Dynasty Decision: Amari Cooper

Richard Cooling

We all know the pain of holding onto that stud player too long as their production evaporates and your once highly-priced asset becomes worthless. There are also plenty of cases of players being sold expecting that decline only to continue defying the odds. This series will examine what you should do as players approach these decision points.

Amari Cooper, WR CLE

Since entering the league, Cooper has been incredibly consistent, finishing as a top-30 wide receiver in eight of his nine seasons. However, we are heading into an off-season where he will cross the age barrier of 30, and questions will arise around the potential for decline. Is now the opportunity to sell, or are you already too late?

Previous Performance

As the fourth overall pick out of Alabama, Cooper had some lofty expectations to hit the ground running. He had an impressive rookie season, seeing 130 targets, putting up over 1,000 yards, and finishing as the WR22 overall. He followed that up with an even better 2016 season, finishing as the WR16 overall.

The 2017 season was somewhat forgettable for the Raiders as they finished 6-10, and their head coach Jack Del Rio was fired. Cooper played only 14 games but also struggled slightly, having the worst season of his career. In 2018, the Raiders brought in new head coach Jon Gruden, who decided to trade away Cooper to the Cowboys part way through the season.

Cooper hit the ground running in Dallas and finished the season as the overall WR6 from week nine to sixteen including two week-winning performances of over 38 points. What followed in Dallas was three remarkably consistent seasons where he finished as the WR10, WR15, and WR27, respectively. At that point, the Cowboys decided to trade him to achieve some cap relief, so they sent him to Cleveland, where Cooper produced another phenomenal season as the WR10 in 2022.

Last season, Cooper had yet another WR2 season, finishing as the WR22 overall. However, he missed the season’s final weeks, which was disappointing for people in their playoff matchups. However, he was the WR12 overall through the first 16 weeks of the season and had helped carry teams to the championship game.

Cooper is a fantastic route runner who just commands volume, having seen over 100 targets every year of his career except for 2017. Because of this volume, he has been remarkably consistent throughout his career, and it’s been fantastic for fantasy.

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Situation and Usage

Heading into the 2024 season, the Browns are at a crossroads. They have committed a colossal amount of money to Deshaun Watson, which has hamstrung them slightly. They’re currently $7.7m over the cap after restructuring several contracts. They could potentially save more money by moving on from Cooper. However, I don’t see that as being hugely likely as the Browns want to compete, and Cooper is a big part of that.

Cooper is the focal point of the Browns passing game. Kevin Stefanski uses him inventively to consistently get him on one matchup that he can destroy with his excellent route running. Last year, Cooper lined up out wide to the left 410 times, to the right 372 times, and out of the slot 168 times. That versatility makes it more difficult for defenses to try and take him away. The Browns will likely continue adding more options to the receiver room, having added Elijah Moore, Cedric Tillman, and David Bell in the last two seasons. However, It is safe to expect Cooper to command north of a 20% target share and likely 130 targets, no matter who is brought into the receiver room.


With Cooper due to play 2024 in the final year of his contract, there are a few different paths the Browns could choose to approach his future. They could let him play out the deal this year and worry about 2025 and beyond next off-season. They could look to move him now to save cap space. Or they could extend him now to free up some cap space and lock him up longer term.

The latter option is the one I think they likely opt for, but that will depend mainly on how much money Cooper is demanding. If he is looking for around $20-25 million per year, I think they will come to an agreement. If Cooper looks north of that, he will likely be too expensive, and the Browns will let him play out the season. For longevity’s sake, having a dynasty asset in the last year of his contract is nervy, but Cooper has shown enough through his career that even with a poor 2024 season, he will find a home for the 2025 season.

ADP and Trade Value

He is the WR32 in January ADP and the 56th overall player. The trade analyzer has him worth the equivalent of the 1.11 in a superflex league. Recent trades are below:


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Amari Cooper is not a player who will likely excite you when you see him on your roster this off-season. However, he is a fantastic asset that will likely give you reliable production throughout the season. If healthy, he will likely return at least WR3 production and could give you WR2 production.

Furthermore, he will likely have a few seasons left as natural route runners like him tend to age well, and he could be fantasy-relevant for at least two to three more seasons. He is the exact type of player who gets undervalued at this point in the off-season, as you can see from some of the recent trades, and his current value is equivalent to a late first or early second.

You’re missing out if you’re a contending team and have not at least asked about Cooper’s availability. If you could acquire him to be your WR4 or WR5, you will be loaded. There are few players in a similar price range with the ceiling and floor level you would see from Cooper.

If you’re rebuilding, you would probably be well-placed to move on from Cooper. However, now isn’t the time to be doing it. If you’re comfortable holding him until August or September, when people will be more focused on scoring points than age, you will likely see a more significant return than trying to sell him right now.

richard cooling