2023 NFL Free Agency Frenzy: Brandin Cooks, Elijah Moore On The Move
There were two stud receivers traded this week. Veteran Brandin Cooks was sent from the Houston Texans to the Dallas Cowboys, and the New York Jets sent Elijah Moore to the Cleveland Browns. Let’s take a deeper look at these deals and how they will impact all these teams and your fantasy team.
Brandin Cooks to the Dallas Cowboys
Last week the Cowboys sent a 2023 fifth-round pick and a 2024 sixth-round pick to the Texans in exchange for their top wideout. Cooks has been one of the most underrated wide receivers of the past decade despite being traded four times over the past six years. Everywhere Cooks has been he has produced at a Pro Bowl level regardless of the quarterback or situation. However, things soured in Houston last season as he was unhappy with his circumstance and was dealing with injuries on a terrible team.
Throughout his career Cooks has been the picture of consistency despite the consistent changes in scenery. He has had a season with at least 1,000 yards and five TDs on all four teams that he’s played for. With six 1,000-yard seasons in nine years and 49 career TDs, he has never had less than 1,000 yards and five TDs in any season when he played at least 15 games. The Cowboys got a steal here even with him turning 30 this season.
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Fantasy Impact of Cooks Trade
Dallas acquired Cooks with the intention of sliding him in opposite Ceedee Lamb as their WR2. He will immediately become one of the better WR2s in the NFL. This is good news for Cooks and everyone else on the offense. Dak Prescott is more than likely a significant upgrade from whomever the Texans will be trotting out under center this season and definitely an upgrade over anyone that’s thrown him a pass during his time in Houston. We expect his numbers to spike back up with an improved QB, a clean bill of health, and a rejuvenated outlook.
For the current fantasy options in Dallas, this trade can only help. Dak is the most obvious beneficiary as he gets a new weapon to target. Nevertheless, Cooks will also draw enough attention to open things up for Lamb and the rushing attack. This will be an explosive offense with more than enough volume and production to sustain fantasy viability for at least three weapons. We expect big seasons out of Cooks, Lamb, and Tony Pollard. Dak should also be viewed as a fringe QB1.
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Elijah Moore to the Browns
The Browns managed to acquire Moore and all they had to do was swap back 32 spots on Day 2 of the NFL Draft. Cleveland sent the Jets the 42nd overall pick in exchange for the talented young wideout and the 74th overall pick. The Jets really fumbled this whole situation. They drafted an ultra-talented young wideout who exploded late in his rookie season in 2021, and just let the situation implode to the point that they had to trade him off with limited compensation in return.
In his final six games of his rookie season, Moore went off for 34 receptions, 462 yards, and five TDs. Then last year amid a quarterback disaster they just didn’t or couldn’t use him and put him in the doghouse for being unhappy with his embarrassingly bad performance of his horrific young QB Zach Wilson. Now he walks away to Cleveland in a trade that the Jets will almost surely regret.
Fantasy Impact of Moore Trade
This trade is less cut and dry than the Cooks deal. I can make a case that Moore will be the WR1 in Cleveland by the end of this season, however, many will also make the case that he will be the WR3 behind Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones. In fairness, there is a chance he does end up the WR3 and at best he will start the year as the WR2. Still, this is a huge upgrade for Moore going from a completely inept passing attack in New York to DeShaun Watson in Cleveland who should be much better this year without so much looming over him. He also shouldn’t be nearly as rusty as he was when he returned late last season after almost two years off. We wouldn’t be shocked if Moore is a breakout candidate.
For the rest of the pass-catchers in Cleveland, Moore’s arrival isn’t good news. He could absolutely eat into the other wideout’s production. DPJ is the man most likely to see his targets and production take a hit. Even if Moore doesn’t pass him on the depth chart we still expect him to see enough volume that at worst he serves as an important WR3. With that said, it’s not far-fetched to believe that Moore will far surpass those expectations and will be the Browns’ long-term WR1 of the future.
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