With the recent dominance of running backs like Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook, the first round in your upcoming fantasy draft will have running backs flying off the board. Coming off of a record breaking 2019, Michael Thomas is the obvious first pick among wide receivers and there really isn’t a debate. The problem for many fans, however, will be who comes off the board second? A very common choice will be choosing between DeAndre Hopkins and Davante Adams as your first fantasy pick.
Depending on what rankings you go by, some have Davante at 6th overall with DeAndre Hopkins at 9th. Others have the two swapped.
To be clear, you really can’t go wrong between the two. Both are top-five receivers in the game right now. However, fantasy football, like real football, is a game of inches. One point can quite literally be the difference between making the playoffs or fighting for scraps. With that being said, let’s dive in and figure out which receiver you should lean towards with your late first round pick.
DeAndre Hopkins Fantasy Outlook
ADP: 1.11, WR3
Hopkins has been nothing short of amazing the past few years. He’s easily a top tier wide receiver in the league and has shown the ability to do anything, including bailing his team out multiple times. In 15 games last season, he had 104 receptions for 1,165 yards and seven touchdowns. Hopkins has two 1,500-plus-yard receiving seasons in his career and will always be a threat to get 1,300 each year. The problem with Hopkins, ironically, is he is now in a functional system with the Arizona Cardinals.
In Houston, he was often the bail-out solution. The only other receiving option they had was an injury-prone Will Fuller. Houston also didn’t have much of a reliable rushing game, so they relied on that Deshaun Watson-Hopkins connection more than they needed to. The problem for his fantasy hopes this year is he won’t have that.
Kyler Murray has shown his chemistry with Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald. While Hopkins will still put up monster numbers in an explosive offense, I expect him to take a small step back. He isn’t the only option now in the passing game. As a result, he will probably see fewer targets than he was seeing in Houston. I still expect him to see a lot of targets, but he is no longer the only one his quarterback is focusing on.
Another thing to keep in mind is the schedule and division for the Cardinals. Four of Arizona’s 16 games are against the Seahawks and 49ers, who have fantastic defenses. While the rest of their schedule doesn’t present them with superb defenses, that is still four games when Hopkins’ superhuman abilities might start to look a little more human. I’m not saying he will be a bust or isn’t a first-round pick by any means, however, keep in mind there will likely be some regression here, especially in a new system.
Davante Adams Fantasy Outlook
ADP: 1.10, WR2
Davante Adams and the Green Bay Packers were one of the surprises in the NFC, by turning around and winning the NFC North, along with finding themselves in the NFC Championship again. Adams wasn’t completely healthy, but I don’t see much concern with his durability, as the turf toe he suffered is a fairly common injury. Even with missing four games, he still posted 83 receptions for 997 yards and five touchdowns. Much to the surprise of everyone, including Aaron Rodgers, the Packers didn’t draft a single receiver in one of the most deep receiver classes we’ve ever seen. For that reason, Adams is set for another monster season.
Many forget the Packers offense was certainly nothing to be proud of to start the season. There were plenty of hiccups. With a full year under Matt LaFleur’s system, I see an offense that has ironed things out and has a chance to hit the ground running. The second option in the receiving game for the Packers is likely to be either Allen Lazard or Devin Funchess — not much of a worry there to steal looks from Adams.
With the Minnesota Vikings clearing out their cornerback room and also losing wide receiver Stefon Diggs, their defense will take a step back and their offense will become more one dimensional. The Chicgao Bears have the same issue and the Detroit Lions are a mess, currently. These matchups for Adams will be even better than last year and the Packers offense should find itself on the field more often as well. Every second on the field is another chance for Adams to cash in a big reception that may turn the tide in your fantasy matchup.
Verdict: Davante Adams
I want to again be clear that there is no bad pick. Although I expect Hopkins to take a small step back in fantasy, these two should both put up similar numbers. In fantasy, however, you need consistency with big game potential. With a new system, tougher competition and more surrounding talent around Hopkins, I think the choice has to be Adams.
If there are still some elite running backs available late in the first round, it’s okay to go the running back path too. However, if you find yourself sweating and second guessing yourself between where to go on the receiver pick, take Adams. Barring any crazy circumstances, he should surely be a top fantasy receiver and, more importantly, one of the reasons you found yourself at the top of your fantasy league.