By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
If you head over to the Club Fantasy Instagram page, you can stay up to speed on all the transactions as they occur, or as fast as my graphic designer can make some bomb ass pictures for you to like. Below you’ll see how I view all of the relevant NFL offseason transactions. I say relevant because, for the purposes of fantasy football, defensive signings don’t impact us as much as the offensive ones. I’ll cover the defensive signings when I do my team-by-team previews later in the summer.
I’ll identify the player, who they signed with or were traded to, and how I think it impacts their fantasy value going into 2017, positive or negative. Next up: Brandin Cooks traded to New England.
Transaction: New England Patriots acquire WR Brandin Cooks
Fantasy Outlook: Drew Brees is on his way to the Hall of Fame. When the Saints drafted Cooks in the 1st round three years ago, many of us knew the potential was there for success. Brees has made fantasy football superstars out of the likes of Lance Moore and Robert Meachum. So what would he do with a superior talent like Cooks? Well, two straight 1,000 yard receiving seasons gave us the answer to that question.
But then the Saints got greedy and drafted another wide receiver, Michael Thomas, in the 2nd round in 2016. Then Thomas had himself a helluva season and made Cooks dispensable. They got a second 1st round pick in the 2017 draft when they dealt Cooks to the Patriots in an effort to rebuild their defense. But that doesn’t mean much to me because, well, it’s a defense. Boring.
So Cooks is in New England now. With Tom Brady. The five time Super Bowl winning Tom Brady. The last time Brady acquired a weapon as dangerous as Cooks was in 2007 when Randy Moss came into town. Anyone remember what happened that season? Allow me to remind you.
Brady – 68.9% completion rate, 4,806 passing yards, 50 passing TDs, 8 INTs
Moss – 98 catches (74 for 1st downs), 1,493 receiving yards, 23 receiving TDs
Don’t take that as me saying Cooks is the second-coming of Randy Moss. He’s not. Cooks is diminutive and speedy. Moss was big, physical, and insanely fast for his size. What Cooks does is give Brady a weapon that can stretch the field and take screen passes at the line of scrimmage 65 yards for a touchdown.
The downfall to Cooks in New Orleans was his inconsistency. Not so much with him, just because of the amount of weapons the Saints have. In New England, there are a lot of mouths to feed as well. Julian Edelman is their de facto number one wide receiver, but he’s a slot receiver. Dion Lewis and James White are dynamic running backs who can do serious damage out of the backfield. LeGarrette Blount has yet to re-sign, but if/when he does, there’s another mouth to feed. And that doesn’t include the likes of Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell.
A lot of pundits will look to Cooks’ split in indoor versus outdoor games for his career. Allow me to present those to you for the umpteenth time.
Indoors (30 games): 7.6 targets, 5.2 catches, 72.2 yards, .53 TDs per game
Outdoors (12 games): 7.3 targets, 5.0 catches, 57.8 yards, .33 TDs per game
Here’s another one. Turf versus grass fields.
Turf (29 games): 7.6 targets, 5.2 catches, 69.0 yards, .48 TDs per game
Grass (13 games): 7.2 targets, 4.9 catches, 66.2 yards, .46 TDs per game
Maybe I’m crazy, but those numbers don’t look like much to get in a tizzy about and downgrade Cooks because he’s now headed north. To an outdoor stadium. Where it gets cold earlier than in the south. Or in a dome for that matter.
But has anyone ever looked at Drew Brees’ splits? Allow me to present them from 2016.
Indoors: 3,117 yards, 68.9% completion, 8.36 average pass, 22 TDs, 8 INTs
Outdoors: 2,091 yards, 71.3 % completion, 6.97 average pass, 15 TDs, 7 INTs
I’ll spare you the grass/turf stats because they reflect the same thing. I don’t know about you, but what I see is a QB who took less shots downfield when playing outdoors and settled for the high percentage underneath routes. With Cooks lined up outside, he’s not running a lot of underneath routes.
But in New England, Tom Brady throws underneath routes and screen passes to his outside receivers all the time. Cooks will be dangerous and an easy WR1 in my opinion. Edelman will take a backseat to Cooks’ explosiveness. I haven’t done my rankings for 2017 yet, but Cooks will no doubt be in my top 10. Let everyone else buy into the doubt. Be the one who grabs him and wins a fantasy championship with him as your number 1 wide receiver.