Fantasy Impact: Brandin Cooks Traded to the Texans

Written by Dom Cintorino
April 13, 2020

Brandin Cooks Fantasy 

The Houston Texans acquired Rams’ wide receiver Brandin Cooks and a fourth-round pick in 2021 this past Thursday in exchange for a second-round pick in 2020. About a month after the Texans dealt All-Pro wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, they go ahead and make another deal, seeking his “replacement.” Though Hopkins is merely irreplaceable. The Texans continue to be very active in the trade market as they have been under Bil O’Brien. Cooks (26) is in fact a year younger than Hopkins, who turns 28 in June. At just 26 years of age, Cooks has now been traded three different times for a total of two first-round picks and a second. He now finds himself on his fourth team in what will be just his seventh season as a pro. Cooks has been a 1,000-yard receiver on all three teams he’s been apart of and looks to continue that streak as a member of the Texans. 

Fantasy Impact

Arguably the top target in his respective offense once again, Cooks will presumably take on a majority of the 150 targets left behind by Hopkins.  Since 2015, Hopkins has been the only Texans' wide receiver to see 100+ targets in a single season. We shouldn't expect him to get Hopkins-type of volume, but he should have a floor of 100 targets as he attempts to fill this void. Before last season, where he appeared in 14 games, Cooks had four consecutive seasons with at least 110 targets. He was in a nonoptimal situation a season ago with the LA Rams. Caught up in a cluster of talented wideouts, Cooks had to share targets with both Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. He fell behind both of them in terms of snap-share as well. While Woods and Kupp both saw over 80% of the Rams’ offensive snaps in ‘19, Cooks was well below them with just 63.3%. This led to his most unproductive season as a pro from a stats perspective, setting career-lows in both receptions and touchdowns. An upsetting season for fantasy owners as he held a pre-season ADP of WR15 while finishing as the WR61 in PPR formats. Though the production was inferior to what we were used to seeing out of him, Cooks stood out in some of FantasyData's Advanced Metrics. He showed out the most in a few different metrics surrounding catch-rate. Cooks found himself inside the league's top-15 in both contested catch rate, where he was 6/11 (54.5%), and true catch rate (87.5%). He also ranked 17th in cushion with an average of 4.41 yards given to him by the assigned defender. Cooks was still being viewed as a deep threat, even if the numbers were not there. 

2020 Outlook/Projection

The Houston Texans put together an impressive 2019 season on the offensive side of the ball. They were exceptional in the red zone, converting on over 64% of trips which was the 7th best in the NFL. The Texans also ranked inside the leagues top-12 in both yards per play and passing yards per attempt. This is a good sign for Cooks, who has shown the ability to take the top off a defense at any given time. However, Cooks will be competing for targets in this offense with some comparable wideouts. Will Fuller and Kenny Stills, both members of the Texans in 2019 will be returning and free-agent addition, Randall Cobb, will be mixed in there as well. Of these three, the last one to play a full 16-game season was Stils back in 2017. Before Cooks dealt with a concussion last season, he had been fairly healthy over the course of his career, not missing a single game in four straight seasons. As a group, this is not the healthiest bunch, but if Cooks is able to stay on the field, the opportunity will be there. Of the group, Cooks is the only one who can be a true Fantasy Football WR1, as he’s shown in the past. The situation he is in now is very similar to what he had in New England back in 2017. It was a group of wide receivers who, outside of Cooks,  lacked a true #1 target. From a volume standpoint, this was an extremely favorable landing spot for Cooks. Currently holding an ADP of WR26, we should expect to see this rise a bit in the upcoming months. An affordable price to get Deshaun Watson’s number one target.

Dom Cintorino

Dom Cintorino is a Central Michigan University graduate who earned a Bachelor's degree in General Management. He has been writing in the Fantasy Sports industry for three years now. He began with Dominate Fantasy where he was the lead writer for season-long and DFS purposes during the 2016 season. Dom eventually moved on to write both Fantasy Golf, and Fantasy Football for RotoExperts through a majority of 2018. He represented RotoExperts in the Kings Classic - Brown Division which took place at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Dom is also currently a contributor at Fantasy CPR where he writes Daily Fantasy Golf.