When it comes to late round SLEEPER WR's there are probably a lot of names that are being thrown around heading into this 2020 Fantasy Football season. And it makes sense, WR is such a deep positional group every year that it lends itself to late round depth. But, there is one name in particular that we believe is not getting NEARLY ENOUGH consideration: Brandin Cooks
So, today we will take a look at the 2020 outlook for Cooks and hopefully put him on the radar for more people, as he could ABSOLUTELY turn into a league winning WR.
When it comes to Cooks the first thing we have to acknowledge is that he is on the move yet again as in 2020 he will be playing for the Houston Texans. The trade that made this happen is shown below:
All things considered the league wide belief is that the Texans paid a lot, but to some extent this is a reason why we are high on Cooks as it shows that Houston still sees Cooks as a viable player that has a lot left in the tank. And we tend to agree, after all Cooks is still relatively young, will turn 27 in September, and had posted 4 straight 1000+ yard seasons prior to last year. The reason of course for this blip last year has to do with the big step back the Rams took offensively, but primarily Cooks' concussions that caused him to be at less than 100% and miss 2 weeks. Now yes, concussions are a serious issue, especially nowadays in the NFL where we have seen players retire in their prime due to this, but as it stands right now Cooks is 100% healthy.
Per FanatsyPros in PPR formats Cooks is currently ranked as the WR #35. On top of that, practically the entire fantasy community has Will Fuller as the presumed #1 WR for the Texans in 2020. This is a trend that we find pretty interesting considering that the main reason people are staying away from Cooks is injuries, but Fuller in his 4-year career has NEVER PLAYED A FULL SEASON!
Lets also address the other elephant in the room and that is the departure of DeAndre Hopkins during the offseason. Hopkins is a perennial Top 5 fantasy WR and accounted for 150 targets in 2019 for 104 catches! That comes out to roughly accounting for 33% of Watson's completions last year alone. Well, all of this production has to be redistributed somehow heading into 2020 and when you look at the contenders at the WR position, Cooks stands out big time! Along with Fuller (who we have touched on already), there is Kenny Stills (played 13 games and had 40 catches for 561 yards in 2019), Keke Coutee (played 4 games and had 22 catches for 254 yards), and the newly added Randall Cobb (who is on his 2nd team in 2 years and entering his 10th season in the NFL). We mention all of this to highlight the fact that Cooks will have a much bigger role in this offense than anticipated due to his mixture of youth, experience, and production.
Even though last season was rather disappointing for Cooks, he still had 42 receptions which is only 7 LESS than Fuller has had during any single season of his 4 year career! To us that indicates that Fuller is not really as big of a volume WR as some think and that Cooks will likely be one of the leaders out of the Houston WR's in receptions right from that start as prior to last year Cooks was averaging 77 receptions per season. Cooks also happens to share a skill set similar to Fuller in terms of possessing elite speed and having long TD potential which would seem to indicate that Cooks will have similar opportunities if not more in this offense, usage and volume wise, than Fuller and any other WR too.
Currently, Cooks is being viewed as a WR #3 in Fantasy Football which has lead his ADP to dip close to double digit rounds. Assuming Cooks can stay healthy, he currently has HUGE upside to post over 1000 yards receiving with between 65-75 catches which would make him a consistent starting type of WR in your lineup. The fact of the matter is that Cooks is probably a safer pick than Fuller at this point in time and the associated risk isn't all that high. In our eyes, when taking into consideration the entire WR room for Houston, all of whom have injury concerns/history by the way, Cooks is the most likely to emerge as the initial Hopkins replacement and leader of the bunch.