Deshaun Watson Tossed a Fantasy Lifeboat with Brandin Cooks Trade - Roto Street Journal
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Deshaun Watson Tossed a Fantasy Lifeboat with Brandin Cooks Trade

No, acquiring Brandin Cooks does NOT offset losing DeAndre Hopkins, both for Deshaun Watson and the Texans. They’ve subbed a do-it-all Alpha No.1 for a speedy, high-end No.2. Watson’s fantasy value remains lower after Free Agency than it was entering it.

Still, how far Watson drops has been significantly reduced with Cooks’ addition.

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In Cooks, Watson regains a WR who’s shouldered No.1 duties. Sure, Fuller may have been that option. Yet, after playing just 65% of games since being drafted and never a full season, Fuller was much more likely to miss serious time than go all 16. Who the hell would Watson have to chuck to then?

Instead, Cooks has topped 1,000 yards in four of his last five years, shouldering at least 110 looks over a full 16 games in each. With 4.33 speed, Cooks is one of the league’s top burners. His 14.8 yards per reception since 2015 rank fourth among receivers with at least 300 receptions during that time. He’s topped 15.0 YPR in three of those four years.

Not solely a pure deep threat, Cooks also remains dangerous in the screen game. He’s scary in space, and among a small handful of players who can rip a short slant the distance. Yes,  Cooks’ does come with a concerning concussion history. Still, he brings much-needed depth and provenness to an otherwise barren WRs corps.

Beyond the obvious talent injection and floor-boosting, Watson’s ceiling rises based on the scheme this move suggests: push the ball downfield, downfield, and further downfield.

Yes, an ideal WRs corps for real life balances one another out, allowing you to attack every layer and quadrant on a given play. Contrastingly, the Texans have now stockpiled speedster after speedster. For fantasy, however, this almost guarantees the ball will pushed downfield more than ever under first-time play caller Tim Kelly.

Just look at the speed Watson now has at his disposal:

  • Will Fuller – 4.32
  • Brandin Cooks – 4.33
  • Kenny Stills – 4.38
  • Randall Cobb – 4.46

Perfect, because Watson slings one of the NFL’s most accurate deep balls. He ranked first in PFF’s adjusted deep completion percentage (54.1%), finishing 5th in deep yardage (1,111) and second in TDs (11). Expect Watson and the Texans to rank Top-Five in downfield passing in 2020.

Given how deep QB is this year, Watson doesn’t suddenly regain Top-Five status. Still, Cooks’ addition definitely buoys his fall, and he slides in as my QB7. His “Konami” Rushing upside remains higher than any not named Lamar, and Cooks’ presence should ensure an at least serviceable WRs corps that meshes with his deep-passing strengths perfectly.

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