Texans Trade Hopkins to Cardinals, Impacting NFL Futures and DFS

While many were busy trying to find out what team will sign Tom Brady, the Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans were busy negotiating the first blockbuster trade of the NFL free agency period.

Read More

In a trade that has the Arizona Cardinals sending running back David Johnson and a second-round pick to the Houston Texans for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and a late-round pick, the Texans will take on Johnson’s entire 2020 salary, which comes out to $10.2 million.

The exchange leaves Deshaun Watson and the Texans with Kenny Stills and injury-riddled Will Fuller outside.

If you’re in the “running backs don’t matter” camp, then you’re probably questioning what the Texans are thinking.

Aside from the argument that running backs don’t matter (at least as much as people think they do), there are more specific concerns regarding Johnson, who, despite previously excelling as a pass-catcher, struggled under first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s spread, college-style offense that he brought in from Texas Tech.

The 28-year-old running back battled multiple injuries before the Cardinals gave Kenyan Drake the reigns in the backfield to close the season. It was a wise decision by Kingsbury, as Drake proved to be much more efficient than the veteran running back. The shelf life of an NFL running back isn’t very long, and unfortunately for Texans fans, Johnson might be expired.

Texans-Cardinals Trade impact on NFL futures

Texans head coach/GM Bill O’Brien already had a long history of questionable personnel decisions. This trade adds another reason for sports bettors to be hesitant when it comes to the Houston Texans heading into the 2020-2021 NFL season.

Currently, the Houston Texans are +4000 to win Super Bowl LV, +2000 to win the AFC and +220 to win the AFC South at PointsBet. Deshaun Watson is +1200 to win the MVP, another bet I want no part of.

At FanDuel Sportsbook, the Cardinals are +5000 to win the Super Bowl and +3700 to win the NFC Championship. I prefer the latter over the Super Bowl, but I’m not buying the Cardinals to make that kind of leap quite yet.

However, Kyler Murray’s MVP odds are a bit more enticing knowing Hopkins will be a deep threat for the former Heisman Trophy winner going forward.

We already know the Cardinals will be throwing it a lot and will play fast-paced. Murray’s ceiling might be as high as any quarterback not named Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson.

Read More

DFS Impact

Although Cardinals DFS stacks didn’t light up many scoreboards in 2019, that could change as Kingsbury adds more pieces around Murray, who finished eighth in DraftKings fantasy scoring, averaging 19.65 fantasy points per game.

Murray’s Week 17 price tag was only $5,500, leaving 23 quarterbacks, including Eli Manning and Andy Dalton more expensive than the rookie.

The main problem for the 2019-20 Cardinals was their inability to find the end zone, ranking 20th in touchdowns scored. Hopkins will certainly help their cause, but Kingsbury also needs to be more aggressive and settle for fewer field goals.

We don’t know who the Cardinals will play in Week 1, but expect a bump in his price and ownership regardless. Even so, it is still probably best to target the duo earlier than later in the season when it comes to NFL DFS slates.

As for Watson and the Texans, Fuller’s role will expand as long he can stay healthy. Fuller’s speed already gave him a high ceiling as a low-volume catcher. It will be interesting to see if he can still beat defenses over the top without Hopkins demanding attention on the other side.

It is Fuller, Stills and Keke Coutee for now, however, don’t be surprised if the Texans use the second-round pick acquired from the Cardinals to add another target for Watson from this year’s deep receiving class.

We might not have March Madness, but let’s hope NFL free agency continues to provide excitement for sports bettors and DFSers alike.

Update: Texans have signed wide receiver Randall Cobb to a three-year $27 million deal.

Image Credit: USA Today Sports Images

About the Author

  • Matt Schmitto (schmitto)

  • Matt Schmitto is the sports betting editor for RotoGrinders. He grew up in Texas, graduating from Texas Tech University. He has played high stakes DFS since 2013, and enjoys betting on golf, basketball, football and whatever else is put in front of him. Schmitto is an advocate of The Bettor’s Oath.

New to DFS?

Be sure to click through our links and use our exclusive promo codes to receive the industry's best sign-up bonuses, including free access to our premium content.