First things first about Pharoh Cooper: He has a really cool name.
Seriously, props to his family for the fancy moniker. But a nice name isn’t enough to justify a spot on your 2016 Fantasy Football roster.
He was a fourth-round pick for the Los Angeles Rams, a team that will either have a rookie quarterback or Case Keenum under center in Week 1.
Is Cooper worth drafting in non-dynasty leagues? Let’s take a look…
Pharoh Cooper: College Stats
Cooper is 5-foot-11, 208 pounds and played for South Carolina in college.
Though Cooper got off to a slow start in college, he showed a lot of versatility. He finished his freshman season with 54 receiving yards, 202 rushing yards, scored one rushing touchdown, and completed two of three pass attempts for 29 yards and one touchdown.
In his sophomore season, he broke the school record for single-game receiving yards (233) and was named first team All-SEC.
In his junior year, Cooper expanded his role for the Gamecocks by returning punts. If you give this guy a job, he can do it.
Pharoh Cooper Stats
- Fast off the line
- Can reach top speed quickly
- Can improvise compromised routes
- Plays through contact
- Versatile and consistent
- Though he can improvise, he needs strong direction on routes
- Limited route exposure
- Relies more on speed than agility
Pharoh Cooper’s Competition
Last season, the (transplanted) Los Angeles Rams relied primarily on Tavon Austin at wide receiver. In spite of a quite terrible performance by Nick Foles and Keenum, Austin managed to haul in 52 receptions for 473 yards.
Nipping at his heels was Kenny Britt, who had less receptions (36) but more yards (681). The fact that the Rams finished last in total offense last season, and their primary receivers barely managed to crack 1,000 yards, isn’t the most motivating platform for a new rookie to build on.
But things could be different this season if Jared Goff can quickly show Jeff Fisher he’s worth starting over quarterbacks with more experience…
Some say a rookie quarterback should temper wide receiver expectations, but for the Rams, I don’t see how Goff could make anything worse. Last season, Foles and Keenum threw a total of 11 touchdown passes.
While the Rams haven’t shown a whole lot on offense outside of Todd Gurley, Cooper still has an uphill battle before carving out a role. Austin is quicker, and Britt is a bigger target.
It’s much more likely that Cooper will beat out Bradley Marquez as the WR3 and likely be featured on special teams as a punt returner. That means his Fantasy upside is limited in an already questionable offense.
Pharoh Cooper: 2016 Fantasy Football Outlook
For me, while I really like the potential Cooper possesses, it’s his versatility that is going to be both his biggest strength and weakness.
Cooper can do it all: he can catch, he can run, he can pass, he can return punts, and he can be successful at everything the coaching staff asks him to do. However, it’s going to take time for that talent to be developed. And it will take time to see if that athleticism translates into consistent Fantasy points.
It is encouraging that the Rams seem to be open minded when it comes to their offensive development, but this season is likely to be a learning season in Los Angeles.
My advice is don’t draft Cooper this season in regular leagues, and don’t be lured in when he has a monster game (which he likely will because he is an impressive athlete and a strong competitor).
He’s just going to be a boom-or-bust player for now, and predicting his next breakout game is simply a roll of the dice. While he was an extremely safe draft pick for Los Angeles, there are plenty of other rookies I’d rather take a risk on.
In dynasty leagues, however, he is worth a stash. Once Cooper finds his niche (likely in his second year), I think he’ll have a lot to offer for his Fantasy owners.