PFF: Cardinals’ DeAndre Hopkins best receiver in NFL through 5 weeks
It doesn’t take an advanced statistician to recognize that wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has dominated during his first five games as an Arizona Cardinal.
In fact, Pro Football Focus ranked him as the No. 1 receiver in the NFL, using not just these first weeks and the outlet’s grading system, but a “combination of everything we know about these wideouts.”
Much of Hopkins’ placement is on the basis of very traditional stats.
Hopkins’ 528 receiving yards and 45 receptions lead the league. His 53 targets are second-most, and his catch rate of 84.9% is absurd for high-target receivers.
That’s the bulk of it. At a very basic level, if you lead the league in two of the three major categories at your position — touchdowns being the third — after years of elite play, you have a convincing argument as the top receiver in the game.
If anything, Hopkins has been better in Arizona than he was in Houston despite more inconsistent play from Kyler Murray at quarterback than he had from Deshaun Watson — for the most part.
Hopkins’ 84.9% catch rate blows any other year of his out of the water. His highest entering the season was 70.6%, and he only had one other season above 60%.
If he were somehow able to keep the pace he is on through five games, he would finish the year with 144 catches and 1,690 receiving yards.
Going off five games is too small of a small sample size to seriously speculate what his season may look like, but PFF noted that the Cardinals have tailored their passing game to fit Hopkins.
“The Cardinals’ scheme is getting Hopkins open to make plays in ways that the Houston system never did, and that’s resulting in statistical dominance on a new level for him.”
Five games is all we have, and through five games, Hopkins has looked like the best receiver in the league.
It does help his case that other elite wideouts have missed time due to injury and, in New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas’ case, for punching a teammate.
Thomas placed second. He, third-place Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones and fourth-place finisher Davante Adams of the Green Bay Packers have all missed time this season.
Even if these stars had no missed time, Hopkins would have a good chance of topping the list. He has been an absolute difference-maker on the field and is the driver of Arizona’s offense.
After five weeks with the Cardinals, Hopkins has asserted himself at the top of the wide receiver pyramid.