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Would you believe this guy is good at catching footballs?

Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is having a fine year. While his 69 receptions is tied for only 24th in this era where catching passes is easier than ever, he’s averaging an impressive 16.9 yards per reception. No player with more than 50 receptions has a higher yards per catch average, which is why Hopkins ranks 9th in receiving yards despite ranking 24th in receptions.

But 9th is still just 9th, which is a long cry from 1st. But consider that the Texans are just 31st in pass attempts this year: in that light, ranking 9th looks a lot more impressive. And then consider the state of the Houston quarterback play. The Texans actually rank above average in yards per attempt, but there’s a reason that statistic is misleading: that reason is DeAndre Hopkins.

Houston passers (Ryan Fitzpatrick, mostly, with some Ryan Mallett and Tom Savage cameos) are averaging 7.4 yards per attempt, but that is the result of a 10.7 Y/A average on passes to Hopkins and 6.2 yards per attempt on all other passes.

So start with a player who ranks 9th in receiving yards, adjust for the fact that he’s on the team with the second fewest passes in football, and then consider that his quarterbacks are terrible on passes to everyone else on his team. That’s how you end up with Hopkins being responsible for a league-high 38.6 percent of his team’s receiving yards.

1DeAndre HopkinsHOU1167302038.6%
2Julio JonesATL1428417634.2%
3Jordy NelsonGNB1320389733.9%
4Antonio BrownPIT1498446033.6%
5Demaryius ThomasDEN1389415633.4%
6Dez BryantDAL1148344833.3%
7Golden TateDET1224382432%
8Jeremy MaclinPHI1207391530.8%
9Emmanuel SandersDEN1261415630.3%
10A.J. GreenCIN959316130.3%
11T.Y. HiltonIND1345451229.8%
12Anquan BoldinSFO920308929.8%
13Mike EvansTAM948336128.2%
14Alshon JefferyCHI1027368227.9%
15Rob GronkowskiNWE1093393927.7%
16Vincent JacksonTAM931336127.7%
17Eric DeckerNYJ720260027.7%
18Randall CobbGNB1076389727.6%
19Greg OlsenCAR960351327.3%
20Kelvin BenjaminCAR952351327.1%
21Odell BeckhamNYG972365026.6%
22Steve SmithBAL926347926.6%
23Sammy WatkinsBUF850335125.4%
24Travis KelceKAN747295425.3%
25Julian EdelmanNWE972393924.7%
26DeSean JacksonWAS957390524.5%
27Calvin JohnsonDET935382424.5%
28Andre JohnsonHOU737302024.4%
29Mohamed SanuCIN758316124%
30Mike WallaceMIA804341123.6%
31Delanie WalkerTEN793337223.5%
32Martellus BennettCHI857368223.3%
33Doug BaldwinSEA669291423%
34Andrew HawkinsCLE763333522.9%
35Dwayne BoweKAN667295422.6%
36Keenan AllenSDG783364921.5%
37Malcom FloydSDG777364921.3%
38Michael CrabtreeSFO652308921.1%
39James JonesOAK646308420.9%
40Larry FitzgeraldARI722345820.9%

We can also do the same thing with yards from scrimmage, although you will probably not be surprised to see the leader there:

1DeMarco MurrayDAL16873952082550137.8%
2Matt ForteCHI9327451677496033.8%
3Le'Veon BellPIT12787652043611533.4%
4Arian FosterHOU11272941421493528.8%
5Marshawn LynchSEA11333311464527727.7%
6Julio JonesATL114281429553025.8%
7Justin ForsettBAL11282331361533625.5%
8Jamaal CharlesKAN9502351185472225.1%
9Golden TateDET3012241254499725.1%
10Antonio BrownPIT1314981511611524.7%
11Demaryius ThomasDEN013891389571424.3%
12Eddie LacyGNB9403961336554124.1%
13Jordy NelsonGNB013201320554123.8%
14DeAndre HopkinsHOU011671167493523.6%
15Emmanuel SandersDEN4412611305571422.8%
16Andre EllingtonARI6603951055463922.7%
17T.Y. HiltonIND2013451365605922.5%
18LeSean McCoyPHI11321121244560922.2%
19Jeremy HillCIN8772051082498521.7%
20Jeremy MaclinPHI012071207560921.5%
21Alshon JefferyCHI3310271060496021.4%
22Lamar MillerMIA8292171046499420.9%
23Mike EvansTAM0948948453720.9%
24Dez BryantDAL011481148550120.9%
25Joique BellDET7263091035499720.7%
26Vincent JacksonTAM0931931453720.5%
27Alfred MorrisWAS9481361084539220.1%
28Rob GronkowskiNWE010931093546520%
29Randall CobbGNB3110761107554120%
30Odell BeckhamNYG359721007504919.9%
31Anquan BoldinSFO4920924470419.6%
32Julian EdelmanNWE949721066546519.5%
33Frank GoreSFO804106910470419.3%
34A.J. GreenCIN2959961498519.3%
35Calvin JohnsonDET0935935499718.7%
36Greg OlsenCAR0960960514318.7%
37Kelvin BenjaminCAR0952952514318.5%
38Chris IvoryNYJ739115854466018.3%
39Fred JacksonBUF457404861471618.3%
40Sammy WatkinsBUF3850853471618.1%

DeMarco Murray is having a monster year, and he’s responsible for just over 3 out of every 8 yards gained by the Cowboys. The only surprise might be seeing Le’Veon Bell all the way down at … #3; that’s the result of the Steelers leading the league in offensive yards. On a percentage basis, the always versatile (if slightly less-hyped) Matt Forte cuts just in front of Bell.

  • Richie

    I have my fantasy Super Bowl this week. I can’t decide if I should stick with DeAndre Hopkins in my flex spot or go with Roddy White or Giovanni Bernard. If Fitzpatrick were healthy, Hopkins would be the pick.

  • Richie

    What’s Houston going to do at QB next year? Did they see enough of Mallett to determine he’s not the guy? They won’t get a crack at the top QBs in the draft. Do they draft one of the second-tier guys? Go after Bradford? The Texans seem to be a pretty decent team at every other spot but QB.

  • Joel W

    Shouldn’t Hopkins be on the second list?

    • Chase Stuart

      Good catch — I was missing Demaryius Thomas, Nelson, Hopkins, and other receivers who had 0 rushing yards this year on the second list. That’s now fixed.

  • Chase Stuart

    Julio Jones missed the Steelers game in week 15, where the Falcons gained 407 total yards (with no sacks). As a result, Julio Jones had been responsible for 27.9% of Atlanta’s total yards from scrimmage through 14 weeks, which is insane for a wide receiver.

  • Will

    it looks like WRs who have no rushing yards didn’t make the second list