, 58 receptions for 430 yards and 4 touchdowns.

So Who Really Won In This Trade?

Kyler Murray. Deandre Hopkins will just continue playing at a high level and not much will change for him. Different stadium, different guy throwing him the ball, same results. Larry Fitzgerald is banging on retirement’s door and should be out in the next year or two.

Christian Kirk has shown promise but does not appear to have WR1 Talent. Andy Isabella and KeeSean Johnson have shown flashes of production but have yet to establish themselves as starters with their opportunities thus far. Bringing in a stud like Deandre Hopkins is exactly what Murray needs to build on his Rookie of the Year performance last season. He has a very good chance of finishing as a top 5 QB in all fantasy formats.

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