Projecting Amari Cooper’s Rookie Season
We have covered wide receiver Amari Cooper pretty extensively here at RotoViz. Shawn Siegele compared him to recent top prospects. Justin Winn pondered if he would score more touchdowns than Kevin White. He is our number one overall rookie heading into the 2015 season, narrowly edging Todd Gurley. Before the draft, Kevin Cole produced a set of opportunity scores indicating the best landing spots for 2015 rookie wide receivers. Oakland, which selected Cooper with the fourth overall pick, produced the second best. Cole sees Cooper as a big winner as do I. So now that we know Cooper is in a good spot to produce fantasy points let’s take a look at how his rookie season might shape up. Here’s a preliminary Amari Cooper projection for 2015.
I then took the top five1 receivers and averaged their yards per target, catch rate and TD rate from their rookie seasons. Those totals came to 7.67 yards/target (YPT), 0.53 catch rate (CR), and 0.05 touchdown rate (TDRT). While these are just rough estimates, I like to use this average as a baseline for what similar prospects were able to accomplish in their first year in the league.2 Once I plugged those totals into the Machine, I got the following projected stat line for Cooper.
This line was created giving Cooper a 23 percent share of Oakland’s pass targets which was the default setting. The last time the Raiders even got close to giving a WR a 23 percent target share was 2011. To be fair they haven’t had a WR on their roster like Cooper in a long time. Still this might even be a little conservative. This would have put Cooper at WR17 in 2014. I took a look at last years most prolific target receivers. The top 15 ranged from Andre Johnson inexplicably3 receiving 32 percent of his team’s targets to T.Y. Hilton receiving 21 percent of his team’s targets. The average came in at just over 28 percent. Here is what Cooper projects to at each of those numbers.
32% Target Share:
28% Target Share:
21% Target Share:
I said before 23 percent would probably be too conservative, so I believe 21 percent is as much of a lock as possible for his floor. This would have put him at WR25 last season. On the other end, 32 percent seems a little too aggressive but would have had him at WR5 in 2014. With competition for targets in the WR room almost non-existent, I believe the most likely outcome is somewhere in the 23-28 percent range. This would put Cooper safely on the WR2 line and possibly make him a borderline fantasy WR1 for his rookie season in 2015.