The Dynasty Trading Post: Brandin Cooks

Eric Burtzlaff


If you are a long time reader of The Dynasty Trading Post, I have good and bad news for you. The good news is the article will be bi-weekly and focused on one player’s value leading into a weekly article as we get closer to the season kicking off.

The bad news is I won a quick draw (I drew Santa) contest against Ryan McDowell and he’s agreed to let me take over the Trading Post article from this point. With a twitter handle completed devoted to #dynastytrades, I hope to provide you with some serious up to the moment valuations within the dynasty trade market.

Side Note: In this article I’m going to be using players’ startup values and draft slots as a reference for value and to place trades values on each piece. Startup value does not always (and often doesn’t) represent true dynasty trade value. For example, if you were to draft Brandon Marshall before Jarvis Landry, don’t be surprised when the Landry owner won’t swap with you straight up. Dynasty Trade value is different than startup value, but it’s a good place to have a discussion and something we can all bookmark and reference the list anytime we want.

So grab your wampum and kick a couple tumbleweeds, it’s a new dynasty trading post era! I’ll be focusing this article on a huge off-season dynasty value riser – Brandin Cooks of the New Orleans Saints.

[am4show have=’g1;’ guest_error=’sub_message’ user_error=’sub_message’ ]

Before I get into the specific trades, let’s chat about what changed this off-season for Cooks if you’ve been living under a rock. His value found a significant boost with the trades of both Jimmy Graham to Seattle and Kenny Stills to Miami – this leaves Marques Colston (a Koopa shell of his previous self), CJ Spiller, Josh Hill (the greatest tight end to ever play according to Sean Payton), and if the Saints’ receiving options were The Avengers, here’s Hawkeye, Black Widow and two other equally as useless avengers that no one actually likes – Nick Toon (think Rugrats and Rocko’s Modern Life), Jalen Saunders, Seantavius Jones and Joe Morgan. I bet you didn’t think I could work a Nick Toons, Super Mario Brothers and Avengers reference into the same run-on sentence, did you? That. Just. Happened.

Brandin Cooks is a receiver who blew even the Saints’ expectations for him out of the water during camp, last year. He was relatively cheap mid-late season this year due to a thumb injury which put him on the IR in Week 11 – those days are long gone. His ADP is currently #19 overall as the WR15. Let’s begin:

This trade immediately places Cooks-o-mania for me, considering the absurdity that has been Mike Evans’ dynasty value this off-season. I’ve seen him go for as much as five first round picks and much more commonly for the equivalent of 3.5 firsts. In this trade, I prefer Evans over the Cooks side, but it’s getting much closer these days. This is buying Cooks above his current ADP and too high for my liking.

This is a trade between to young studs and seems like selling Cooks low in the current market for Keenan Allen. That being said, Keenan is a buy-low for me. I’ve seen him going for as low as the 1.10 straight up. After his sophomore slump, there’s a lot of upside left in that valuation. I take the Allen side of this trade. The difference between Allen and Cooks isn’t as big as the current #dyanstytrades indicate for me.

This trade is another collision of a riser in Cooks and a faller in Graham. Graham has always been a bit too touchdown dependent for me to buy at his typical price. Before I get yelled at for that one, I’m not saying he’s not clearly the TE2. I’ve just never seen him as a first round startup pick. Jimmy’s value seems to actually be falling to a location where he could end up on one of my teams now. So let’s break down this trade: Jimmy is roughly equal to Cooks and Reed is worth less than the 2.05 in my eyes. I will side with the Jimmy side of the trade here.

With Mason for Brees + Ball being a reasonable win for the Mason side, this leaves Cooks value a bit lower than Calvin’s ADP of #11 overall. I think this trade is pretty even but I’d be the majority of the community will side with the Mason + Cooks side, easily. Calvin is a commodity that the dynasty community’s short memory is rearing its ugly head on. I’m still a buyer of a 30 year old Calvin Johnson especially at his discounted price tag.

Per the last trades, this is giving away Cooks. Cooks value is really starting to look like something comparable to the 1.01 + some gravy. Every league is different, but I really hope the Cooks owner shopped him around the league for the 1.01.

This trade touches on another big riser this off-season in Jordan Matthews. I could write an entire one of these trading post articles on him and probably will in the future. Matthews is listed in the April ADP as Overall #22 and is actually trading much closer to Cooks’ value. This trade, again, leaves value on the table for me. Based of their values and other trades I’ve witnessed, I’d expect the 1.01 for Cooks and the 1.02 for Matthews (maybe another 1.01). This one is pretty close, though.

The bottom line is this…

The market out there is lunacy right now. Brandin Cooks is currently trading as a commodity in the ballpark of the 1.01 according to startup equivalency and it’s the time of year that makes the 1.01 highly over-valued. Is there a chance that Cooks could climb into a top 15 startup pick? Sure. Is he likely to stay there? Heck no. Cooks’ absolute ceiling for me is Cobb-like production and I think that’s highly unlikely – Cobb was #13 in startups in April. Cooks’ startup value is getting dangerously close to that #13 spot in start-ups. It’s not going to happen unless he has the craziest pre-season ever, but the point I’m making is that he’s already very close to his ideal ceiling. It’s fun to sit here and think that Drew Brees is going to target Cooks 20 times a game. Stop dreaming and sell that fantasy while you shop him.

Your job as trader in dynasty is to buy assets as they are low and sell them as they are high. The value here isn’t going to get much higher. The Saints are an aging team which is moving to a more run heavy offense this season – it’s time to cash in those chips.