Out of seemingly nowhere, and in a major turn of events, former Saints and Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks was traded to the Los Angeles Rams on Tuesday evening. The Pats and Rams will swap picks, so they'll move up to pick 23, now owning picks 23 and 31. It's funny actually, that 23rd pick is the highest the Pats have had in the draft since 2012. They gave up their 4th round pick as well for LA's 6th rounder this year. That gives the Pats (2) 1st-rounders and (2) 2nd-rounders. We're hearing a lot of chirping..... oh yeah NE has (2) 1st-rounders... OBJ's asking price is (2) 1st-rounders... no way that's happening, agreed with by longtime beat reporter out of Boston, Mike Reiss. What I really think is the Pats have their guy in a QB, and are stockpiling to move up, or think that he'll fall to them up there.
But enough about real football, let's talk about fake football and what it means for the skill players in LA and New England.
- 65/1082/7 last year. WR12 in 0.5 PPR. For as good as the numbers were, I can't honestly say I'm not that surprised. There was just something not clicking there between Brady and Cooks. They wanted to love each other but could only find lust, no real connection. It was like an elongated one-night stand.
- 16.6 ypr (7th > 60 targets - career high)
- 15.9 aDOT (6th > 60 targets)
- Cooks had 16 catches thrown 20+ yards down the field, t-1st in the NFL with D-Hop (per ESPN's Mike Reiss).
- 110 targets
- 24 years old
- Takes over for Watkins
- Watkins - 15.2 in YPR, 15.2 aDOT - so very much the same position
- Watkins only saw 66 targets - 39/593/8
- Woods and Kupp combined for 170 targets - makes sense - you look at Goff's throwing locations:
- 20th in deep ball attempts last year (per playerprofiler)
- and the 24th highest aDOT (8.5) among NFL QBs.
- 21st in air yards per attempt.
His game isn't tailored to throwing in deep, and I think that will limit Cooks.
- Cooks has always finished well in fantasy, but consistency has been a struggle. Last year he had 6 games, of 16, where he finished with under 40 receiving yards.. that's pretty much being a non-factor.
- Cooks saw 12 RZ targets, 6 inside-the-10. Watkins, 10, 5 inside-the-10.
- Cooks' total targets are going to go down - he's not seeing the 120 he has with the Pats, or the 130 with the Saints, I would say 100 is probably the cap, and that's reaching.
- Good thing though, per Mike Clay of ESPN, the Rams had a third WR on the field for 92 % of their plays, most in the NFL.
- For me, Cooks is a WR3, boom/bust guy. I'll let someone else take him in the 4th or 5th round.
We also want to look at those two guys, Kupp and Watkins with and without Woods... who missed 4 games.
- Of course like 17 seconds after I publish a sleeper video with Cooper Kupp, Cooks gets traded to LA.
- I actually like, well I definitely don't like, but I don't think this kills Kupp at all. I think it'll push his ADP down farther and he'll be a value still.
- Kupp and Cooks get very different targets, as we saw last year with Watkins.
- Kupp operates from the slot.
- But again, Woods missing time was a big boost to Kupp.
- So, what does this mean for the Rams WR1 in 2018? I still like Woods.
- Woods obviously has the chemistry with Goff already down as well.
- I actually think this might help him out more than not having anyone or someone like Josh Reynolds occupying the other side.
- Without Cooks, Woods would've been the unquestioned #1 WR in LA, meaning there's no doubt as to who the opposing team's top CB would line up against -- Woods' schedule would've included Richard Sherman (2x), Patrick Peterson (2x), Xavier Rhodes, Darius Slay, Casey Hayward, Lattimore in NO, it would have been really hard. Cooks takes some of that pressure off.
- Easily the biggest boost for in NE coming back. Half of my Instagram posts last week were about Edelman.
- Cooks had around 19-20% of NE's targets last year - Edelman had about 26-27% from 2013-2016.
- With Cooks out, things should go back to normal. Hogan as the #1 on the outside, Edelman catching 40 passes for 60 yards and Gronk just doing everything, scoring TDs, racking up yards, clapping cheeks.
- Edelman's going to be a great value.
- Aside from Edelman, Hogan is the winner here too - it was super jumbled, even last year, but Hogan made the most, prior to that shoulder injury that killed his momentum.
- He was WR5 in STD, WR9 in PPR from Weeks 1-8 - he was REALLY good before he missed time.
- He ended the szn with a monster Superbowl game 6-128-1.
- Hogan's only 29 - Cooks and Amendola are both gone, which is about 200 targets. Hogan was averaging nearly 7 targets a game from Weeks 1-8, with an aDOT of 12.9 yards, Cooks, nearly identical. 6.3/targets a game, aDOT of 12.9. Look for a lot of those passes to be siphoned to Hogan if no one else steps up in a major way.
- I think he has a really good chance to be a solid WR2. Both Pats WRs do.
Other Patriot WRs
I know you guys want to hear me say something like I'm predicting a breakout for Malcolm Mitchell... but I'm not.
- Returns after missing all of 2017 with a knee injury. He had a somewhat impressive rookie season in 2016, but he's struggled with injuries during and since then. Overall, I think people just like this guy's measurables. A solid 4.45 40-yard dash and a good burst score, and we saw flashes back in 2016, but this offense, especially with the pieces it has right now does not scream MM breakout szn szn.
- He's going to be the 3rd, probably 4th WR option for the Pats, meaning the 5th or 6th passing option behind Gronk and one of the RBs. He'll be a rotational player, probably seeing the field on 40-50% of their snaps.
- Pretty much everything I wrote for Mitchell stands pat, big pun intended for Kenny Britt, Philip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson. I want nothing to do with those 3 for fantasy purposes. If I had to take one of these guys it's Malcolm Mitchell because of his athletic ability, he's been with the system a few years and he's just 25, but I'm not excited about it.