From a glance at Sunday’s box score, one would conclude that Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins had a quiet game against the Miami Dolphins.
Primarily covered by star Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard, the All-Pro receiver officially hauled in only three receptions on three targets for 30 yards, his lowest total all season, and no touchdowns in a 34-31 Cardinals loss. Most would chalk that up to a win for Howard, though another section of the box score points to a different story.
While Hopkins posted only three catches, he also drew four pass interference penalties, all on Howard. Receivers don’t get personal credit for yardage gained from the spot foul, but the offense moved nonetheless by virtue of Hopkins’ talents.
Now, Hopkins wants credit for those penalties.
From the Cardinals’ website:
“As long as the ball moves, that’s all I care about,” Hopkins said.
“But,” he emphasized, “I do think the rules should change and receivers should get counted those yards.”
By the Cardinals’ accounting, Hopkins’ penalties drawn generated 42 yards, and he would have had another 20 yards had an offsetting penalty not negated one flag. So while the box score only has Hopkins gaining 30 yards, he may have actually contributed as much as 92 yards for the game.
Giving receivers credit for pass interference yardage might help reflect their value more accurately, though the idea does generate some questions.
Would quarterbacks also get credit, given that they were responsible for the ball that officially turns holding into PI? Are there any other penalties that should get players personal credit (i.e. pass rushers getting sacks if held in the pocket)? Should offensive pass interference penalties conversely hurt receivers’ yardage total?
It’s not the easiest system to figure out, but that won’t stop fantasy football players from lamenting the empty yards for now.
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