Fantasy

Nothing Can Stop Nuk

NFL

DeAndre Hopkins is a bad dude, plain and simple. Just when you thought he was going to sink your squad’s title hopes, Nuk delivered a play of the year nominee: an amazing you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it, one-handed touchdown catch in the fourth quarter Sunday. For many fantasy owners, myself included, that play sealed the deal on a fantasy championship.

Working against the Steelers’ Joe Haden, Nuk ran a corner route into the end zone as Texans quarterback T.J. Yates threw a jump ball. Hopkins, with his impeccable timing and uncanny body control, went up to get it in style. First, he attempted to catch the ball in mid-air with his right hand while looking back over his right shoulder, but he ended up tipping it instead. Then Nuk somehow separated from Hayden, regained his composure and turned to make the catch with his left hand while falling down.

Unbelievable. But Hopkins didn’t even consider it his best work, saying after the game he was mad he didn’t catch it in the first place with his right hand. Go figure.

Hopkins was certainly one of the most reliable fantasy players in a season that saw so many stars go down, a true set-it-and-forget-it guy who never left lineups even in the face of the most imposing defensive matchup. Here’s to you, Nuk: Dilly, Dilly!

Nuk, currently second in wide receiver PPR scoring behind Antonio Brown, hasn’t let anything stand in his way this season. He’s been steady as an old oak tree as his team crumbled around him. Hopkins has caught passes from Deshaun Watson, Tom Savage and T.J. Yates, while also seeing a few snaps with Taylor Heinicke (who?) under center. That had to affect Hopkins no matter how good he is, right?

It never seemed to matter. Hopkins found a way to find a way and bounced back from a disappointing 2016 in prime fashion. After Watson went down with a torn ACL, many were quick to dismiss Hopkins. In the six full games Watson started under center, Nuk scored 136.1 PPR points. In his next six games without Watson, Hopkins scored 126.7 PPR points. That’s hardly a drop in production.

Nuk posted only one game where he scored under 10 PPR points, Week 12 against Cleveland. He notched an incredible 224 receiving yards and a TD on eight catches against Seattle to post his highest score of the season, 41.4 PPR points. His 224 yards ranks second for highest single-game total of the season and was one of only four 200-yard receiving performances. Julio Jones’ 253 yards against Tampa Bay is tops, while Antonio Brown (213) and Amari Cooper (210) also posted 200-yard games.

That Nuk’s 224-yard game came against Seattle with the Legion of Boom still intact shouldn’t surprise anyone. Hopkins also scored 18 PPR points twice against Jacksonville, adding a TD in each game. He is the ultimate matchup-proof, quarterback-proof receiver. Nuk’s eclipsed 20 PPR points in five games and has five games with at least 100 yards receiving. He also leads the NFL in targets (174) and receiving TDs with 13, three ahead of Green Bay’s Davante Adams, and is behind only Antonio Brown (1,533) with 1,378 receiving yards.

And while Nuk won’t win this season’s Fantasy MVP award ­– that clearly must go to Todd Gurley and his record-breaking fantasy playoff run ­– he deserves an award just for being a bad dude.

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