Cardinals WR Christian Kirk expected to see fantasy football dip in 2020

Apr 5, 2020, 11:11 AM | Updated: 2:46 pm
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Arizona Cardinals have made waves this offseason.

Bringing in wideout DeAndre Hopkins will do that to a team.

But while the hype around the Hopkins deal continues around the Valley, what kind of fantasy football implications does his arrival have for one of the team’s top two receiving options from just a year prior?

Let’s take a look:

Hopkins was targeted 150 times in 2019, and that shouldn’t change too much this season with second-year pro Kyler Murray under center. That leaves limited opportunities for Christian Kirk.

Of the returning Cardinals wideouts, Kirk could see the biggest dip in production.

Last season, Kirk managed to reel in 68 of his 108 targets for 709 yards and three scores. He also added 10 carries for 93 yards. His play in 2019 ranked him 38th among wide receivers in fantasy football, recording 168.2 points in 13 games played (12.9 per outing). Kirk finished ahead of the likes of Robby Anderson and T.Y. Hilton.

The second-year wide receiver had nine games of at least 10 points, with two outings of three points or less. Then came Week 10, when he blew the doors off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and multiple fantasy football matchups, unloading for 138 yards and three scores on six catches (10 targets) for 37.8 points.

Adding to the Hopkins effect is Kirk’s injury history, having missed seven games in the last two seasons.

In 2020, Kirk is projected to finish with 58 receptions for 658 yards and four touchdowns. His targets are expected to drop from 108 to 91 in addition to 104 yards on 15 carries for a total of 162.5 fantasy points (10.2).

But what’s not projected is his ability to field punts. After returning 21 his rookie season, that number dropped to seven in 2019 as he got more time as a receiver. If Hopkins does command the majority of the target share like many believe he will, Kirk could make his money as a returner as well as a third receiving option in the offense.

While there’s still a lot up in the air in terms of how Kirk and the Cardinals offense are going to run with the new addition to the passing game, Kirk could be seen as a matchup-based flex, with WR2 upside given his return potential and deep-ball abilities. If he can remain healthy for a full season, his value only increases.

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