Brandin Cooks has been one of the most consistent Fantasy wide receivers the last few seasons. Cooks will play on his third team in three seasons after being traded from the Patriots to the Rams.
The Rams signed Cooks to a five-year contract extension for $80 million, including $50.4 million guaranteed. This should illustrate the Rams have supreme confidence in Cooks, but will it translate to Fantasy stats?
In his three full seasons, Cooks has had at least 1,082 yards in each and scored at least seven touchdowns in each. The targets over the last three seasons were 129, 117 and 114. He was catching passes from Drew Brees and Tom Brady in two offense that were pass-heavy. The Patriots led the NFL with 38.3 pass attempts per game last season. Goff ranked 24th in pass attempts with 31.8 per game.
Cooks is one of the best deep threats in the game. The Rams offense made a huge jump under first-year coach Sean McVay, but the ball was spread around. While it’s easy to say the Rams paid Cooks to be the top target, it doesn’t seem like there’s enough targets to go around to support Cooks as a WR1 in fantasy.
Cooks has averaged 120 targets over the last three seasons, which is 7.5 per game. Cooper Kupp had 94 targets, Todd Gurley 87, Robert Woods 85 and Sammy Watkins had 70. Jared Goff completed 297 passes last season and the Rams were more run-focused. While the schedule will be more difficult, the Rams upgraded the defense with defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib.
It’s unlikely the Rams see an increase in pass attempts and if they do, it won’t be substantial. Cooks should also draw the top cover cornerbacks. Opportunity is one of the driving pieces of success in Fantasy and Cooks is likely to see less targets compared to recent seasons. Cooks has fared better on turf in his career and will play 12 games on natural grass.
While Cooks can still produce, there are going to be some bad weeks and he will be inconsistent. He is being drafted earlier than Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, who already have a good rapport with Goff. I would rather take the cheaper options of the receivers and pass on Cooks.
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