We had another trade happen on Saturday as the Cleveland Browns made a move to acquire wide receiver Amari Cooper from the Cowboys after Dallas was shopping him around following the whispers that they were going to release him exiting the combine…
Trade is now officially agreed to, per source: Browns get WR Amari Cooper and a 6th, Cowboys get a 5th and 6th.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2022
Amari Cooper Career Stats
Cooper heads to Cleveland still right in the prime of the apex of his career, turning 28 years old this June. He is coming off a season that saw him post his worst per-game output since joining the Cowboys, producing his lowest per-game totals with Dallas at 6.9 targets, 4.5 catches, and 57.7 yards per game. Some silver lining is that those numbers in 2021 were still much better than what we saw from Cooper exiting his tenure with the Raiders, while he matched career-high with eight touchdowns.
Cooper has missed just six career games, but 2021 was another season in which he fought through a number of nagging ailments every week to get on the field. Cooper also voiced complaints at the end of the regular season about his role in the offense coming off COVID.
We can also see how the draft selection of CeeDee Lamb impacted Cooper the past two seasons, as he was targeted at a slightly reduced rate per route since Lamb joined the team, while his yards per route run and per target each dipped the past two seasons from the year prior.
The good news on that front is that Cooper could regain a higher target share heading to Cleveland, a team currently extremely thin at the wide receiver position. After acquiring Cooper on Saturday, the team gave Jarvis Landry permission to attempt to find a trade partner. Assuming that Landry is not with the team moving forward, Cleveland will then be reduced to Donovan Peoples-Jones, Anthony Schwartz, and Ja’Marcus Bradley under contract outside of Cooper. Those three players have combined for 67 career receptions.
Cleveland is far from done adding to their wide receiver room, but the addition of Cooper does give them more flexibility in how the team approaches the position in free agency and what type of capital they use on the position during the draft in April.
The addition of Cooper does make them more pliable in taking a receiver in the draft, but the Browns also traded their first round pick, leaving Cooper a complete runway to be the featured passing asset for the Browns in 2022 with marginal target competition.
Amari Cooper Fantasy Ranks Per Season
|Year||PPR Rk||PPR/Gm||PPR PPG Rk||WR1%|
Of course, Cooper has gotten the stigma of being an uneven performer over his career, which has made him more of a WR2 than true alpha wideout. He has never finished a season as fantasy WR1 in points per game but has always found his way to a more than usable floor.
This past season, Cooper slid down to WR29 in points per game (his lowest ranking since 2017), while producing 46.1% of the WR1 overall output, the lowest rate of his career (thanks, Cooper Kupp). On a per-game basis, Cooper posted just three WR1 scoring weeks, but locked in another nine weeks as the WR17-WR27, with just five games as a WR4 or worse.
At this point, we have a really good grasp on what we are getting from Cooper as a seasonal WR2 option that operates on the weekly WR2/WR3 line. He has yet to have a season with double-digit touchdowns, but has hit 1,000 yards receiving in five of seven seasons.
Cooper can push that upwards as we should see his target share in Cleveland to rise, he also gets a bump with the Browns adding Deshaun Watson a week after Cooper joined the team. Watson’s leading wide receiver has ranked second, fourth, fourth, and eighth in points per game at the position. Three of those seasons were from an apex version of DeAndre Hopkins, but Will Fuller also averaged 17.2 points per game in 2020 after Hopkins was traded and then Brandin Cooks caught 29 passes for 431 yards and three touchdowns the final four games of 2020 after Fuller was suspended.
Amari Cooper Career Performance per Location
We also should acknowledge how volatile Cooper has been in terms of splits indoors and outdoors over the course of his career. Cooper has been a sports car, operating at peak conditions on fast tracks and taking advantage of the comfortable confines in Dallas.
Cooper has 25 career 100-yard receiving games, with just nine coming on the road. Even while playing in a warm-weather climate with the Raiders, seven of Cooper’s 13 100-yard games with the team came on the road.
When looking at his road game hits over his entire career, two of those nine 100-yard games came in a dome. Of the remaining seven, all were played at 56 degrees or warmer. Cooper has played just 12 career games below 40 degrees, averaging 9.1 fantasy points per game in those games, catching 47-of-86 targets (54.6%) for 507 yards (10.8 yards per catch) with two touchdowns. Splits like these can have more than enough noise to them, but the discrepancy in Cooper’s results are extremely one-sided.
On the Dallas side of things, Cooper exiting Dallas opens the immediate door that the team is looking to extend Michal Gallup. We have been chasing the opportunity for Gallup to develop as a 1B type of a wideout but are once again stunted in that development after he played in just nine games in 2021, while suffering a torn ACL in early January.
Gallup may start the season slowly with tempered expectations right away, but Gallup has averaged just 6.3 targets per game to open his career, something he will push to challenge when he is back to full speed.
CeeDee Lamb has caught a lot of flak this offseason in fantasy circles due to the close of his second season in which he caught 32 passes for 376 yards and zero touchdowns over the final seven games in the regular season.
Lamb went from averaging 17.6 points per game prior, down to 10.6 per game to close the season after that stretch. Lamb still managed to improve across the board in his second season on a per-game level with that factored in. Dallas has yet to really settle on a role for Lamb, but with Cooper now leaving the team and Gallup potentially being ready to hit the ground running in 2022 due to his injury, Lamb will be tasked with being the featured wideout for the first time in Dallas. Lamb has played just one half of football through two years with Cooper unavailable.
This also opens up the path for Dalton Schultz to roll over his 2021 season. Schultz was last season’s TE3 overall and TE5 in points per game, catching 78-of-104 targets for 808 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 10.4 yards per catch while ranking ninth in expected points per game (10.9).
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