Cardinals Release DeAndre Hopkins: Fantasy Impact on Kyler Murray, Marquise Brown, and Others

The Arizona Cardinals have released DeAndre Hopkins. What are the fantasy impacts on Kyler Murray, Marquise Brown, and other fantasy assets?

The Arizona Cardinals released DeAndre Hopkins on May 26, ending a three-year tenure that began with enormous promise before prematurely ending with a whimper. How does his departure impact the fantasy football values of Kyler Murray, Marquise Brown, Zach Ertz, and other Arizona skill players?

DeAndre Hopkins Released: Fantasy Impact for Arizona Cardinals Players

Kyler Murray

An ACL tear knocked Murray out for the season last year. His Week 1 return remains doubtful. An October return is more realistic. And candidly, if Arizona begins the season in a heap of trouble, we might expect this team to be especially cautious with their franchise QB.

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Whenever he does return, the loss of Hopkins will be felt immediately. Despite the buzz of his supposed regression, Hopkins posted a cool 64-717-3 receiving line in only nine games. He was the WR10 in fantasy points per contest. In five of those outings, his quarterback was Colt McCoy or Trace McSorley.

Even when Marquise Brown was healthy, Hopkins remained Murray’s No. 1 target. He should be knocked down several more spots in QB rankings — not only because Hopkins is gone but also because it signals that Arizona will be in no rush to get Murray back on the field.

Colt McCoy

While Murray’s out, McCoy will be expected to helm this offense. Entering his age-37 campaign, McCoy is serviceable at best. Surrounded by Hopkins, Brown, and a strong tertiary corps, he could be better than serviceable. But that’s no longer a good bet.

Instead, in two-QB leagues, McCoy should be viewed as a bottom-six fantasy option while starting. And we shouldn’t be surprised if Arizona gives the ball to fifth-round rookie Clayton Tune instead.

There’s nothing to gain at this point with McCoy unless this team is pursuing the postseason — not likely. While Tune remains a longshot to earn starts, a strong showing in camp by the 24-year-old might force Arizona’s hand.

Marquise Brown

The biggest fantasy winner is Brown. With Hopkins suspended for the first six games last year, Brown looked like a difference-maker out of the gate, racking up a 43-485-3 receiving line in those six contests on a commendable 67% catch rate.

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This was Brown at his best, as his reunion with his college quarterback looked like a boon for a franchise still bullish about its postseason chances. We know how things turned out. But heading into 2023, Brown is now positioned as the alpha. And while fantasy managers must wait patiently for Murray’s return, when it does happen, Brown should be a weekly fantasy starter. Given how things looked as recently as this morning, this is a marked improvement.

Rondale Moore

Rondale Moore was placed on injured reserve last December with a groin injury after playing in only eight games. Still, he collected 41 catches for 414 yards during that stretch. The Hopkins news pushes Moore — a former second-round draft pick — into the fantasy must-draft realm.

The speedy wideout realistically could finish with the team’s second-most receiving yards in 2023. And while the murky QB situation should concern everyone, Moore doesn’t need an accurate deep-ball passer to get his yards. 85% of his NFL yards have come after the catch.

Essentially, he can generate his own production. That should help him in fantasy, regardless of who’s throwing to him.

Greg Dortch

One of the biggest WR surprises of 2022 was Greg Dortch, a former undrafted free agent who broke out with blisteringly efficient usage. While he probably would have begun this season as the No. 4 WR, he can now be safely elevated to “draftable in deep leagues.” In other words, if you have a lot of bench spots and can afford to stash a fringe WR streamer, there are worse guys to load up on.

Zach Ertz

See the above regarding Murray’s projected return. Because Hopkins’ release isn’t just about the release; it’s about what this might mean for an organization that could be throwing in the towel in 2023.

Ertz is now expendable. Entering his age-33 season, he’s still a potential top-10 fantasy TE when healthy, even if Murray misses half the season. However, this team invested in Trey McBride last year, and Ertz is under contract for three more years (although the Cards can easily get out of it after two).

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Could we see Ertz on the trade block? If so, his value could fluctuate between “waiver fodder” and “must-draft.” He’s the true wild card of this trade because Arizona might find a team with a strong TE that needs Ertz for two-TE sets on a Super Bowl run. Or the Cardinals might find a playoff contender in desperate need of a starter (like Arizona faced in 2021 when they traded for him).

As a result, Ertz is now a risky fantasy investment, with a lower floor and higher ceiling than he had before Hopkins was cut.

Trey McBride

If Hopkins’ release does signal an impending trade of Ertz, then McBride could catapult into the top-12 fantasy TE tier. The 2022 second-round pick has all the makings of a long-term NFL starter. While this year could be up and down, perhaps no one gets a bigger bump in dynasty, as the odds of Ertz not being in Arizona in 2024 just skyrocketed.

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