2021 Fantasy Outlook: Amari Cooper

Amari Cooper Dallas Cowboys
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2020 Season 

Amari Cooper had an up and down 2020 season. Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending injury in Week 5’s matchup against the New York Giants, which threw Amari Cooper’s upside in fantasy football. The Dallas Cowboys were rolling fantasy-wise and it was an unfortunate end to “what could have been” had Prescott been able to stay healthy. While it is a small sample size, during the first 4 full weeks of the season with their Pro Bowl QB, the main receiving core of Amari Cooper (3rd), CeeDee Lamb (14th), and Michael Gallup (30th) all were in the top-30 at WR in half-PPR leagues.

Dallas’ top receiver, Amari Cooper, had the following fantasy scores during that stretch: 13.1, 13, 13.1, 27.4. That’s a great and consistent start for a WR that you would have likely depended on all season. With Andy Dalton under center for most of the remaining games, Cooper was still able to produce - he led the team in targets (130), receptions (92), yards (1,114), and tied with Lamb and Gallup with 5 touchdown receptions. I think how Cooper was able to produce is a testament to not only how decent Andy Dalton is, but also just the type of elite talent Amari Cooper is. The only thing missing last year was touchdowns, and he finished the 2020 year in half-PPR leagues as the WR16. 

Off-season Hype

The Cowboys addressed its awful defense in the draft this year and they selected defensive players with its first 5 picks. The only pick worth mentioning from the draft was Simi Fehoko, WR, Stanford, who was selected in Round 5. He’s a speedy, big-bodied receiver but he is already 24 and is unlikely to crack the top-4 wide receivers on this squad. No other big-name acquisitions were made on offense as it should be set with what it has, it’s just a matter of if they can remain healthy all season.

As stated above, when it comes to Amari Cooper we’re not worried about any acquisitions this year, but it’s more about the CeeDee Lamb hype and how he will progress even more this year as he had an immediate rapport with Dak Prescott last season. Lamb finished as the WR20 and it’s expected he will finish much higher than that this season. There are also reports that Michael Gallup will be getting reps out of the slot this year which tends to excite people due to the PPR-friendliness of the position. Dallas arguably has the best 3-WR core in the NFL and it feels like Amari Cooper is that veteran guy on a team that people forget about on draft day and will skip over to wait to draft the newer, shinier piece. 

2021 Outlook

The Cowboys’ win total over/under sits at 9.5 and it’s expected the team will make a competitive playoff push this year. Amari Coopers’ ADP is sitting around 4.04 and is the 15th wide receiver off the board. Meanwhile, teammate CeeDee Lamb is being drafted very closely as the WR 17 at 4.07. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Lamb hype brings at an even ADP or is drafted higher come August, which might make Cooper a value of sorts if he slides to the bottom of the round.

There is a ton of optimism surrounding Dallas’ key players in fantasy football this season, which could be a concern. Dak is the QB5, Zeke is the RB6. The two main WRs are being drafted as top-17 receivers. For every player to get their own production and “hit,” this Cowboys’ offense is going to need to explode every week. Is there room for all of these players to exceed their ADP? Potentially. We might be talking up Michael Gallup to a point where it will be hard for him to sustain every-week fantasy relevance, but his ADP is still low at this point and will be a flex-play given the matchup.

Cooper is in a good position because of the type of player he is and he’s shown what he can do with an average QB throwing him the ball (Dalton last season, Carr in Oakland) and he has Lamb to take away some double-coverage he would have faced otherwise without a legitimate WR2 threat. He has a decent chance to finish as a top-10 WR if the touchdowns can get into the double-digits. If Cooper is your WR2 and you’ve already drafted 2 RBs and a stud as your WR1, I think you would be over the moon to land Cooper this season.

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