Oakland Raiders

Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper worth grabbing on fantasy draft day

Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper runs into the end zone on a 26-yard touchdown reception against the Green Bay Packers last December in Oakland.
Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper runs into the end zone on a 26-yard touchdown reception against the Green Bay Packers last December in Oakland. The Associated Press

Seven NFL pass catchers reached the 100-reception mark in 2015.

Second-year Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper is a strong candidate to reach the century mark this season as Oakland looks to reassert itself among the league’s elite and end a 13-year run of non-winning seasons.

Fantasy owners, feel free to grab a pen and notepad.

Cooper, the fourth overall pick out of Alabama in the 2015 NFL draft, enjoyed a solid rookie season, hauling in 72 receptions for 1,070 yards and six touchdowns for an Oakland team that showed considerable promise during a 7-9 campaign. Cooper’s performance earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl in January.

The speedy Cooper, who topped the 100-mark five times, became the first rookie in franchise history to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark and the first Raider to accomplish the feat since Randy Moss in 2005. If not for a late-season foot injury, his numbers would have been even more impressive.

Raiders Hall of Fame wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff is a fan.

“I’ve played and coached enough in my day. I love watching the kid play,” Biletnikoff said in an interview with CSN Bay Area last month. “He’s very disciplined running routes and making smart decisions. I’m sure that was instilled in him at Alabama. When you’re in that type of atmosphere, you’re already a step up on everybody else your age. Once he gets fully adjusted to the NFL, he’s only going to get better. Amari’s going to be a great receiver and, I love that he has (Raiders wide receiver) Michael Crabtree to help him along the way. They play well together.”

Healthy and even more in tune with quarterback/training camp roommate Derek Carr, Cooper is primed for a monster sophomore season, given not only his physical tools, but the talent surrounding him in Oakland’s potentially high-powered attack. As Carr’s go-to receiver, there’s every reason to believe Cooper can, and will, make the jump to elite receiver status, making 100 catches, 1,500 yards and 10 to 15 TDs distinct possibilities.

Something fantasy owners who miss out on Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr. and Julio Jones should keep in mind, especially if you’re competing in Points Per Reception leagues where pass catchers reign supreme.

Compiled by Stu Rosenberg

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