The Risks Associated With Starting Brandin Cooks

With the 2015 NFL season just behind us, it’s never too late to have our eye on drafting our next fantasy football squads. Whether or not your team hoisted your league’s title like Peyton Manning, or you were on the bottom rung of your league like the Browns, there are some roster moves that will improve your odds of taking it home in the 2016 season. Of all of the players in the upcoming season, there may not be any more interesting than Brandin Cooks.

Flashy and Effective

While he may not be number 1 target at wide out for many teams, he’s a solid one for a number of reasons. For one thing, his quarterback is one of the best in the game. A Drew Brees passing attack is one that is only matched by few. This is no more evidenced by Brandin’s numbers in the past year — one in which the Oregon State University standout put up significant numbers — including 12 touchdowns with almost 1700 yards.

Any wide receiver would love the year that Cooks had last year, although a lot of his production could be attributed to the fact that the Saints dealt Jimmy Graham to the Seahawks. As we all know, Jimmy Graham has been the top target for Drew Brees for a number of years, and with the emergence of Cooks, we don’t see that changing any time soon. But, with his numbers, we don’t think that it should.

An Uphill Battle Still

For as talented as Brandin is, he will definitely face all sorts of stiff competition in the coming season. Both home and away slates are going to be match-up nightmares for any quarterbacks, even one as talented as a former Superbowl MVP in Drew Brees, albeit a Drew Brees nearing the twilight of his career. Age aside, the Saints will have to deal with the likes of teams with top-flight defenses at the Superdome — including the two conference champions.

These things generally do not bode well for a receiver in their third year, especially considering that all three of these teams are bolstered by names such as Josh Norman, Tyrann Mathieu, and Aqib Talib. Of course, this isn’t taking into the account that these teams are known to put a great amount of pressure on the quarterback, including a team who brought down Cam Newton a staggering 7 times in their decimation of the Panthers in the Superbowl. When you take these things into account, the Saints may have better March Madness NCAA odds than actually getting the ball to Brandin Cooks in a few of these games.

Lastly, it’s hard to ignore that Drew Brees’ declining effectiveness. In the past five seasons, Brees’ numbers have been going down incrementally in almost every major statistical margin. While he has still been spectacular in some stretches, he has been making some uncharacteristic mistakes. To be fair, a lot of this can’t be laid at his feet, as his offensive line hasn’t been as good as in years past, and as earlier mentioned, he has lost his safety valve with Jimmy Graham. When you factor these things in with his age, the picture starts to come into shape.

Make no mistake about it, Brandin Cooks is easily one of the more exciting receivers in the game and will generally be a solid option for a start in many weeks. However, it’s hard to ignore the several red flags for those who decide to do so considering the team’s schedule, the increased attention that he will draw from the defenders, as well as one of the toughest schedules that the Saints have faced in the past few years. Rather Drew Brees will continue his decline will remain to be seen, it’s tough to go all in on Brandin Cooks.