Fantasy Football Instant Reaction: Amari Cooper's value unchanged despite deal to Dallas
Amari Cooper might have been acquired to replace Dez Bryant in the Cowboys offense, but Fantasy owners shouldn't expect Dez-like numbers anytime soon.
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The Cowboys didn't want Dez Bryant to be their No. 1 receiver, so they let him go. The best they could do to replace him in free agency was add Allen Hurns. And while rookie Michael Gallup showed signs of life Sunday, he didn't improve enough to be a consistent top target for Dak Prescott.
It's a big pricetag for a guy who began his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons but has fallen off since 2017. In his last 20 games -- six this season -- Cooper has amassed 70 receptions on 128 targets for 960 yards and eight touchdowns. Four of those 20 games saw him go for over 100 yards, and 13 of them for 50 yards or fewer. Of the 70 catches, 13 went for 20 or more yards. He racked up 10-plus Fantasy points (non-PPR) in just six of those 20 outings.
Suffice to say, Fantasy owners are all-too-familiar with his inconsistent ways. Could a move to Dallas change that?
The prevailing thought is that Cooper is coming to Big D to replace Big Dez as the Cowboys big-ticket outside receiver. In two years with Prescott, Bryant averaged 7.9 targets per game and connected for 14 touchdowns and over 1,600 yards. That's not bad.
But a deep dig into those years suggest there was a lot left to be desired, and it might not all be Dez's fault. Of the 228 passes thrown his way from Prescott, only 159 (69.7 percent) were catchable, according to Sports Info Solutions. The same source tells us that 71 percent of Prescott's 2018 passes to the far left and far right -- essentially where Cooper will line up -- have been catchable.
So right off the bat, recognize that Prescott won't be on-point with every throw to Cooper, not that it's a large dropoff from the 75 percent catchable rate he had in Oakland the ast three seasons.
Cooper has been known for being a volume receiver, meaning his numbers are better when he gets more targets. He has amassed 10-plus Fantasy points in each of the 11 games he's had 11 or more targets in his career. That shouldn't surprise you.
Unfortunately, in 17 games with 8-10 targets, Cooper has hit 10-plus Fantasy points just three times. And in 25 games with seven or fewer targets, Cooper's hit the 10-point mark five times.
How often has any receiver, Bryant or otherwise, had 11 targets from Prescott? Dez had them six times in two seasons, Cole Beasley's had them twice in three years and everyone else on the Cowboys totaled two games with that many.
Dallas is the place for volume rushers, not volume receivers. Additionally, per NFL reporter Ed Werder, this is the third time in Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' history that he's traded at least a first-round pick for a receiver. In the previous two instances, the Cowboys failed miserably. History could repeat itself here.
Cooper figures to be just as uneven with the Cowboys as he was with the Raiders. Assume he'll have some exceptional weeks mixed in with some unspectacular ones. Knowing when he'll be good will be very tough to figure out. It sure doesn't help Fantasy owners that he'll be on a bye for the second week in a row. He's a No. 3 Fantasy receiver moving forward. The trade should help Dak put up more passing yards, but no one should be in a rush to pick him up during his bye week. Besides, Prescott's best game this season came when he ran the ball for 81 yards and a touchdown.
Moving forward in Oakland
Cooper's departure shouldn't change a whole lot in Oakland. The Raiders have done a decent job lining up their pass catchers all over the field, so it's more a matter of Martavis Bryant and Seth Roberts picking up more playing time.
Carr has mastered the quick-hitting, completion-heavy offense designed by Jon Gruden. Touchdowns? That's a whole other story. Without Cooper around, Jordy Nelson and Jared Cook will see a few more targets and potentially have a shot at one or two more touchdowns. The biggest winner could potentially be Jalen Richard, who not only saw Marshawn Lynch hit the injury list this week but also could see more check-down passes without Cooper daring defensive backs.
Like Cooper, Nelson is at best a No. 3 receiver. Cook remains a top-12 tight end and Richard absolutely should be owned in every PPR league and most non-PPR leagues. The rest of the Raiders are stuck in a Fantasy black hole.
So who should you sit and start? And what shocking QB could win you Week 8? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy football rankings for every single position, and see which shocking QB finishes in the top 5 this week, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.
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