When Nick Foles took over the starting quarterback job for the Philadelphia Eagles, Riley Cooper was not on many owners’ fantasy football radars, let alone in the starting lineups. Since then Cooper has destroyed the stat sheets and been one of the top receivers in all of fantasy. How good has Cooper been?
Well, in his last three games, Cooper has secured 10 of 16 targets for 254 yards and five touchdowns. His weekly fantasy average production during that span is 18.46 points per game. Even with these great numbers, should fantasy owners consider selling high on Cooper before the trade deadline (which is this Friday in most leagues)?
Why would fantasy owners want to trade such a commodity? Does anyone remember Eddie Royal? Royal ripped it up at the start of the season, posting 10 receptions for 164 yards and five touchdowns in his first two games, scoring about 42.4 points in standard formats. Since then he has 18 more catches, 213 yards and two scores, scoring 38.6 fantasy points. Owners who sold high on Royal after week two took in a great return on their investment while owners who bought Royal now realize that they overpaid. He has since been leapfrogged by Keenan Allen, Danny Woodhead and to a certain extent, Vincent Brown.
Now Cooper is a different player in a different situation, who only really has to compete with DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy for targets. I bring up Royal to say that Cooper’s value might be at his peak right now. Like Royal, there should be a regression coming. His success isn’t due to some new Chip Kelly scheme, or a sudden emergence of great hands and speed. He is having success because where Michael Vick looked deep for Jackson, Foles is looking for Cooper and Foles isn’t afraid to launch it deep and hope for the best. The majority of those Cooper touchdowns were on deep passes and double coverage, not short strikes that Cooper made multiple defenders miss. Sooner or later, those deep shots might start finding their way into the hands of the defensive double coverage and not Cooper. If they do, these are long touchdowns and large amounts of fantasy points that just landed in the wrong hands.
I really like the schedule the rest of the way for the Eagles, so consider some enticing matchups before you decide to sell Cooper, and with those matchups, I still see him putting up decent fantasy points going forward. I am concerned about the law of averages catching up to Cooper and Foles. Foles has 16 touchdowns and no interceptions so far. Like we saw with Peyton Manning earlier this season, that rate is simply unsustainable. There will be a bad game sooner or later where those questionable deep throws to double coverage fall the other way.
When that happens, I ask you, fantasy owner, would you still want Cooper as your WR3, or would you rather have traded him for an upgrade to help you on your playoff push?
As always, I welcome your comments. If you think I’m wrong, I’m willing to listen. Just back it up with some facts and solid evidence. Thanks for reading and good luck this season.
Read more from Dustin here.