T.Y. Hilton and Amari Cooper have been two of the more high profiled “Boom or Bust” receivers in the league. While this isn’t the most desirable trait to have in a receiver it isn’t necessarily a bad attribute. But when drafting within the first 4-5 rounds it definitely is a trait I am not actively searching for. In those first 4-5 rounds I look for a couple of traits in players, the first of which is safety. I need my first couple of picks to produce week in and week out for me and let my risky later round picks make up the difference. That means looking at how many weeks they busted (less than 11 PPR points), their QB, injury concerns, offense as a whole, off the field issues, and predicting game script. Once I’ve shortened my list of players I look to see who has the most upside and then decide who to take. Now that we have discussed what we are looking for in each of these players, let’s dive into it!
T.Y. Hilton and Amari Cooper currently sit at 28th overall and 34th overall respectively but on most sites are back to back at the receiver position (11 and 12). Since these two are so close together you will most likely have your pick of the two in the mid to late third round. So, let’s start with Amari Cooper.
Cooper was the model of a boom or bust play in his first five games last season, scoring 2.8, 21.6, 3.7, 26.8, and 2 points in that order. That stat line is so inconsistent it makes me want to puke. Then something happened, the biggest headline of the week, Amari Cooper was traded to the Dallas Cowboys. Then all the sudden he becomes a bit more consistent. In Cooper’s first six weeks in Dallas he busted just once and boomed twice in that span. Cooper received a decent target share, having 8+ targets in six of his nine games played.
Overall Cooper became a solid WR2 option in any team’s lineup. Then, he didn’t just crap the bed in his last three weeks, he destroyed peoples championship hopes. From weeks 15-17 he had a combined 20.4 points. This wasn’t a snap % issue. Within that three week time frame he had two of his highest snap % games since coming to Dallas.
Now let’s take a peek at T.Y. Hilton. Hilton played 14 games last season, busting in just two of them and booming in three games. He finished under 10 PPR points in a game just twice and received 8+ targets in nine of his 14 games, dropping below five targets just once. Hilton will be receiving a nice target share each game this season. Hilton plays on one of the best offenses in football with a top tier QB (when healthy). He has not had any off the field issues. and his game script might not be perfect for him in an efficient and powerful offense, but it isn’t too much of a concern for me. He does not present too much of an injury concern, only missing three games in the span of his seven year career.
Amari Cooper is playing an above average offense with a good QB and… wait… Elliot is holding out and might not play? Alright scratch that. Cooper is playing in an average offense with an average QB. He has no off the field issues and game script should be in his favor if Elliot sits, but here is the problem – if Elliot sits the whole offense will suffer. In 2017 Ezekiel Elliott missed six regular season games and Prescott’s stats were not impressive. From weeks 10-15, Dak averaged 191.8 YPG, .8 TDs, 1.5 Int, 63.2 Comp%. I don’t think I have to say just how bad that is – but just in case, it’s very bad. He ranked as the QB22, behind Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton, and (of all people) DeShone Kizer. That is not the QB I want throwing to my receiver. That being said, Prescott has been a solid QB option when Zeke is on the field, ranking in as the QB10. Cooper is a decent fantasy option when Zeke is on the field, but with that situation still up in the air I am hesitant about him.
The battle of the boom or bust receivers has to come to an end and you need to know which player to draft, Cooper played well in his first (half) season with Dallas and should still produce, but without Zeke I am just too concerned with that offense to take him over Hilton. I am, and will be, confident on draft day taking Hilton over Cooper with or without Zeke.