Week 4 Lessons Learned: Amari Cooper Ceiling Week

by Tyler Strong · Fantasy Football

The injury train rolled on this week, claiming Austin Ekeler‘s hamstring and Nick Chubb‘s ankle. It was par for the course in a season plagued by injuries across the league. The good news was that Joe Mixon woke up, the Cowboys continued their “all offense, no defense” campaign, and Dalvin Cook make his case as the top running back in fantasy. Let’s take a look at the week’s action using PlayerProfiler.com’s advanced stats, metrics, and analytics.

Thursday Night Breakdown: Jerry Jeudy Sighting on Dismal Night

Jerry Jeudy joined the ranks of rookie receiver breakouts this season with a highlight Moss-ing of Pierre Desir. It wasn’t a Justin Jefferson-esque blow-up, but Jeudy stepped up in Courtland Sutton‘s absence, reeling in two catches for 61 yards and a score on four targets. All the production came on a 48-yard bomb from Brett Rypien where Jeudy got up over Desir for a highlight reel score. It’s an awful offensive environment for the Broncos pass-catchers to begin with, so we’ll take any signs of life.

Jerry Jeudy Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile w/ 2020 Game Logs

Noah Fant has been a gamebreaker whenever he’s gotten the ball delivered to his area code, and Jeudy has the same potential with a more cohesive offense. Mixed with Sutton, they would be an exciting young core if the Broncos had any semblance of an answer at quarterback. The jury is very much out on Drew Lock, who will return soon. However, Lock offers these receivers a bit more ceiling, ranking No. 1 among qualified quarterbacks with 10.2 Air Yards per Attempt.

Action: Jeudy is more of a promise for next year than a play in redraft or DFS in 2020, but the buy low window will slam shut if he records any more GIF-able plays. He’s a supreme buy in dynasty as a highly-drafted player with a winning profile in an offense that can’t get much worse going into 2021. Target any contenders looking to shed rookies for immediate production.

Lesson Two: This is What an Amari Cooper Ceiling Week Looks Like

Give an athletic phenom 16 targets in the perfect Game Script, and that’s the Amari Cooper ceiling scenario. Cooper racked up 134 yards and a score on 12 catches in a game where Dak Prescott had over 500 passing yards. The Alabama star has a 25.89-percent Target Share through four weeks, and the Dallas defense looks to keep the trend going. The Cowboys can’t stop anyone, and it makes for unreal passing volume.

Amari Cooper Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile w/ 2020 Game Logs

Cooper’s 51 targets rank right at the top of the league, and Prescott’s 201 pass attempts lead the league. The clear number one option, Cooper’s usage is the stuff of legend. CeeDee Lamb has emerged as the secondary option, but he’s still secondary to Cooper. That being said, all the ancillary pieces of this offense remain excellent DFS values with this level of volume. Keep track of that going forward.

Action: Cooper draws matchups against the Giants and Cardinals next. Neither defense proposes a threat to the Dallas passing game. Especially after even a near-dead Cleveland Browns offense boat-raced them on Sunday. Cooper is a top-5 play going forward, especially as Michael Gallup fades further into the ether. 

Lesson Three: Dalvin Cook’s Usage is Unmatched

The Vikings offense has come alive the past two weeks, and Dalvin Cook is the top beneficiary. His 27 carries for 130 yards and two scores were encouraging after the team’s glacial start, and Alexander Mattison even got in to vulture another would-be score late in the game.

Cook’s usage is unmatched. He had five more carries than Kirk Cousins had pass attempts. His carries have increased in every game, and his occasional receiving work is a welcome bonus. Per PlayerProfiler, Cook ranks No. 2 among qualified running backs with 25 Evaded Tackles and a 47.2-percent Juke Rate. That efficiency in the face of massive volume provides unparalleled floor-to-ceiling value.

Action: Cook faces the Seahawks and Falcons next, two defenses that can be beat. His high floor will be supplemented with a ceiling in both contests. Cook is the best RB play in DFS at the position behind Alvin Kamara.

Lesson Four: Joe Mixon is Back… We Hope?

Joe Mixon rewarded the faithful Sunday with a massive day, accruing 181 total yards and scoring three times. It was the first game that he was allowed to carry the ball more than 20 times. It was as if the Bengals brass suddenly remembered they had a bellcow-status back on the squad, and the curse of Giovani Bernard‘s mustache was finally broken.

Mixon ran well against the poor Jaguars defense, with a long burst of 34 yards. The offensive line woes for the Bengals have been highly publicized, but Joe Burrow‘s continued improvement week over week has forced defenses to spread out against the balanced attack. The only hope is that this week’s success will embolden the Bengals to give Mixon the workload he deserves. There’s no reason this player shouldn’t be averaging 20-25 carries every week.

Action: Mixon will attempt to continue his success against… the Baltimore Ravens. He’ll be an uber contrarian DFS play even after the blow-up spot. He makes for a choice tournament play with a precocious Joe Burrow ready to do battle with a Ravens team that’s shown unevenness in games they trail.

Lesson Five: Drew Brees Shows Life… as does Tre’Quan Smith

Drew Brees‘ detractors had a nice helping of crow after he had a season-best passing day against the Detroit Lions. Brees had only recorded 480 (No. 31) Air Yards heading into Sunday, but he consistently pushed the ball downfield. Yes, when Alvin Kamara has a 30.4-percent Target Share in an offense, the Air Yards will be low. Still, Brees looked dead and buried when he needed to make an actual pass for weeks. Saints receivers had to be encouraged for their futures to see him have a good day against an albeit depleted Lions secondary.

The main beneficiary of Brees’ strong day was Tre’Quan Smith: a mainstay on many a dynasty league bench who caught all four balls that went his way for 54 yards and two touchdowns. It was a necessary performance for us to keep the light on for him any longer, especially with Michael Thomas held out of the offense for another week. Emmanuel Sanders nearly eclipsed 100 yards, but Smith is the far more intriguing long term hold.

Action: Smith is off the main slate next week, but he’s a choice waiver add this week with the receiver position so depleted around the league. The Saints draw a great matchup against the Carolina Panthers in two weeks, where Smith can potentially eat against a porous passing defense.