Making the Case to Draft Cooper Kupp

Making the Case to Draft Cooper Kupp

by August 15, 2020 0 comments

The 2020 NFL season is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to get ready for fantasy football. Every year fantasy owners select players that either hit or turn into a bust. In this article, I will explain why fantasy owners should target Los Angeles Rams’ wide receiver Cooper Kupp. According to Fantasy Pros PPR ADP, Kupp is being selected as the WR15 and 39th overall player off the board. For Kupp haters, now is the time to stop reading the article.

Make sure to check out all of our other Making the Case articles.

For some reason, it seems like Kupp is a polarizing fantasy player but he shouldn’t be. Last season he finished as the WR4, averaging 16.9 fantasy points per game. Fantasy owners should feel good about Kupp’s play last season coming off a torn ACL. In 2018, Kupp played in eight games, though he left two early with injuries. That season, he had almost identical numbers as the 2019 season over a 16 game span. Over 16 games in 2018, Kupp would have had 80 catches for 1,132 yards and 12 touchdowns. Last season he had 94 catches for 1,161 yards and 10 touchdowns. Both seasons Kupp averaged 16.9 fantasy points per game. Kupp has a proven track record of being a 90 catch, 1,100 yards, and 10 touchdown guy. He should be viewed as a WR1.

The Kupp haters will bring up the Tyler Higbee finish to the season and how the Rams didn’t run as many three-wide receiver sets, which forced Kupp to play on the outside. The truth is, Kupp was just as productive in the games where Higbee went off as the games where Higbee didn’t. Higbee averaged 5.3 fantasy points per game in the first 10 games of the season (he missed week three with an injury). By comparison, he averaged 21.4 fantasy points per game in the last five games.

FPPG

Snap Percent

Targets Per Game

TDs Per Game

First 11 Games

16.9

88.2%

9.5

0.5

Last 5 Games

17

64.6%

6

1

Despite playing more outside because of the two tight end sets and Higbee’s big five-game stretch, Kupp managed to keep up his fantasy points per game production. He scored more touchdowns despite seeing his snap share and targets per game drop. However, if you remove the week 14 game where Kupp played just 20% of the snaps in a very odd game for the Rams’ offense, his averages are much better. In that span, Kupp averaged 17.7 fantasy points per game, played 73.1% of the snaps, saw 6.5 targets per game, and caught 0.8 touchdowns per game. All of the numbers further squash the theory that Kupp isn’t the same player when lined up outside or with Higbee on the field.

More good news for Kupp supporters; Brandin Cooks is gone. The Rams traded Cooks to the Houston Texans for a second-round pick during the offseason. However, they spent that pick on wide receiver Van Jefferson. Some think he could take over as the slot receiver and others think it’s the Rams preparing to lose Kupp this upcoming offseason in free agency. Of the two, I think the second theory is more likely. With Cook’s departure, he leaves behind 718 snaps and 72 targets from last season. While I don’t believe Kupp will have a big uptick in targets with Cooks gone, he should see closer to 140-145 targets this season compared to his 134 last year.

Kupp has Jared Goff‘s eye. On third down and in the red zone, Goff looks Kupp’s way during the most critical moments of the game. In addition, Kupp easily had the highest touchdown rate on the team. Furthermore, Goff’s passer rater was by far the best when targeting Kupp. While Robert Woods was the most targeted receiver on the team, needless to say, Kupp is Goff’s go-to guy.

Red Zone Targets

TD Rate

Third Down Catches

QB Rating When Targeted

Cooper Kupp

21

10.6%

37

112.2

Robert Woods

10

2.2%

25

82.3

Brandin Cooks

5

4.8%

11

82.1

In addition to clearly being the go-to guy in critical situations, Kupp was the best receiver in the league in converting third downs. Last season, Kupp had 29 catches on third down that resulted in a first down. By comparison, woods finished tied for 17th with 17 such catches. Furthermore, Kupp finished tied for sixth in the league with first-down catches on third down with seven or more yards to go with eight. By comparison, Woods had seven such catches and Cooks had six.

The myth that Woods was more consistent and the Rams’ top wide receiver is false. Don’t get me wrong, I love Woods as a fantasy player and would be happy with him as my WR1 in an early running back heavy draft. However, he isn’t the top receiver for the Rams.

WR1 Finishes (Top 12)

WR2 Finishes (13-24)

WR3 Finishes (25-36)

Cooper Kupp

4

2

4

Robert Woods

4

3

2

Despite Woods having a higher snap share (92.9% compared to 80.5% for Kupp) and a target share (23.4% compared to 21.8% for Kupp), he didn’t prove to be a more consistent fantasy option than Kupp. Woods finished as a startable wide receiver (top 36 finish) in 60% of his fantasy season games (no week 17) last year. By comparison, Kupp finished as a startable wide receiver in 66.7% of his games. Kupp is the perfect safe floor with plenty of upside WR1 fantasy owners can grab in the third or fourth round of their draft this year. Furthermore, he is one of several wide receivers fantasy owners can grab and feel good about them being their WR1 after drafting two stud running backs.

Follow Mike Fanelli on Twitter @Mike_NFL2

Main Image Credit:
Embed from Getty Images

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