This one will be extremely brief. We covered the Brandin Cooks trade back in early April, and even with the NFL draft coming a few weeks later, the Los Angeles Rams’ offensive changes won’t impact Cooks’ addition in any way. LA spent three picks on reserve offensive linemen and a sixth-rounder on backup running back John Kelly.
All of the changes factored, Cooks’ April analysis holds up.
Much has been made about the trade itself between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams, so we’ll spare you the rehash. The fantasy football angle may be the most exciting aspect, especially with a little deeper look at the situation.
This offseason, California-native Brandin Cooks had worked out with Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff, which likely helped facilitate the trade, despite Sean McVay’s downplaying coach speak. He acknowledge a level of “comfort” with the situation, noting the connection between Cooks and Goff via a shared agent.
The duo will have a chance to build even more chemistry over the length of the offseason. Last year’s late acquisition of Sammy Watkins didn’t give he and Goff much time to get on the same page — and it showed with only two Watkins TDs in the first seven games.
Cooks has been remarkably stable in his young career, even if the raw stats have diminished a tad over the past two years.
Brandin Cooks stats (2014-17)
Year Team G Rec Yds Avg Lng TD FUM Lost 2014 New Orleans Saints 10 53 550 10.4 50T 3 1 0 2015 New Orleans Saints 16 84 1,138 13.5 71T 9 1 0 2016 New Orleans Saints 16 78 1,173 15.0 98T 8 1 0 2017 New England Patriots 16 65 1,082 16.6 64T 7 — —
… Nevertheless, it is quite the resume for a 24-year-old on his third team in as many years. From Cooks’ perspective, it is expected he will play without the burden of worrying about a new contract. All signs point to the Rams signing Cooks to an extension before the season begins.
Fantasy football outlook
The Rams have plenty of weapons, but it won’t be as crowded as last year in New England was for Cooks. The system is similarly complex, and LA has definitively better weather for a vertical threat.
Robert Woods emerged in 2017, and as long will remain involved as long as he is healthy. That said, he has a lengthy injury history and could open more work for Cooks.
Cooper Kupp should be more active in his sophomore year, as well, and the offense is friendly for pass-catching running backs. Watkins was targeted 70 times, resulting in 39 grabs for 593 yards and eight scores. Cooks easily could see 120 targets, although this figure probably is the high-water mark for his involvement.
Cooks’ floor is about last year’s WR2 stats in a healthy season, and his 2015 line of 84-1,138-9 is within reach this in 2018. Consider his average over the past three years (76-1,131-8) to be a reasonable baseline. All told, he is a strong No. 2 fantasy receiver with slightly more worth in standard-scoring leagues.