After three seasons in Houston, Brandin Cooks was traded to the Dallas Cowboys, his fifth team in 10 years. While he is no longer the number one wide receiver on his own team, Cooks’s move to the Cowboys will be a positive move for his fantasy production.
Brandin Cooks’s Previous Fantasy Production
In the past, Cooks has been the poster child for flying below the radar. In six of his previous nine seasons, the new Cowboys pass catcher has finished as a top-25 wide receiver or better.
Included in those numbers are six seasons with more than 1,000 yards receiving and 49 receiving touchdowns for his career.
In two of those three seasons in which Cooks failed to surpass that Top 25 mark, he played in 13 games or fewer.
The conclusion in all of that is when Cooks is on the field for a majority of the season, which is more often than not, production follows.
PPR Finishes at the WR Position
Average Draft Position
What stands out from these numbers is where he has been selected in fantasy drafts. In those six seasons where Cooks finished the season inside the top 24 at his position, as per fantasy football calculator, his average draft price leading into that season was the 22nd wide receiver off of the board.
That average is inflated as in 2015 and 2017, Cooks’s average draft position was as a Top-10 wide receiver.
Perhaps this has more to do with him playing for the Texans but in 2020 and 2021, Cooks’s draft position was outside of the top 30 at his position.
While his draft cost among wide receivers could change with his move to the Cowboys, my expectation is that between competition at the position and entering his tenth season, Cooks will likely be drafted outside the top 24 at his position.
For some more perspective, wide receivers drafted outside the top 24 tend to fall in the sixth round.
Before moving on, it is important to remember that often a player’s value is dictated by their average draft position. With that in mind, keep this article as a barometer on how to properly evaluate Cooks this summer.
What To Expect in 2023
As previously mentioned, Cooks is now a part of a team in which he will be the second wide receiver, behind CeeDee Lamb.
Now that he is second in command to Lamb, Cooks is likely to see an opposing team’s second-best coverage defender. Needless to say, this could allow the former Texan to take advantage of bad matchups.
While it should be noted that former offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has moved on to the Chargers, the Cowboys offense has shown a propensity to deliver triple-digit targets to multiple wide receivers.
In three out of the last four seasons, multiple Cowboys wide receivers have been targeted over a hundred times.
With Moore out in Los Angeles, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy is expected to have more control of the offense. Looking at McCarthy’s past, despite Moore’s exit, No. 2 wide receivers in Dallas could continue seeing a large number of targets.
In the last three seasons in which McCarthy was the head coach of the Packers, No. 2 wide receivers had an average of 99.6 targets.
As of this writing, even more targets could be had as tight end Dalton Schultz, is expected to leave in free agency. Schultz was targeted 193 times over the last two seasons.
Along with the targets comes a responsibility to secure a catch. That should not be an issue for Cooks, who has dropped no more than five passes in each of his last three seasons.Securing the catch will be a welcomed sight for a Cowboys receiving game that has seen wide receivers drop more than five passes four times in the last three seasons.
Cooks has also been known to make big plays. Over the course of his career, the newly minted Cowboys pass catcher has averaged more than 12 yards per reception in seven of his nine seasons. This matches Cooks up with the Cowboys even more as their passing offense finished last year tenth in yards per completion.
Lastly, if you are into this sort of thing, Cooks has done well against his new division rivals. In seven career games against the other teams in the NFC East, Cooks has hauled in 36 receptions for 527 yards and five touchdowns.
Between potential draft cost and fit within the offense, the stars are aligning for Cooks and the Cowboys to produce some undervalued fantasy football magic.