Dynasty Debate Buy Low Sell High: Brandin Cooks
Dynasty Value: Brandin Cooks
Following an outstanding 2016 season in which he accumulated a 78-1,173-8 stat line while averaging 15 yards per catch and posting three games of at least 100 yards receiving, the Saints dealt Brandin Cooks to the Patriots in exchange for a first-round draft pick (Ryan Ramczyk). However, although Cooks was traded to another high-octane passing attack, he saw a slight regression in his numbers from a year ago — he put an up a 65-1,082-7 line in 2017. Once deemed a candidate to break out into high-end WR1 territory as a member of the Patriots, Dynasty owners are not sure that he’ll ever reach his peak. -Anthony Cervino
- Age: 24
- Height: 5’10
- Weight: 189
- UFA: 2020
Brandin Cooks Career Stats
Brandin Cooks 2017 Gamelog
Phil Clark One year ago, a polarizing debate raged regarding the level of production that Cooks could generate during his first season as a Patriot. Some within the fantasy community believed that Cooks would thrive as New England’s primary deep threat, while others were concerned that his production would be suppressed by the arsenal of receiving weaponry that would surround him. Ultimately, his 2017 numbers were relatively consistent with the output that he generated in 2015-2016. Although his receptions (65), yardage (1,082) and touchdowns (7) all represented slight decreases from the production that he averaged in the previous two years (81 receptions/1,155 yards/8.5 touchdowns). Now, it is now reasonable to project his 2018 numbers to remain similar to what he achieved last year.
Because Tom Brady remains primed to guide the offense, the return of Julian Edelman should negatively impact Chris Hogan’s targets more than Cooks, and Cooks will still function as New England’s primary deep threat. But in 2019 and beyond, his status with New England, and uncertainty regarding who will operate under center, adds greater uncertainty for anyone who has Cooks on their rosters. As a result, any question concerning whether you should buy or sell partially depends on your priorities in 2018 versus long-term. If you are in a win-now mode and would be satisfied with reception, yardage, and touchdowns totals that remain relatively consistent with 2017, then you can pursue Cooks for your roster this season. Providing that you can embrace the realization that his weekly production will be erratic (in 2017 he amassed at least 74 yards in eight contests, but failed to reach 40 yards in six games). But for owners who are constructing their rosters based upon what he will also achieve beyond 2018, it would be wise to sell now.
Eric Mally Alright, so here’s the problem I’m running into with Cooks: I want to actively pursue him and even potentially overpay for him, but the more I think about it, more little red flags pop up that talk me out of it. Sure – I want the deep threat on one of the best offenses in the NFL. You know the Patriots are going to put up points, and you know that with Amendola potentially leaving, the 15+ yard route runners are few and far between in Foxboro (Cooks and Gronk both had 18 receptions of 20+ yards. Next closest on the team was Danny Amendola with seven). What concerns me about Cooks is what’s out of his control: How many years does Brady have left in him, and who takes over for him when he’s gone? What’s his target share going to look like when Edelman and Malcolm Mitchell come back? If Dion Lewis leaves via free agency, does that mean James White gets a bump in usage, and in turn a bump in targets? I think Cooks has the potential for a down year in 2018, and at that point, I’ll look to go after him.
Andrew Erickson Brandin Cooks will be 25 by the end of the 2018 NFL season. The young speedster enjoyed a productive season for the Patriots in 2017 tallying 1,082 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns. I think the majority of owners are too low on Cooks, which why I like the opportunity to buy him low.
With both Edelman and Mitchell coming back there are hesitations on what Cooks will have in terms of volume. However, Cooks has already solidified himself as the deep, down the field target. The only other players that compare in that fashion are Rob Gronkowski, who may retire and Chris Hogan who is also used down the field. I am not worried about Hogan getting work over Cooks so his role should be safe in the offense as the big-play threat. The big concern is obviously, in a few years, he will lose Tom Brady, but you cannot be sure that Cooks even remains a Patriot after 2018. In 2019 he will be a restricted free agent, so I think that this is the perfect time to buy. Owners are scared of Brady’s impact long-term so target players that also have an opportunity to leave when Brady retires. The Patriots are also notoriously known to not overpay players, especially at the wide receiver position.
Dan Ficca Even though he had a very good season in 2017 I’d be looking to sell high if I’m a Brandin Cooks owner. After a season that saw Cooks lead the Patriots in targets with 114 it feels right to strike while the iron is hot. He finished 2017 with 7 TD grabs, but only had 2 games over 100 yards receiving, and isn’t really a high volume pass-catcher. His season-high was 6 catches which he reached 4 times in 2017. Now Cooks is the #1 deep-threat in one of the top passing offenses in the league, but the biggest problem is there are always plenty of mouths to feed in New England. That looks to continue in 2018 with WR Julian Edelman returning from an ACL injury. Edelman and TE Rob Gronkowski should be Tom Brady’s options 1 and 1A while Chris Hogan and James White also figure to be vying for targets from Brady. It also remains to be seen how much longer TB12 can play at such a high-level. This may all lead to Cooks seeing a drop in his production. If the right deal comes along for Cooks this offseason don’t be afraid to pull the trigger.
I attribute his minor statistical regression to the fact that the Patriots have too many weapons for anyone to produce elite fantasy numbers. And don’t get me wrong, while he finished last season as the WR7 with 156.2 fantasy points in standard formats, the consensus cream of the crop — Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins are producing well over the 200 point threshold in the same format, tallying 209.3 and 213.8 fantasy points respectively.
Because Tom Brady spreads his targets around — although Cooks led the team with 114 targets in 16 games, Rob Gronkowski wasn’t far behind him with 105 in two fewer contests — I believe if Gronkowski played in all 16 games like Cooks — not only was he inactive for those two before mentioned contests, but he was active in a game in which he wasn’t targeted (Week 17) — he would have led the team in targets albeit would have been by a small margin.
Looking ahead to 2018, Cooks’ target-share could deplete. How? The highly-anticipated return of Julian Edelman, who missed the entire 2017 season with a torn ACL suffered in the preseason. With a healthy Gronkowski — assuming he doesn’t retire and sign with the WWE — Edelman and Chris Hogan vying for Brady’s targets, not to mention an active backfield in the passing game, I believe Cooks’ fantasy value will take a hit next season.
I’m selling high on Cooks immediately, but be sure to pull the trigger sooner rather than later, and preferably before Gronkowski announces that he’s returning. If someone in your league believes that Gronkowski will actually walk away to become an actor or a pro wrestler at the age of 28, sell the fact that without the elite tight end, Cooks’ target-share would increase. Thank me later.
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