From weeks 9-17, Amari Cooper appeared to be one of the best receivers in fantasy football, racking up the seventh most points in half-ppr formats from a wide receiver in that span. Since his first game with the Dallas Cowboys in week 9, Cooper had quite the turnaround, going from getting fewer fantasy points per game than Paul Richardson to being a top-tier option.
But can he replicate that success over a full season? Well, it’s far from a guarantee.
For one, Cooper was wildly inconsistent. He may have had some monster games, most notably in Week 14 vs. the Eagles when he had 10 receptions for 217 yards and three touchdowns, but more often than not he was extremely disappointing from a fantasy perspective.
In his nine games with the Dallas Cowboys, Cooper finished under his weekly projection six times, or approximately 66 percent of the time. With the Raiders in his first six games of the season, Cooper did so four times, which works out to the same percentage. The only major difference is that in two of his games with Dallas when he did meet his projection, he did it three times over.
Why does this matter? Well, Cooper’s two monster games do inflate his numbers, causing his weekly average to look better than what he usually put forth. If you remove those two outliers and replace them with what his average would have been had they not occurred, he drops all the way to WR35 during his time with the Cowboys, right below Josh Gordon. Now, this is not to say those two games mean nothing.
Cooper obviously has the talent to put up huge numbers, but I’m worried about his ability to do so on a consistent basis. What is perhaps the most concerning is his final two games of the regular season, when the Cowboys put up a combined 63 points. Cooper? Well, he had just nine receptions 51 yards and no touchdowns. In those two games, Blake Jarwin, Michael Gallup and Cole Beasley all had more yards, and each of them had at least one touchdown. There is the benefit of Beasley now being in Buffalo, but I expect second-year receiver Michael Gallup to play an increased role in the offense. Throw Hall-of-Fame tight end Jason Witten and veteran receiver Randall Cobb into the mix and it becomes one surprisingly crowded receiving corps.
However, he is still the No.1 receiving option, so as a result he is probably a lock for a couple of 100+ yard and/or multi-touchdown games. He will also have a full offseason to learn the Cowboys offense and grow more comfortable with Prescott, so there is definitely some upside there.
Despite this, he’s still in a run-first offense with a no more than average quarterback throwing him the ball. The fact of the matter is last year with Dallas he was basically a boom or bust player, and frankly it was mostly bust. I would be hesitant to draft him too early, and he will most likely max out at a mid to high-end WR2 for the season.