Cleat Geeks

#ManCrush Monday Series: Cooper Kupp

This is the fourth in a series of articles that will all include the hashtag #ManCrush in which I will highlight specific players that I have fallen in love with in terms of fantasy football and why I am excited about their 2018 season and beyond. Some aspects of subsequent articles may stem from previous articles, so I encourage you to read them all. I also encourage you to check out each of the links for a more in depth look at what makes these players so special.

In my first rookie draft going into the second season of my dynasty league, I had the 10th pick and was in an interesting position to try to improve on a team that had just won a championship, lost only one game, and outscored the next highest person by a full week’s worth of points. My immediate need was running back depth, and I missed out on a chance to grab Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon or Kareem Hunt, as they all went in the top 8. I chose Samaje Perine, who has yet to claim any significant role with Washington. If he pans out at all in the next year or two, I may write a #ManCrush article on him. If not, he’ll be a bust for me. I had a chance to take Alvin Kamara, and hindsight is 20/20, but at the time the Saints had recently acquired Adrian Peterson and still had Mark Ingram, and it was uncertain how much Kamara would be involved. He actually fell all the way to pick #38.

In the second round, I grabbed Patrick Mahomes as the first QB off the board because I didn’t want to miss out on him.

Coming into the third round, my pick had moved up because two members or our league had elected to keep more players rather than having rookie draft picks. Since I had gotten a running back and a quarterback, my next look was to wide receiver. By this 28th overall spot, Corey Davis, Mike Williams, John Ross, and Zay Jones had already been taken. Which brings us to the man this article is really about: Cooper Kupp.

Kupp was a unique prospect out of Eastern Washington, an FCS program who plays in the Big Sky Conference. Much like last week’s #ManCrush Adam Thielen, Kupp was unrecruited by any FBS teams, and wound up choosing EWU. The FBS missed out. Kupp was incredibly productive in college, averaging 107 receptions, 1,616 yards, and 18 touchdowns over four seasons, including an average line of 8-124-1 on a per-game basis. Kupp is the most prolific pass-catcher in FCS history, setting all-time records in total receptions (428), receiving yards (6,464), and receiving touchdowns (73). Now you may be thinking what many people think: his production came against a lower level of competition. You’re right, but you’re also wrong. Over his four years at EWU, Kupp had a chance to play against a Pac-12 opponent to start each season, and he produced just the same. Have a look:

Season Opp Rec Yards TD
2013 Oregon St. 5 119 2
2014 Washington 8 145 3
2015 Oregon 15 246 3
2016 Washington St. 12 206 3

 

The most important thing to take from this table is the the 2014 Washington secondary featured eventual 1st and 2nd round NFL picks in CB Marcus Peters, CB Sidney Jones, CB Kevin King, and S Budda Baker. As you can see, the “level level of competition” argument is not very strong.

Because of his production and rising fame, Kupp earned an invite to both the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine, performing well at both. Kupp does not possess top-end speed, but he is an advanced route-runner with the agility to get in and out of breaks, great hands and ball-tracking ability, decent size, incredible football IQ, and a competitive drive on every snap. He is also willing to block, which is becoming more and more important in today’s NFL. He has an ability to play both outside or in the slot, and at 6’2″, 205lbs., he is similar to Adam Thielen. Kupp was drafted in the third round by the Los Angeles Rams, which paired him with the offensive mind of new head coach Sean McVay. Despite all the playmakers on the Rams roster, Kupp quickly became one of QB Jared Goff’s favorite targets, particularly on third down. Kupp had 18 first down catches on third down. Are you starting to sense the Thielen-Kupp trend? All in all, Kupp led the Rams in receiving, and among rookie wide receivers in 2017, Kupp ranked 1st in catches (62), tied for 1st in catches of 20+ yards (12), 2nd in receiving yards (869) behind only JuJu Smith-Schuster, 1st in total first downs (42), and tied for 4th in touchdowns (5). Looking like a solid third round pick for both the Rams and myself.

Coming into 2018, there is nothing but optimism for Kupp and the Rams. After leading the NFL in scoring in 2017, there’s no reason why they couldn’t do it again. Goff will continue to grow in his third year as he continues to learn from McVay. 2017 MVP runner-up Todd Gurley will continue to be a three-down threat with a solid offensive line in front of him. The young duo of tights ends in Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett have the potential to become what Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis were for the Redskins with McVay calling the plays there. Moving specifically to Kupp, the departure of Sammy Watkins leaves production to be claimed, particularly in the touchdown department. While Robert Woods had his best statistical season last year with the Rams, he has still never surpassed the 1,000 yard mark in his five year career. The Rams acquired Brandin Cooks from the Patriots in an unexpected move and he will help fill Watkins’ role, but Kupp will get his share along with what he had last season. Cooks ability to stretch the defense will open things up underneath for Kupp. As we see across the league, solid chemistry and trust between a quarterback and a receiver cannot be overlooked. After falling just short of 100 targets in 2017, I expect Kupp to surpass that this year and give the Rams at least 75-1,050-6 in 2018, especially if he can cut down on the drops that hurt him in 2017.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to go back and read my first three articles on David JohnsonPatrick Mahomes, and Adam Thielen if you haven’t already! Stayed tuned for my next #ManCrush article! Check out all my work and follow me on Twitter @brad_petrowitz.

Leave a Reply

GET YOUR  ON!

If you like this site or just simply want to school your friends because you got the information first.  

Join us on the field! Click on any of the links below.

%d bloggers like this: