Cleveland Browns WR Amari Cooper is being listed as questionable to play on Monday Night Football vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2. Cooper popped up on the injury report late in the week with a groin issue but it was viewed as a veteran rest day. Now it looks like a more serious ailment and Cooper could miss MNF this week. Let’s go over the potential fantasy football and betting impact.
Amari Cooper "aggravated" his groin in Saturday's practice, per Kevin Stefanski, who had no further update. "We'll see how he does over the next 48 hours." Cooper had core muscle surgery over the offseason. #Browns— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) September 16, 2023
Fantasy football impact: Amari Cooper injury
If Cooper misses the game, the Browns will be without their top wide receiver. Cooper had three catches on seven targets for 37 yards in Week 1’s 24-3 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. In that game, the Browns opted to run the ball 40 times. That was mostly because the Browns were in control of the entire game. The Steelers didn’t look great in Week 1’s loss to the 49ers. We could see more throwing from Cleveland on MNF. If Cooper is out, we could see the same formula — run the ball and play D.
Even if that’s the case, there will be snaps and targets up for grabs if Cooper is out. Elijah Moore and Donovan Peoples-Jones were the top-2 wideouts in Week 1 in terms of snap count and routes, per Pro Football Focus. Cooper was third in snaps at WR but had the second-most targets behind Moore. TE David Njoku also played more than Cooper and had similar usage.
Moore becomes a good play as a fringe WR2/FLEX in PPR if Cooper sits. It’s not a great game environment but Moore should get enough work to get to double-digit points in PPR. DPJ also isn’t a bad FLEX play in PPR. Njoku gets a boost if Cooper is out as well. None of the three have high ceilings. Plus, the game script isn’t good for the passing game. Honestly, expect the Browns to lean on RB Nick Chubb heavily again. He had 18 carries for 106 yards in the opener.
For betting, Moore and DPJ props may be tough to find but if you can get a line on receptions, that makes the most sense. Yards may not be there but you’d think QB Deshaun Watson throws the ball 25-30 times and most of those targets will go to Moore, DPJ, Njoku and Chubb.