By: Tyler Ghee (TylerGheeNFL)
When Cooper Kupp went down with an ACL tear, he was on pace to be the game-winning piece for many fantasy football teams. Although tragic, dynasty players still need to evaluate what Cooper Kupp is moving forward. Was he just a flash in the pan or is there more to be expected?
This series takes a look at individual players and uses data and evidence to support or refute a claim or hypothesis. I, as a writer, will be impartial and present one of two conclusions.
CONFIRMED (Data supports the claim or hypothesis)
BUSTED (Data does NOT support the claim or hypothesis )
This papers claims:
Cooper Kupp is a top 12 Wide Reciever in fantasy football.
In order to discover if this “Myth” is Confirmed or Busted, we must look at the data, both from a player and system standpoint.
Like many of the players that I evaluate in these articles, Cooper Kupp missed quite a few games due to injury. How do we compare him to players that were on the field each and every play? The common statistic I reach for is fantasy points per opportunity. How many fantasy points did this player receive divided by the number of targets or carries they had. This allows for injury and missed games to become a non-factor. Simply put, what did this player do with the opportunity given to him?
My research started with the team. How does Copper Kupp compare to players on his very team? With two other prolific Wide Receivers on his team, how does he measure up? Below are the fantasy points per game for all three Rams Wide Receivers:
Above we can see that Cooper Kupp outperforms his teammates. Not only does he surpass his teammates in this category for 2018, but he outperforms them both with a points per opportunity ratio of 2.25. Thus, Copper Kupp averages 2.25 fantasy points, not every time he touches the ball, but every time he has the chance to get the ball.
In addition to this, he has outperformed each wide-out on his team in both years in which he has played, scoring higher than Brandon Cooks and Robert Woods ever have in their entire career.
Seeing these higher numbers produced by Cooper Kupp, the next step was to compare his opportunity ratio to that of higher ranked wide-outs in the league. In good measure, the two elite Wide Receivers to whom we have chosen to compare Cooper Kupp were DeAndre Hopkins and Devante Adams.
Displayed above, one can see that each wide receiver has begun to ascend in this category. More surprising is the fact that Cooper Kupp still outperforms each one of these players. This provides further evidence that Kupp is among the higher-end wide-outs in the NFL. Thus, in the future, if he is able to maintain these numbers, and if Kupp were to be given 120 opportunities, (his on pace total for in 2018), he could be expected to produce 270 fantasy points. That would yeild a finish as Wide Reciever 10 last year.
The next aspect that we need to consider is the system. In this analysis we need to not determine if the system is going to stay elite. Is Copper Kupp a prime target in such a talented offense or does he get overshadowed by the other great pass catchers on the team? In order to better understand this, one must look at Jared Goff. Below is the compiled list of Jared Goff’s quarterback raking as he throws to each one of his targets.
Jumping off the page, leaps, and bounds over everyone else is Cooper Kupp at a whopping 134. Putting this in reference, Aaron Rodgers quarterback rating when throwing to Devante Adams is 117 and Deshaun Watson to DeAndre Hopkins is at 116. More importantly, Cooper Kupp’s rating is well above Brandon Cooks and Robert Woods. This alludes to the fact that Cooper Kupp brings out the best in Jared Goff. This wide-out is one that his quarterback can trust. Additional support for Cooper Kupp to be the lead dog on a high scoring offense.
Another added factor to Cooper Kupp is the injury he sustained. ACL tears are no joke and often cause the player to go through months and months of rehabilitation.
However, if there is a silver lining in the injury, it is the fact that it happened in mid-November giving Cooper plenty of time to regain his strength and conditioning for the start of the 2019 season.
One other factor is whether or not Copper Kupp come back from this injury and be the same player that all this data shows? Doing some digging, a paper was written last year about this same topic and can be found here.
Summing up this article, it states that since 2013, 34 wide-outs have torn their ACL. Out of those 34 players, 13 players either have made their way out of football or had a decline in production. Those players average age was 27.8. Well above Cooper Kupp’s age. We have recently seen a young star, Keenan Allen, come back from an ACL tear at the age of 24. All of this adds to the idea that this injury should not limit Cooper Kupp’s future production.
Copper Kupp will be a top 12 fantasy option at the Wide Reciever position. The data gathered had strong indications to the effect that Cooper Kupp should be counted among one of the top wide-outs in the NFL. Evidence of the past is all we have to help predict the future.
I will be buying Cooper Kupp. Looking at the numbers it is hard to imagine him not producing in 2019. Copper has been falling in ADP. Going late in the 3rd round of dynasty startups and hovering around the 22nd wide-out taken off the board. Buying low on any player is optimal for any dynasty success and critical for future championships.