And we thought the Odell deal was bad…Hopkins joins the Arizona Cardinals after being dealt from the Texans in exchange for David Johnson and two picks, neither of which are in the first round. Hopkins old setup in Houston was tuned for him, Watson knew where to go anytime a play was broken and they mostly lacked a consistent run game which gave the passing game more opportunities, especially in the red zone, the biggest factor by far was the man at QB, Deshaun Watson is one of the most talented QBs in the league, he is smart, crafty, poised, and can hit a man in the chest from a mile away. Now Hopkins moves to Arizona where he will become the instant number one, in his new environment he will see a strong play-action game and possibly the first working air-raid offense in the league, Kyler Murray looks to make the leap in his second season. This offense can be an absolute powerhouse but still lack the secondary and defense overall to contain better offenses, this can lead to higher scoring games and more opportunities on offense for big play situations. I see this move as a positive but near lateral move as his target share should drop with the number of weapons on the team along with Murray’s running abilities, he will see more opportunities on the field but with Kyler’s lack of experience compared to Watson, we could see some big plays missed here and there. This move is great for Kyler but hurts all other players, taking away possibly 100+ targets and red zone carries being deferred in favor of corner shots to Hopkins.
The player that has been almost traded multiple times has finally got his wish, with this Stefon Diggs, joins a young Buffalo Bills team that’s ready to take over the AFC East. Diggs played in a tandem offense with Thielen and Cousins at the helm, due to the number of weapons on the Vikings Diggs struggled to produce for portions of the season, now with the Bills, he will have a somewhat similar situation with Josh Allen slinging the ball downfield to him. His new run game, led by Devin Singletary, looks to take a big step this season and could help take safety help away from Diggs allowing a more significant chance of a play made. Josh Allen was top 10 in the league in deep balls last season and I expect a similar result this season as well, Diggs big-play ability combined with his average yards per reception being top 6 in the league gives me the feeling this due could make some magic happen. I see this move as a positive for Diggs, he will see more opportunities in this Bills offense and can rally behind the city, this is also a positive for Josh Allen, adding a great weapon to the receiving core, and Devin Singletary, forcing the defense to not stack the box as much. This move hurts John Brown the most, as he was the main guy in that offense and received a good amount of deep balls, this will decrease his production possible by a third, I don’t see Beasley being too affected by this, his role in the slot is pretty solidified and his target share shouldn’t take too big of a hit.
Robby Anderson goes from a mess of a system led by Adam Gase to a startup in Carolina as they not only bring in Anderson…but Bridgewater and Rhule as well. The Panthers offense has a new look this year, and that can bode well for Anderson, currently, the Panthers receiving core is made up of mostly speedy, smaller/lankier players with Moore being the route-runner, Samuel the playmaker, and Anderson the deep ball. The problem with some of these smaller guys is that teams can just play press and have safety help over top to cover the speed but that can’t be done when playing the Panthers, teams will have to stack the box on McCaffery to keep him from breaking free, which opens up the secondary to air attacks. Bridgewater ranked 4th in the league in deep ball percentage last season, while that stat is slightly skewed it shows his ability to get the ball to his receivers downfield, which is very good news for Anderson. I see this move as positive for Anderson, getting out of a Gase system is always good for a player, we’ve seen Drake and Tannehill have great success after leaving, let’s see if Anderson can do the same. They have the 7th easiest receiving schedule in the league and will need to put up points in an offensive juggernaut NFC South.
The Texans couldn’t handle one bombshell in an offseason…so how about two, Brandon Cooks joins the Houston Texas after being traded from the LA Rams for a 2nd and 2021 4th. First off… Cooks contract is rather similar to Hopkins but at least the Rams will be eating most of the contract, so at least the Texans get a second back and Cooks on a cheaper deal with what they have to pay. Going into the fantasy aspect of this, it’s a loss for everyone but Watson, Cooks gets an upgrade at QB but his deep ball production will be limited with Will Fuller in the mix. Cooks production last year was limited due to injuries but was definitely a down year for the young journeyman, I don’t expect a sharp uptick in number this season for Cooks but definitely some improvement, Cooks has sleeper potential because of his big-play potential, especially on a team that will be looking at some tough games ahead as the Texans possess the 4th hardest schedule in fantasy football for receivers.