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Can Amari Cooper Succeed in Murky Cleveland Amidst the Chaos?

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 10: Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Amari Cooper (19) makes a catch for a first down during the game between the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys on November 10, 2019 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire)

The long-time star wide receiver Amari Cooper has a new home for this upcoming NFL season after he was traded from the Dallas Cowboys to the Cleveland Browns in what was a salary dump. The Cowboys wanted to re-sign Michael Gallup. This meant they needed to find a way to clear Cooper’s $20+ million salary. The Browns took on the four-time Pro Bowler in exchange for a fifth-round pick and a swap of sixths. Cleveland needed a new leading wide receiver with Jarvis Landry departing in free agency. It turns out they needed one for their new quarterback, who will eventually start for them. Cooper’s season outlook is tough to tell, but his dynasty value is raised with this move as the only prominent wide receiver on the team.

2021 Season Recap

Cooper had another strong season in 2021 with the Dallas Cowboys. Across 15 games, Cooper had 104 targets, 68 receptions, 865 yards, and eight touchdowns. He averaged a healthy 12.7 yards per catch. He was slowed by injuries that affected his targets. Cooper became a bit of a high/low player. That means he would have many boom weeks followed by a massive bust week. Cooper earned that big contract from Dallas but failed to prove to them that he still deserved it. This allowed them to trade him to Cleveland so they could give a cheaper contract to Gallup.

2022 Season Projections

Cooper is entering his age-28 season in the third different offensive system of his career. He’s moving from a pass-happy offense like Dallas to a more conservative offense in Cleveland. Coach Stefanski loves to run the ball. Hence why they don’t have a great wide receiver room beyond Cooper. The team has four reliable running backs in Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, D’Ernest Johnson, and Jerome Ford, that will get their touches. This means that there’s a decreased target share for the wide receivers. Cooper will dominate the wide receiver targets. With their new quarterback in tow, expect more passing but not nearly as much as the Cowboys.

My projections for Amari Cooper

The team isn’t going to stop doing what they’re successful at all. Jacoby Brissett starting 11 games will mean Cooper gets an even larger number of targets. Brissett loves to target his top weapons, Cooper and David Njoku. That’s why my projections have Cooper leading the team by a large amount in targets. The only worry is his touchdowns. I don’t believe he reaches double digits due to the limited passing work. In PPR, he will average 14.2 ppg over 16 games. It’s not likely he plays all 17 games. However, he will be an excellent WR3 or boom/bust WR2 for your dynasty team.

Buy/Sell Amari Cooper?

Cooper is a tough sell right now. While he is still in his prime, his price is deflated. That’s since he will be without an elite quarterback for the first eleven games of the 2022 season. He will be on a new offense that’s more friendly to running backs. People want to see what happens before they buy Cooper. It’s understandable as it’s certainly a mystery if the Browns adjust their passing. Regardless, if you can get him for a low-end first-round pick or multiple seconds, he’s a buy right now. Buy on the negativity. He’s a strong WR3 that can win you weeks. If you have Cooper in your flex as a contender, that showcases how good your team is. In that case, buy him. Rebuilders do not need a piece like Cooper.

He’s a wide receiver that’s become a bit of a boom/bust player. He can win you weeks. He’ll lose you weeks if you don’t have a strong enough team around him. Be wise and buy Cooper now if you need a reliable WR3/4 since he will exceed those projections. However, don’t expect a consistent WR2 output from him. His price is at the lowest it will be for a while. Nows the chance to buy him. It’s a changing season for Cooper, but that doesn’t mean he won’t still put up a strong year.

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As always, May the Force be with You…

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