Although many thought they were crazy at the time, the Dallas Cowboys felt and continue to feel pretty good about the trade they made for former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper in October of 2018. Moving a first-round pick for the receiver felt like a lot at the time, but Cooper has been sensational since joining the Cowboys and has more than lived up to his cost of acquisition.
The former Alabama Crimson Tide standout has played 25 games in Dallas, racking up 132 catches, 1,914 receiving yards, and 14 touchdowns. He predictably led all Cowboys in targets (119), receptions (79), receiving yards (1,189), and receiving touchdowns (8) in 2019 despite being hobbled, at times, in the back half of the season.
It appears Dak Prescott will be under center for the Cowboys with or without a new long-term deal. The addition of first-round pick CeeDee Lamb to the wide receiver room only adds to Dallas’ already talented offense. What does that all mean for Cooper’s production? What will he do in his second full season in Dallas?
Bovada has the following prop bets for Cooper’s statistical output in 2020:
Receptions: 74.5 (over -115; under -115)
Receiving Yards: 1100.5 (over +110; under -145)
Receiving TDs: 7.5 (over -115; under -115)
That looks very similar to his 2019 stat line and that’s for good reason. Let’s dive into the numbers to see if there’s any money to be made.
Prescott has targeted Cooper on about 20% of his passes since the receiver came onboard. While I don’t expect Prescott to throw quite as much as he did last season, he should still be up around 570 attempts in 2020. Despite the addition of Lamb, I don’t foresee Cooper’s target share dipping much—especially with Randall Cobb gone. Gallup got plenty of work last season and that didn’t hinder Cooper either. So a fair estimate for a 16-game season is around 115 targets, a slight decrease from last season’s 119.
In his 25 games with Prescott, Cooper’s catch percentage is 67.7%. Over 115 targets, that works out to 77.85 receptions. The only reason not to take over 74.5 receptions (-115) is if you believe Lamb and Gallup will combine for more than 200 targets this season.
Let’s move on to receiving yards and go back to that 115-target projection. Cooper’s yards per target with Prescott is sitting at 9.815. Over 115 targets, that equals 1,128.8 receiving yards. This once again puts us above the posted total, but just barely. However, the plus-odds are attractive here as one can win $110 on a $100 bet as opposed to winning $87 on the same $100 wager on receptions. Take the over on 1,100.5 receiving yards (+110).
Finally, we get to touchdowns. Scores are not as easy to predict and tend to vary more than receptions and yards. However, Cooper caught eight touchdowns last season and I expect him to repeat that number this year. Why? He’s averaging a score every 13.93 targets in Dallas. That works out to about 8.26 touchdowns over 115 targets. However, I like to have more than 1.5 touchdowns of leeway in my projections one way or another to bet on a scoring prop. Sit this one out.
I expect another strong season from Cooper in 2020. The Cowboys offense is good enough and has enough volume to feed multiple receivers, just like it did in 2019. I lean toward the over for all three prop bets, but only recommend wagering on the first two.