News & Analysis

Amari Cooper stays in Dallas, remains a top-10 wide receiver for fantasy football

Amari Cooper is staying put in Dallas. The wideout agreed to a five-year $100 million deal with $60 million in guaranteed money. The Cowboys also placed the franchise tag on Dak Prescott but did lose Randall Cobb in free agency to the Houston Texans.

Cooper is perhaps one of the most interesting case studies in fantasy history. He entered the league as a highly touted prospect who went fourth overall in the 2015 draft and proceeded to rattle off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Cooper finished 21st among wideouts in fantasy scoring in 2015 and followed that up with a 15th-place finish in 2016. 

But then something changed. Cooper was a shadow of his former self in 2017. He caught just 48 balls for 680 yards and seven scores in 14 games played, which is far from the production you’d expect from a player drafted 22nd overall in fantasy drafts that season. That trend continued in 2018, as Cooper had just 22 catches for 280 yards and one score over the first six games. Cooper was essentially unstartable for fantasy purposes.

Typically, when a player falls off that dramatically, there’s no coming back. But Cooper proved to be the exception to the rule. The Oakland Raiders traded him to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7, and Cooper went on to be one of the hottest wideouts down the stretch. He followed that up with a top-10 fantasy finish among wideouts last season. While 2019 was far from a smooth ride, Cooper still flashed elite fantasy potential. That, plus the fact that he’ll only be 26 when the season starts, bodes favorably for both his short- and long-term fantasy value. 

The Cowboys parted ways with Cobb but still have Michael Gallup in-house. Cooper and Gallup are one of the league’s better one-two combos, and Gallup’s presence helps take some of the attention off of Cooper. Heading into 2020 fantasy drafts, Cooper remains a top-10 receiver in our fantasy football rankings. He’s shaping up to go in the late-second or early-third round in 12-team drafts.

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