The 2023 fantasy football season was flipped on it's head Sunday afternoon as one of the biggest late-offseason dominos has finally fallen after weeks of speculation. DeAndre Hopkins, after being released from the Arizona Cardinals on May 26th, has found a new home as he’s reported to be signing with the Tennessee Titans, per Doug Kyed, with contract figures laid out by Ian Rapoport. This signing has a sizeable impact on fantasy football, shifting fantasy average draft position (ADP) and potentially shaking up fantasy football rankings as we head toward training camp very soon. This breaking news will also affect NFL betting markets and how we perceive the Titans to operate offensively, so let's dive into everything here.


DeAndre Hopkins Fantasy Football ADP & Fantasy Impact

Right now on Underdog Fantasy, Hopkins is being drafted in the late-fourth to early-fifth round range in the mix with some high-upside options that have questions about the offense they’re in, like Drake London, Christian Watson, Terry McLaurin, and DJ Moore. Hopkins does stick out here as an option who, like McLaurin, has earned targets at a high clip.

Last season after a six-game PED suspension, Hopkins earned over 10 targets per game and still had a robust air yard and target share per game (29.4% from Week 7-16). Only Justin Jefferson, Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill earned a higher percentage of their team’s targets in Week 7-16 than Hopkins did. While the Cardinals didn’t score a ton of points last season, his peripheral statistics were still very much what we expect from a player like Hopkins — even if he’s entering his age-31 season in 2023.

So now, with the move to Tennessee, where should we be drafting him in fantasy football? I’d argue Hopkins is probably in the correct spot in drafts right now. Arizona’s raw pass rate (65%) was the sixth-best in the NFL last season, almost out of necessity because the Cardinals only won four games and cycled through quarterbacks after Kyler Murray went down. If Hopkins had stayed in Arizona, he would have benefitted as an obvious alpha target that would have to rely on pure volume to pay off his current WR25 ADP.

With Tennessee, the play-calling skews heavier to the run with Derrick Henry as they were the third-lowest pass rate over expected (PROE) last season, but we’ve been drafting Treylon Burks (WR35, mid-late sixth round) and Chigoziem Okonkwo (TE12, mid-11th round) aggressively with the thought that they would benefit as the top ascending options in a passing game that had a ton of targets available. 

Enter Hopkins, and I’m predicting Burks slides back a round into the end of the main wide receiver tier with Rashod Bateman and Courtland Sutton. That could represent a nice buying opportunity if you like Burks’ athletic profile and versatility moving around the formation. That’s the best-case scenario. As for Okonkwo, he probably doesn’t move more than a spot or two in the tight end rankings, but his target-earning upside might be capped in an offense that may only throw the ball a little more than 500 times last season.

Let’s not forget about Ryan Tannehill, the Titans’ quarterback who has essentially been left for dead in early season-long rankings and in best ball. I’m fine drafting him now as a very low-end QB2 or high-end QB3 in best ball, but he remains a quarterback who goes undrafted in redraft formats. Not much has changed here, even with the addition of Hopkins, as Tannehill won’t suddenly become a quarterback throwing for 30 touchdowns this season because Hopkins is now in town.

There are also the teams Hopkins DIDN’T go to where you can see some ADP movement, like players on the Bills, Chiefs and Patriots — all teams where Hopkins was rumored to go before landing with the Titans. There’s no doubt some influence in best ball ADP was centered around some of the options that would have been alongside Hopkins, like Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, Kadarius Toney, and even Rhamondre Stevenson. Players and other ancillary targets on those teams will likely go up a bit in ADP following this deal, as drafters will have renewed confidence now that the Hopkins domino has fallen.

Tennessee Titans Super Bowl Odds & Win Totals Following DeAndre Hopkins Signing

On FanDuel Sportsbook, the Super Bowl odds for the Tennessee Titans moved from +7500 yesterday to +6000, but the win total remains where it was before the signing, at 7.5.

Over at DraftKings, the Titans’ Super Bowl odds still haven’t moved from +8000 to win the Super Bowl. Their win total has also stayed static as of the time of this writing at 7.5 wins, It seems like the oddsmakers and betting markets still aren’t too convinced that the Titans are a legitimate contender in the AFC South and the AFC as a whole.

According to Sharp Football Analysis, the Titans have one of the tougher schedules in the NFL. The Titans also have a top-five “rest edge”, which is +11 days of rest over their scheduled opponents, which accounts for days after Thursday and Monday night games, bye week rest, the odd special and holiday scheduled games (Saturday games, overseas games, etc.)

To contrast, the worst team in the NFL for rest edge is the San Francisco 49ers, who have a whopping 20 FEWER days of rest compared to their opponents. 

With everything considered, plus some general variance and the Titans seemingly being a much better team than the sum of their parts over the years, I'd be willing to place the over 7.5 wins bet with the thought that they should be the second-best team in the AFC South in most scenarios.

Tennessee Titans Odds To Win AFC South & DeAndre Hopkins Impact

With the Jacksonville Jaguars currently holding the mantle as the perceived top team in the AFC South following their late-season surge and young, ascending offense led by Trevor Lawrence, plus the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans potentially finding their quarterback of the future, the Titans stand out as the “veteran” team. They’re still in a competitive window with Derrick Henry, a veteran Ryan Tannehill and now adding Hopkins? This offense has the potential to surprise this season, so I don’t mind making some informed bets on the Titans to eclipse the set win line of 7.5. I just don’t think the ceiling is there for more than 9-10 wins should things break right for them. Though Britt Flinn seems all in on the Titans following this trade:

As for the on-field impact of Hopkins, he slots in as the primary outside receiver at arguably the most significant position of need for Tennessee. After Treylon Burks, the Titans were (and still are) woefully thin amongst their pass-catching ranks, with Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Kyle Philips, and Chris Moore slated as the next receivers up. Hopkins gives Ryan Tannehill and potentially second-round pick Will Levis a legitimate top-flight wide receiver that can earn targets. That will be big for the passing game, but will the Titans commit anything more to the passing game from a volume standpoint? 


DeAndre Hopkins going from a fast-paced, volume-driven offense in Arizona to a low-volume, efficiency-based passing game seems like a wash on paper when determining how to shift his fantasy football value in drafts. That’s why I can’t see the fantasy community reacting so wildly with any ADP shift on Hopkins because of the extremes of one offense to another, plus his “advanced” age and the production cliff that’s typical of older former-alpha receivers when they start to lose some of the explosiveness in their athletic profile.

From a real-life standpoint, this tweet does loom large:

The AJ Brown trade pretty much cost former Titans GM Jon Robinson his job, so we’ll see how this Hopkins move turns out for new GM Ran Carthon.

While Hopkins is still very talented, this signing doesn’t mean Tennessee will have a radical philosophy shift towards more passing in a meaningful way. It’s more of an efficiency play where Hopkins can soak up targets, and if Ryan Tannehill has some gas left in the tank, he can lift up the offense a bit more. Does this signing make the Titans a better team? I’d say marginally, as there’s no doubt that the Titans as a whole are better for this move right now, but it’s not a needle mover for Hopkins’ individual fantasy football prospects in 2023.