DeAndre Hopkins out on Sunday, leaving his fantasy owners out in the cold

Fantasy Football, Houston Texans

In another mark for the argument fantasy football leagues should not be decided in Week 17, Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins will miss the first game of his career on Sunday.

Even with continuing quarterback issues, due to injury, Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has had an excellent 2017 season. He’s fifth in the league in receptions (96) and second in receiving yards (1,378), along with a league-high 13 touchdowns through 15 games.

Hopkins has also been a fantasy stud this year, obviously, as the second-highest scoring wide receiver in ESPN leagues (PPR scoring; 309.8 points) entering Week 17. With wide receiver scoring leader Antonio Brown out, and less than a one-point lead, Hopkins simply had to show up against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday to move into the top spot.

News of a calf injury led to a suggestion from Texans’ head coach Bill O’Brien that Hopkins would be a game-time decision. But an extra couple days was not needed, as Hopkins has been declared out on Friday’s injury report.

Hopkins has been productive (three 1,200-plus yard seasons) and durable in his career. His streak of 79 straight regular season games played will come to an end.

Without Hopkins, Houston’s chances of losing to the Colts on Sunday are obviously far better and the Cleveland Browns are certainly happy with that development. They have the Houston’s first-round pick in April, via a trade last April which allowed Houston to move up and take Deshaun Watson. A loss by the Texans on Sunday would secure two of the first three picks in the 2018 draft for Cleveland.

But Hopkins’ absence is another mark to bolster the case for fantasy football leagues not to be decided in Week 17. The possible use of a two-week final is a different conversation, but ending the fantasy playoffs in Week 16 avoids all the resting of top players (fully healthy or not) by playoff teams and any injuries that come up.

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