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What To Do With Amari Cooper In Fantasy Rest Of Season After Trade To Cowboys

Amari Cooper

NFL.com insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday afternoon that the Oakland Raiders traded pro bowl receiver Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys for a first-round pick.

The report came a day after Rapoport initially reported that the Cowboys had discussions about Cooper.

After releasing their no. 1 receiver Dez Bryant during the offseason, the Cowboys drafted Michael Gallup in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, after signing Allen Hurns to a two-year deal before moving on from Bryant. However, Hurns and Gallup haven’t made up for Bryant’s absence from a real-life or fantasy football perspective.

It’s rare for a rookie receiver to become the no. 1 (a la Odell Beckham, Mike Evans), and Hurns had a thousand yard season with the Jaguars in 2015 but he was the no. 2 behind Allen Robinson (and not the true no. 1).

On the season, Gallup has 10 catches on 22 targets for 190 yards and a touchdown (that he scored week 7), while Hurns has 13 catches on 28 targets for 158 yards and a touchdown. Interestingly enough for fantasy purposes, before the trade, Cole Beasley paced all Dallas receivers in targets, catches, yards and touchdowns with 43, 33, 350 and two, respectively.

In addition, quarterback Dak Prescott is 22nd among signal-callers in pass attempts this season with 206. For perspective, Ezekiel Elliott is second to Todd Gurley in carries with 132.

Still, Cooper comes from the Raiders, which had Marshawn Lynch as their back and was 12th in carries with 90 before being placed on injured reserve. Quarterback Derek Carr is 14th in pass attempts with 233 (and the Raiders had a bye week 7).

Cooper started and played in five games for the Raiders, before leaving week 5’s contest early with a concussion. In addition, Cooper tied Jordy Nelson for the team-lead among receivers in targets and catches with 31 and 22, respectively, was second in receiving yards with 280 and tied with Seth Roberts for second among receivers with one touchdown.

Tight end Jared Cook leads the team with 43 targets, 32 catches and 400 yards. Cook is second, behind Nelson, in touchdowns with two.

The Impact On Amari Cooper

While Prescott has attempted 27 fewer passes than Carr in one less game, Cooper, who was tied for third in team targets on the Raiders behind Cook and running back Jalen Richard, has no direct competition for targets. Dallas doesn’t have a dominant tight end, but Zeke is second in targets, behind Cole Beasley, with 36. More on Beasley. Consider his target share to be reduced with Cooper in the fold.

Before the trade, Beasley led the team in targets with 43. The next receiver had 28 (Hurns). The data suggests the Cowboys feature one receiver that dominates targets and has the other receivers play complementary roles. In the feature role, Beasley is WR35 thru seven weeks of the season. Weeks 1-4 (Cooper left week 5 early, didn’t play week 6 and had a bye week 7), Cooper was WR34.

More importantly, Cooper was fighting with Nelson to be the clear-cut no.1 receiver, as the two alternated weeks leading the team in targets (Cooper led week 2,4; Nelson led week 1,3). In those teams in which he led receivers in targets, Cooper had 18 catches for 244 yards and a touchdown. In addition, Cooper was a top-13 fantasy receiver each week.

Screenshot this. Rest of season, with no competition for targets from a 1A receiver or tight end, Cooper is a top-24 fantasy receiver. If you already have Cooper, he’ll have a rare second bye this week, then pay dividends for you starting against the Titans week 9. If the Cooper owner in your league is panicking, see if you can pawn Cooper off, especially since he’ll be on a consecutive bye this week.

Did I mention the Cowboys traded a first-round pick for Cooper? They’ve got to use him, right?

The Impact On The Dallas Cowboys Receiving Corps

The aforementioned Beasley can be dropped, even in deep PPR formats, as 1) the Cowboys are on a bye 2) the pass volume won’t produce two CONSISTENT fantasy-relevant pass catchers. The identity of the Cowboys is to run, run and run. Unless the Cowboys deviate from their identity after their bye, no receiver, outside of Cooper, should be owned. Yes, Gallup has the upside and will benefit from Cooper in the offense, but without Cooper, (a true no.1 receiver who should dominate targets) Gallup failed to separate himself from the other upside-capped Dallas receivers.

The Impact On The Raiders’ Receiving Corps

Obviously, Nelson will assume the feature role. Martavis Bryant (14 catches on 22 targets) and Seth Roberts (15 catches on 21 targets) are worth speculative adds, but should not be started this week. Bryant has the most upside of the two, as he had 15 touchdowns in first 21 games with the Pittsburgh Steelers and was acquired by the Raiders for a third-round pick.

Joshua Kellem is a Slippery Rock University graduate with a BS in Journalism. In addition, he is the creator of fantasy football website fftalk.org

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