The Risks Behind Starting Brandin Cooks

Should Brandin Cooks be considered the number one option for quarterback?


New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks is one of the biggest boom or bust players you can have on your fantasy football roster. While the wideout has massive big play potential, there are a few things to be wary of before inserting him into your fantasy lineup.


Through week 13 of the 2015 NFL season, Cooks has 840 yards and seven touchdowns. His potential to rattle off a huge play is undeniable. However, the frequency of these big plays has been driving fantasy owners mad all season. Through the first four weeks of the season, Cooks only averaged 54 yards receiving per game. While he also averaged five catches a game during that span (helpful in PPR leagues), his production was hardly stellar. 

Week 5 was a different story. Cooks rolled to 107 yards receiving and a touchdown against a suspect Philadelphia Eagles secondary. He followed up this game with two more disappointing outings against the Atlanta Falcons (4 catches, 41 yards) and Indianapolis Colts (6 catches,81 yards). Since that span, Cooks has found the end zone six times in his last five games, despite failing to eclipse the 100 yard mark in all but one of those contests. 

Receiver By Committee

While Cooks is considered the 'number one' option for quarterback, Drew Brees only has seven more receptions (61) than tight end Benjamin Watson (54). Until a recent slew of season ending injuries to both players  Cooks also had receptions vultured from the likes of fellow wide receiver Willie Snead (45) and running back Mark Ingram (50). With Snead and Ingram sidelined for the remainder of the season, however, Cooks could be in line for a sizable bump in looks from the Pro Bowl quarterback. This fact is further emphasized by the loss of Ingram, who was also a key part of the Saints running attack. 

Drew Brees

While Brees likes to spread the ball around, the fact remains that he is still Drew Brees. The star quarterback has thrown for 3,482 yards and 23 touchdowns, eclipsing the 300 yard passing mark six times this season. This is despite missing a game due to a shoulder injury. Drew's talent is undeniable, as he showed in a 505 yard, seven touchdown performance against the New York Giants in week 8. Two of those touchdown passes were thrown to none other than Brandin Cooks. Despite his inconsistent yardage totals, being on the receiving end of Drew Brees' All Pro arm gives Cooks a chance for a monster game week in and week out. 

Untapped Potential

The Saints first round draft pick (20th overall) has yet to fully prove his worth to a young wide receiving corp. His NFL odds predictions are still up in the air. After a promising start to his 2014 rookie season, Cooks suffered a broken thumb in week 11, effectively ending his season. After posting 550 yards passing along with three touchdowns, Cooks would have to wait until next year to show what he was fully capable of. While the wide out has remained healthy so far this season, the same inconsistency of last year has once again reared its ugly head. After burning defenses for 1,730 yards and sixteen touchdowns his junior year, it remains to be seen if the second year star out of Oregon State can match his impressive college production in the NFL. 

Brandin Cooks can guide your fantasy team to the top of the virtual gridiron mountain top, but he can also send your team free falling into oblivion. Whether or not you can trust this untapped talent comes down to a number of different factors. Whether or not he possesses the potential is undeniable, no matter how frustrating he may be.


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