Amari Cooper went from potential third-year breakout in 2017 to a third-year disaster, and he's looking to rebuild his Fantasy value this season. His new coach, Jon Gruden, plans to build the passing game around Cooper and has compared him to Hall of Famer (and former Raider) Tim Brown. Gruden said Cooper will be "the main vein of our passing offense," and you should expect Cooper to see plenty of targets. Cooper had eight games last season with at least six targets, and he scored at least eight Fantasy points in a standard league in four of those outings. Cooper should at least get back to his production from his first two seasons when he had at least 72 catches, 1,070 yards and five touchdowns each year, and he's worth drafting no later than Round 5 in the majority of leagues. Cooper still has top-10 upside entering the 2018 season despite his struggles last year.
Cooper will not play in Saturday's exhibition game versus the Rams for rest purposes, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. Cooper will get the day off along with several other starters. Head coach Jon Gruden does not want to give too much of their game plan away, as the Raiders will face the Rams once again in Week 1 of the regular season. Look for the Alabama product to see some snaps in next week's preseason game against the Packers.
Cooper reported to training camp at 225 pounds, NFL Network reports. Cooper checked in at 211 pounds at the 2015 combine and has been listed around that same weight throughout his pro career. The implication is that he packed on muscle during the offseason, but it won't come as any surprise if he's back down to the 215-220 range by Week 1. The 6-foot-1 wideout is well positioned for a bounce-back season under new head coach Jon Gruden, who has a lengthy history of coaxing production out of his No. 1 receivers. Of course, Gruden has shown a strong preference for veteran wide receivers, so it's fair to wonder if Jordy Nelson might be a real threat to Cooper's target volume. The Raiders also want to feed wideout Martavis Bryant and tight end Jared Cook, not to mention a rushing attack that got an offseason boost from the additions of RB Doug Martin, FB Keith Smith and TE Derek Carrier. That being said, Gruden has made it clear he views Cooper as the focal point of the passing game.
Cooper (hamstring) retook the field during Tuesday's OTA session, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. Cooper had been sidelined since the first day of OTAs on May 22 because of the hamstring issue, but it appears he has cleared enough hurdles that the team will allow the fourth-year wideout to retake the field. Coming off a career-worst output (48 receptions, 680 receiving yards) during 2017, Cooper hopes to return to the forefront in 2018. If he can stay healthy, there's no reason the wideout -- entering his age-24 season -- shouldn't challenge the 1,000-yard mark in receiving yards for the third time.
Cooper will face added competition for Derek Carr's attention after the Raiders traded for Martavis Bryant, Doug Williams of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. New head coach Jay Gruden has been adamant that Cooper will be the focal point of the passing attack, but while the addition of Bryant shouldn't alter that plan, it does mean there's a bit more competition for targets than previously expected. Bryant and Jordy Nelson both have impressive track records in the red zone, an area where Cooper struggled to make an impact prior to last season. Of course, his career-high touchdown total (seven in 14 games) was negated by massive dropoffs in receptions (48), targets (96) and receiving yards (680), with the 2015 first-round pick failing to reach 1,000 yards for the first time in his three pro seasons. The Raiders nonetheless made the fairly obvious decision to pick up Cooper's fifth-year option, ensuring that he'll be under team control through 2019 even if he doesn't sign an extension before next offseason. Cooper will turn 24 in June, and the fifth-year option is guaranteed for injury only.
The Raiders picked up Cooper's fifth-year option Sunday, Josina Anderson of ESPN reports. It's no surprise that the Raiders will bring back their top receiver for another season, even if he struggled in 2017. Cooper posted back-to-back, 1,000-yard seasons to begin his NFL career, but he only accrued 48 catches for 680 yards in 14 games in 2017. The arrival of Jordy Nelson could help keep some focus off Cooper and hopefully allow him to reach the 1,000-yard mark again.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/11||Los Angeles Rams||11||18.47|
|5||10/07||@Los Angeles Chargers||7||17.00|
|9||11/02||@San Francisco 49ers||23||20.38|
|10||11/11||Los Angeles Chargers||7||17.00|
|13||12/02||Kansas City Chiefs||30||23.35|
|17||12/30||@Kansas City Chiefs||30||23.35|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||119||68||968||6||40||14.24||134|