In 2015, Amari Cooper posted a 72-1,070-6 stat line. Not bad for a rookie, but those totals were expected from a first-round draft pick.
What actually surprised most Fantasy players was the emergence of Michael Crabtree. I told players last season to target him, and it worked out if you did. According to FantasyFootballCalculator.com, Crabtree was being drafted in Round 13. He finished the season as the 16th-highest scoring receiver.
Not a bad return on investment.
Can Cooper and Crabtree expand upon their production from last year? Should you draft Amari Cooper or Michael Crabtree in your 2016 Fantasy Football leagues?
Let’s take a look.
2016 Fantasy Football Outlook: Amari Cooper
Heading into 2015, Derek Carr was a young quarterback who was still unproven and Cooper was a rookie receiver. But, that didn’t stop Fantasy players from drafting him in Round 4.
Jeremy Maclin was the better player to draft in Round 4, but Cooper still out performed Andre Johnson and Golden Tate in Fantasy production.
Andre Johnson (ADP 4.03): 58th-most Fantasy points (PPR leagues)
Jeremy Maclin (ADP 4.06): 15th-most Fantasy points (PPR leagues)
Amari Cooper (ADP 4. 07): 21st-most Fantasy points (PPR leagues)
Golden Tate (ADP 4.09): 24th-most Fantasy points (PPR leagues)
But this production could have been even better if Cooper was fully healthy…
You see, Cooper played most of the 2015 season with plantar fasciitis. So if he was able to finish 2015 with a 72-1,070-6 stat line, imagine what he could do if he was fully healthy for the 2016 Fantasy Football season.
Luckily for Cooper, this will be Carr’s third year as a starting quarterback. He will have a quarterback who is now more confident and growing in the Raiders’ system.
Last season, Carr was able to improve on his rookie year as far as completion percentage, passing yards, and touchdowns.
|Season||Passing Yards||Completion %||Touchdowns||INTs|
What I really liked about Carr’s 2015 performance was his improvement in accuracy. He attempted 26 fewer passes from 2014 to 2015, but he still increased his passing yards by 717.
The only cause of concern I see with drafting Cooper is his red-zone production. Last year, Cooper was third in red-zone targets for the Oakland Raiders. And for 2016, both of the players who finished with more red-zone targets are still on the team.
I was really surprised to see Roberts finish with so many red-zone targets. The good news, though, is in terms of height, Roberts or Crabtree don’t have an advantage over Cooper.
But his upside and relative safe floor makes him worth his price tag in Round 2.
2016 Fantasy Football Outlook: Michael Crabtree
From Weeks 7-9 last season, Crabtree was the third-highest scoring receiver in PPR leagues.
Carr targeted Crabtree the most last season, and the 28-year old receiver caught at least four passes in every game from Weeks 1-16. And as I showed above, Crabtree was the most-targeted player for the Raiders in the red zone.
In terms of Fantasy production for 2016, I’m not targeting Crabtree on any of my season long leagues. If Cooper is healthy to start the season and the Raiders utilize tight end Clive Walford more, Crabtree will see a regression in targets.
That means his Fantasy upside is limited if you need to rely on him consistently.
Where I would target him, though, is MFL10s. I don’t want to try and guess when he will have a good game, but we saw last year how Crabtree can be a high-scoring receiver.
Editor’s Note: Need to know who else to target? Check out our 2016 Fantasy Football class, right here.