Game-By-Game Projections: Amari Cooper (2020 Fantasy Football)
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Cooper had a big year in 2019, producing 1,189 and eight receiving touchdowns – both career highs in his first full season as a Cowboy. With another year under his belt to develop chemistry with Dak Prescott, how will Cooper fare in 2020? He’ll face competition from Michael Gallup and rookie CeeDee Lamb for targets, though he should remain the clear No. 1 on the team. Let’s take a look at his game-by-game projections below:
Week 1: @ Rams
Dallas opens against a Rams team that will undoubtedly be chomping at the bit to get back to its 2018 glory. This defense is likely going to be average in 2020, though the prospect of Cooper facing coverage from Jalen Ramsey is certainly a reason to downgrade his expected production in the season-opener. He goes for 60 yards but fails to score.
Predicted stat line: 4 receptions, 60 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (8.0 fantasy points)
Week 2: vs. Falcons
Dallas’ home-opener couldn’t be much friendlier for Cooper, as he’ll get the chance to go against a beatable Falcons secondary. After a relatively quiet performance in Week 1, Coop blasts off for 122 yards and a score in front of the home crowd. Fantasy owners are elated but wonder how long it will be before Cooper posts an absolute dud.
Predicted stat line: 6 receptions, 122 receiving yards, 1 receiving TDs (21.2 fantasy points)
Week 3: @ Seahawks
Seattle’s defense is far from exceptional, though travelling to face the noise of the 12th man is no easy task. Dallas goes Zeke-heavy in this one to keep the ball out of Russell Wilson‘s hands, and Cooper nabs one long ball in the second half to boost an otherwise horrid receiving line.
Predicted stat line: 3 receptions, 55 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (7.0 fantasy points)
Week 4: vs. Browns
It’s another bounce-back opportunity for Cooper, as Dallas hosts Cleveland in Week 4. Cleveland was just below average in passing defense in 2019, and with most of the roster intact, the outlook is similar in 2020. Cooper will likely have to contend with Denzel Ward at some point in the game, but No. 19 shouldn’t have trouble getting back in the scoring column and racking up a healthy receiving line in the process. Cooper’s 101 yards are needed as Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham and Nick Chubb march up and down the field and give Dallas all it can handle.
Predicted stat line: 6 receptions, 101 receiving yards, 1 receiving TDs (19.1 fantasy points)
Week 5: vs. Giants
Cooper had strong performances against the Giants last season, racking up a combined 10/186/2 receiving line in two games against the G-Men. The team made a concerted effort to improve its secondary in the off-season, but this defense is still pretty weak. Cooper has a strong game in Week 5 as Dallas wins its first divisional game of the season.
Predicted stat line: 5 receptions, 82 receiving yards, 1 receiving TDs (16.7 fantasy points)
Week 6: vs. Cardinals
A hot streak. A weak secondary. Monday Night Football. You know the deal. Riding high from two huge performances in Weeks 4 and 5, Cooper comes in extraordinarily confident in his primetime matchup with Arizona at Jerry World. Arizona’s offense is more than capable of scoring points in bunches, and the Kyler Murray to DeAndre Hopkins connection is firing on all cylinders here. Dak to Coop is equally potent, and Dallas wins a fantastic shootout 38-36 thanks to two huge scores from Cooper and his only 200-yard game of the 2020 season.
Predicted stat line: 10 receptions, 210 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs (38.0 fantasy points)
Week 7: @ Redskins
Washington’s strength on defense should be against the run in 2020, leaving room for Cooper and Co. to do some work in the receiving game. Dak passes the ball around and gets all his pass-catchers involved in the victory, as Michael Gallup and Blake Jarwin each score. Cooper is left out of the end zone and goes for a modest 57 yards.
Predicted stat line: 5 receptions, 57 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (8.2 fantasy points)
Week 8: @ Eagles
Philly’s secondary received some improvements in the off-season, most notably the addition of shutdown corner Darius Slay. Cooper isn’t going to go bonkers against this revamped unit, though Dallas’ short passing game is on full display in Week 8. Cooper catches six balls but barely goes 10.0 yards per reception in a middling performance.
Predicted stat line: 6 receptions, 63 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (9.3 fantasy points)
Week 9: vs. Steelers
Dallas faces a stingy Steelers defense in Week 9, though the Cowboys play a great game in this battle between two of America’s favorite teams. It’s just the sort of game that Cooper could flourish in, but instead, he does a disappearing act that has become synonymous with his name.
