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Amari Cooper, Baker Mayfield, Browns' Fantasy Outlook After Trade with Cowboys

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIMarch 13, 2022

AP Photo/Ron Jenkins

The Dallas Cowboys have traded wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns, per Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News:

Michael Gehlken @GehlkenNFL

For compensation, the Cowboys swapped sixth-round picks with the Browns in the 2022 draft, upgrading their own selection, while adding Cleveland’s fifth-round choice. Better than nothing, which is what Dallas would have gained if it outright released Cooper. <a href="https://t.co/ujyxbiKnLF">https://t.co/ujyxbiKnLF</a>

Reactions immediately dropped regarding Cooper's 2022 fantasy value.

Chris Towers of CBS Sports and Brad Evans of Bally Sports were more pessimistic.

Chris Towers Has Cats @CTowersCBS

Not ideal for Amari Cooper’s fantasy value. <a href="https://t.co/lighFTQ2oQ">https://t.co/lighFTQ2oQ</a>

Brad Evans @NoisyHuevos

Welcome to fantasy football purgatory, Amari Cooper. <a href="https://t.co/P6EDkRwkoe">https://t.co/P6EDkRwkoe</a>

ESPN's Matthew Berry was more optimistic:

Matthew Berry @MatthewBerryTMR

Downgrade in QB for Cooper obviously but that should be masked at least somewhat by an increase in targets. (Cooper’s 19% target share last season was a career-low-his 57.6 yards/game last season was his lowest total since 2017). Initial reaction is Cooper just outside top 20 WR <a href="https://t.co/m7JLxLLPbb">https://t.co/m7JLxLLPbb</a>

Cooper, 27, caught 68 passes for 865 yards and eight touchdowns last season.

Ultimately, it's difficult to be overwhelmingly optimistic about a change of scenery for Cooper. Michael Fabiano of Sports Illustrated explained why.

"Cooper, who finished as the WR27 last season, will now be the No. 1 wide receiver in Cleveland. That’s the good news. The bad news? He’ll be in a run-based offense that statistically neutered former star Odell Beckham Jr. and is not at all wideout friendly. In fact, the most fantasy points a receiver has averaged in Kevin Stefanski’s offense is Stefon Diggs. The current Bills playmaker averaged 14.2 points from 2018-2019 while he and Stefanski were with the Vikings."

Cooper may see more targets in Cleveland after seeing just 6.9 per game in Dallas last year, which played a part of his string of three straight 1,000-yard seasons ending.

However, Cooper will now be catching passes from quarterback Baker Mayfield, who finished 23rd in Football Outsiders' DVOA metric (defense-adjusted value over average), 27th in quarterback rating and 27th in QBR last year.

It was a down year for Mayfield, who helped lead the Browns to an 11-5 record and the team's first playoff appearance since 2002 the year before.

Perhaps adding Cooper to the mix helps, but ultimately, Mayfield is still a backup quarterback option at best in fantasy leagues. Cooper should be considered a WR3 or flex play.

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