Cooper was dealt in the offseason to the Browns, where he'll pair up with Jacoby Brissett through the first 11 games and then Deshaun Watson for the remaining six. The veteran wideout is coming off a down year in 2021, but Cooper has an opportunity to be the clear No. 1 receiver in Cleveland, though we're unsure how much Kevin Stefanski is prepared to open up the playbook with Brissett. The Browns have been among the most run-heavy teams in football the past two seasons. Still, Cooper should command a slew of targets and get open frequently thanks to his excellent route running. Some Fantasy managers will draft Cooper in Round 5, deal with a potential meandering regular season, then expect top-12 type production starting when Watson comes back in Week 13 -- right in time for the Fantasy playoffs. Other managers may opt to not draft Cooper at all, then try to trade for him if he gets off to a slow start. There will be opportunities to get Cooper on your roster beyond Draft Day, but if you're buying into the Browns passing offense, you should aim to not reach.
We could dig further into Cooper’s metrics, but we know pretty well what he brings as a receiver at this point. He’s efficient and productive but has never quite reached that top range of target share. Cooper went from trailing Michael Crabtree in Oakland to narrowly leading Michael Gallup and then CeeDee Lamb in Dallas. Perhaps the lesser WR competition in Cleveland gives him a nudge in that category. But we have to balance that possibility with an offense that has ranked among the most run-heavy since Kevin Stefanski arrived and – probably more importantly – a QB that looks like a good bet for suspension.
If the league finally sits Deshaun Watson down, Cooper would likely be catching passes from Jacoby Brissett. The best-case scenario there would be Cleveland convincing Baker Mayfield to reclaim his job. Either way, it would be a lackluster situation for pass-catcher ceiling.
Cooper is fine at his low-WR2 ADP, but his only path to significantly outperforming that is Watson avoiding suspension and playing like his old self.
Cooper was traded to Cleveland after spending his first seven seasons with the Raiders and Cowboys. The 2015 first-round pick has yet to live up to lofty expectations and he hit a bit of a low in 2021 with a career-low 6.9 targets per game (19% share). Cooper has generally been a solid WR2 (he's never finished worse than 29th in fantasy PPG), but he simply hasn't made the leap to WR1 territory (zero season finishes better than 10th). On the plus side, he's only 27 and has a clear path to a hefty target share as Deshaun Watson's top target in Cleveland. A slow start is likely with Watson suspended for 11 games, but Cooper can be viewed as a WR3/flex early on, who could leap into the WR2 mix once Watson is back.
Amari Cooper was traded to Cleveland from Dallas in March. While trades are not typically a great sign for wide receivers, Cooper will have less target competition in Cleveland than he did from CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, Dalton Schultz, and others in Dallas. Cooper averaged 7.5 targets per game in his three full seasons with Dallas. Cooper's status will likely hinge on Watson's availability and the volume of the offense.