Predicted stat line: 3 receptions, 44 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (5.9 fantasy points)
Week 10: BYE
Week 11: @ Vikings
Fresh off the bye, Cooper’s struggles against Pittsburgh are in the rearview, but a new challenge rears its ugly head in a trip to Minnesota. Facing a tough defense and a team that’s familiar with Mike McCarthy’s coaching and play-calling, Dallas takes a loss while Cooper comes up small. Fantasy owners shake their heads in anguish but remember to trust the process.
Predicted stat line: 4 receptions, 42 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (6.2 fantasy points)
Week 12: vs. Redskins
Dallas comes out and completes the season sweep of the ‘Skins in Week 12 thanks to another strong performance from Dak Prescott. He once again peppers multiple receivers with targets, and none of them top 75 yards. Cooper comes away with a nearly identical stat line to the one he posted in the teams’ first meeting, though he’s the recipient of a touchdown here.
Predicted stat line: 5 receptions, 55 receiving yards, 1 receiving TDs (14.0 fantasy points)
Week 13: @ Ravens
This has the makings of a letdown game for Cooper. On the road in Baltimore and facing one of the best defenses in football, Coop can’t find room to operate and is stifled by Baltimore’s elite secondary. Meanwhile, Zeke pounds the rock, Blake Jarwin has success in the middle of the field, and CeeDee Lamb runs away from defenders on Dak Prescott’s only touchdown of the afternoon – a 50-yard bomb.
Predicted stat line: 5 receptions, 32 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (5.7 fantasy points)
Week 14: @ Bengals
Dallas should be able to dispatch Cincinnati with little fanfare, and it’s entirely possible Ezekiel Elliot is the focal point of the offense in Week 14. Still, the matchup is too tasty for Cooper not to do some damage of his own. He rolls past 100 yards and scores his seventh touchdown of the year as Dallas cruises.
Predicted stat line: 6 receptions, 149 receiving yards, 1 receiving TDs (18.4 fantasy points)
Week 15: vs. 49ers
The Sunday Night matchup is sure to be a good one. Dallas’ experienced offensive line colliding with San Francisco’s young and talented front seven should provide plenty of fireworks, though it’s not a week I’m targeting Cooper. San Fran’s secondary is formidable, and I don’t think he’s able to do much against it. Trying to get an advantage in time of possession, Dallas focuses on the run and gives Zeke 25 carries. Coop comes up small just a week after going off on Cincinnati.
Predicted stat line: 4 receptions, 27 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (4.7 fantasy points)
Week 16: vs. Eagles
After a rough week against the 49ers, Dallas hosts its final home game of the season against arch-rival Philadelphia. With the division up for grabs, Dallas eeks out a victory and takes control of its own fate for Week 17 and beyond. Cooper doesn’t have a huge game against the strong secondary, but he’s able to find the end zone for the eighth time in 2020.
Predicted stat line: 4 receptions, 46 receiving yards, 1 receiving TDs (12.6 fantasy points)
Week 17: @ Giants
Cooper ends on a high note in the season finale, topping 100 yards for the fourth time on the season while bringing in a healthy seven receptions. Dallas wins in convincing fashion in the Meadowlands and claims the division crown over Philadelphia to advance to the playoffs.
Predicted stat line: 7 receptions, 100 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs (13.5 fantasy points)
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Cooper comes out strong in 2020 to match his career-high in receptions and set a new career-high in receiving yards. Last season, Jason Witten and Randall Cobb combined to go 18/1,357/7 on 166 targets. The Cowboys addressed the need at wide receiver in the draft with first-rounder CeeDee Lamb, though he’s not going to command a lofty target share as a rookie. Witten was replaced by holdover Blake Jarwin. That’s it. Dallas didn’t add any more pass-catching weapons of significance in the off-season, leaving Cooper and Michael Gallup in line for a lot of work this season. Jarwin and Lamb will do their parts, and Ezekiel Elliott should see more work as a receiver, but I expect Cooper and Gallup to do most of the work through the air.
Cooper has been a true boom-or-bust receiver throughout his career, typically erupting for a huge game or failing to do much in the box score. The weeks he goes off, he’s a matchup-winner, but he can certainly have the opposite effect on your fantasy team too. Drafting Cooper in this career year will be a boon by season’s end, but strap in for a bumpy ride.
2019 stats: 79 receptions, 1,189 receiving yards, 8 receiving TDs
2020 prediction: 83 receptions, 1,245 receiving yards, 8 receiving TDs