Fantasy Check: Amari Cooper traded to Cleveland

The Dallas Cowboys traded WR Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns. What does this mean for Cooper’s fantasy value?

After reports surfaced that Amari Cooper was set to be cut or traded from the Dallas Cowboys, it didn’t take long for the wide receiver to find a new home in the AFC North.

The Cleveland Browns are sending their fifth and sixth-round selections for Cooper and a fifth, essentially making the price one fifth-round pick. Cooper’s immense contract — a big reason he was on the trade block in the first place — contributed to the lower cost.

Cooper will walk into a wide-open Cleveland receiving room that is sorely lacking a number one option. Jarvis Landry is on the trade block, Odell Beckham Jr. has long said his goodbyes following his release in November, and Donovan Peoples-Jones isn’t much more than an auxiliary piece. Target share is valuable. However, the Browns’ passing scheme is not one to envy.

Centered around star RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, the Browns have finished 28th in passing attempts in each of the last two seasons. Both were under current head coach Kevin Stefanski who has yet to produce a 1,000-yard receiver in Cleveland. For a fantasy conversion, 2020 Landry — the WR33 — was the highest-scoring Browns receiver of the past two years. His 12.5 points per game ranked as the WR38.

If you combine Landry’s fantasy points in 2020 with his 2021 production — he led Browns receivers in fantasy again — it still adds to fewer points than Justin Jefferson had this past season. All this is to say that fantasy production has not been pouring out of Cleveland of late. However, it is folly to say that Cooper won’t be a fantasy asset because the offense is too run-centric, so his ceiling just might be capped.

How does this apply to Cooper?

Of the eight teams that finished ahead of the Browns in rushing attempts, here are how their top receivers finished in fantasy PPG. (The list requires a minimum of eight games and is in order of rushing attempts by team):

WR27 A.J. Brown (13.9 PPG)
WR39 DeVonta Smith (10.1 PPG)
WR24 Marquise Brown (14.1 PPG)
WR56 Marquez Callaway (8.9 PPG)
WR3 Deebo Samuel (21.2 PPG)
WR25 Michael Pittman Jr. (14.0 PPG)
WR19 DeAndre Hopkins (14.7 PPG)
WR35 Jakobi Meyers (11.6 PPG)

That averages to the WR29 at 13.6 fantasy points per game. Cooper is a much better talent than guys like Callaway and Meyers, but he’s also much worse than Hopkins and Samuel. Cooper lies somewhere in the middle and should maintain back-end WR2 value.

It would take a surge of touchdowns and deep targets to make a higher leap since Cooper isn’t a consistent yards-after-catch guy. It’s worth factoring in that the Browns offense ranked 21st in YAC in 2021.

Can Mayfield find Cooper deep? NextGenStats ranked the Browns’ QB 10th in 2019 and sixth in 2020 deep accuracy. That fell to Earth in 2021, with Mayfield finishing 24th in completed air yards. The 2018 number one overall pick needs to clean up his 27th ranked on-target throw percentage.

Both Hopkins and Samuel — the only two receivers to rank inside the top-20 in PPG among those run-heavy teams — had quarterbacks who finished in the top-six for on-target throw percentage (Jimmy Garoppolo, number two; Kyler Murray, number six).

Both Brown and Pittman dominated their team’s target shares — solid but unspectacular for fantasy. That’s what fantasy owners should expect from Cooper — a capable WR2/3 that varies based on matchup. He should rest in the WR25-30 range of rankings.

Thank you for checking out my article! You can read all of my articles on my IDP Guys’ author page. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @Michael__Sicoli and @IDPGuys (we have offense too) and please check out our website at

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