This article is part of our ADP Analysis series.
Most experienced fantasy managers go into drafts with some type of cheat sheet, but let's face it, even with your order of players listed in advance, we all question similarly ranked players when we're on the clock. The goal of this series is to lay out the upside and downside of players who have similar ADPs. We'll compare players at the same position because that's what fantasy managers typically do when they're targeting a specific pick.
Fantasy GMs looking for a strong WR after the consensus top 12 are off the board may feel the need to get the next-best players, so in this ADP battle, we'll look at Amari Cooper, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, who typically go between picks 31 and 36 in drafts.
Upside: With defenses unable to sell out to cover Amari Cooper because of the presence of CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, Cooper could become a fantasy force with the ability to surpass 1,200 yards for the first time in his career. Even before Dak Prescott was injured in Week 5 last year, Cooper was averaging nine receptions, 100 yards and 13 targets, and he was still excellent when Andy Dalton took over, as Cooper had five games with at least 79 yards in his last 11 games. At 27, he's still in his prime, and he's in one of the most explosive and pass-heavy offenses in the league. This amazing route runner and talented player could be a top-eight receiver.
Downside: If the Cowboys somehow make an unexpected and drastic improvement on defense, they may not have to throw the ball as often as fantasy managers may like, and as a result, the team could lean heavily on Ezekiel Elliott and the rushing attack, which could keep Cooper's targets lower than anticipated. In addition, if CeeDee Lamb becomes the elite superstar, he could command a ridiculous target share that could also chip away at Cooper's potential target ceiling, resulting in him being a top-20 receiver.
Upside: Although Robert Woods has had consistently strong numbers the last three years — he's caught 86-90 passes on 129-139 targets — the addition of Matthew Stafford could result in an increase of those numbers if the Rams go back to the three-receiver sets they featured earlier in Sean McVay's tenure with the team. Also, while McVay wasn't able to stretch defenses with Jared Goff the last two years Woods saw his yards per reception dip to 12.6 and 10.4 after being at the 14-yard level the two years prior, and the depth of target could spike to the highest of his career. And even though he hasn't scored more than six times in any season, this could be a high-scoring offense that elevates that number.
Downside: The only concern is that Stafford is unable to elevate the offense to a higher level of production. Over the years, Stafford has been great at throwing deep, and Woods might not profile as the type of receiver who has thrived with the QB in the past (think Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones). If there is a stylistic mismatch between the duo, Woods would have a stable floor but could lack the type of ceiling that has him being selected as a top-15 receiver.
Upside: With a season on his resume (2019) that ended at 94 receptions, 1,161 yards and 10 touchdowns (he was also on pace for similar numbers in 2018 when he missed eight games due to injury) we've seen massive upside from Kupp, and projecting him to finish as a top-10 receiver isn't a stretch. Running many of his routes from the slot typically allows him a free release from the line, and Sean McVay has been masterful at designing routes that often provide plenty of space for Kupp to find easy yardage after the catch. Also, his efficiency could be on the rise with Matthew Stafford at quarterback, especially due to the fact that throws will often be on target and with the velocity to beat defenders in coverage. With the offense likely opened up along with the improvement at QB, Kupp has exceptional upside.
Downside: Just like with teammate Robert Woods, if Stafford ultimately is a great downfield passer who has some level of struggle in the underneath game, that would lead to Kupp being less efficient than he was with Jared Goff, who was at his best when operating with the underneath routes in which Kupp specialized. Should Stafford struggle in the short-to-intermediate area of the field, Kupp would be closer to a top-20 receiver.
Not only is Cooper the most talented player in this trio, he's likely to be a part of one of the pass-heaviest teams in the league. He also has teammates at receiver who will keep a lot of attention from being focused on him, so he could easily have a career year, making him the player with the best combo of floor and ceiling.
With an excellent target share in each of the last three years, Woods offers a fantastic floor, but his lack of usage in the red zone in his career, if that continues, could keep him from having a massive ceiling. There's also a small degree of uncertainty when adding in a new QB.
Based on the offensive scheme and past production, Kupp has an exceptional ceiling, but that's dependent upon Stafford being able to develop a fast connection with his slot receiver. If Stafford gravitates toward the outside receivers, Kupp could have a lower floor than expected, but his upside makes him worth the risk.