The entire 2018 Dallas Cowboys offense can be broken down into two sections: Before Amari Cooper and After Amari Cooper. The former Raider's impact was that massive. But while many in the fantasy community have finally come around to idea of Cooper as an elite fantasy asset, not as many realize how much he's bolstered the rest of the Dallas offense. So let's get everyone up to speed on what happened last year.
After a few weeks of watching Dak Prescott play without a true No. 1 wide receiver, it was evident he simply isn't a good enough quarterback to operate that way. Dak obviously missed the likes of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. His splits with and without Amari bear that out:
Dak's full season pace without Amari: 3,239 passing yards, 18 passing TDs, 539 rushing yards, 4.5 rushing TDs.
Dak's full season pace with Amari: 4,384 passing yards, 25 passing TDs, 123 rushing yards, 7 rushing TDs.
The only thing Amari hurt was Dak's overall rushing production, but even that was balanced out by his increased red zone rushing attempts. (Prescott had just 4 before Amari, but a whopping 14 after Amari.)
Even if you buy into the very reasonable assertion that Zeke is bound to have a down year after amassing so many carries last year, you have to acknowledge that Amari Cooper raised Zeke's stock.
Zeke's full season pace without Amari: 1,414 rushing yards, 7 rushing TDs, 82 targets, 58 receptions, and 400 receiving yards.
Zeke's full season pace with Amari: 1,630 rushing yards, 6 rushing TDs, 118 targets, 104 receptions, and 784 receiving yards.
Not only did Zeke's target share actually increase with Amari's arrival, but the quality of those targets drastically improved, as well.
Dallas pretty much did a clean swap by axing Cole Beasley and bringing in Randall Cobb. And while Cobb may be considered the better player by some, that perceived talent upgrade alone won't be enough for him to absorb a ton of extra targets. That's just not how Dallas operates. But hopefully he'll be able to do more with those targets than Beasley did.
Cole's full season pace without Amari: 98 targets, 75 receptions, 800 receiving yards, 5 TDs
Cole's full season pace with Amari: 78 targets, 58 receptions, 576 receiving yards, 2 TDs
This is where things get dicey. The numbers Beasley was putting up the first half of the year made him a mighty serviceable flex option. In fact, that pace would have notched him the overall WR27 at season's end.
His numbers with Amari, however, would have dropped him all the way down to WR57, amongst the likes of Kenny Stills and Devin Funchess. That's a major warning sign for the incoming Cobb, but again, hopefully his talent can turn those limited targets into fantasy relevance.
We can't talk about all of Cooper's teammates without analyzing the man himself. It was pretty obvious to anyone watching the games -- or checking the stat sheets afterward -- that Amari looked completely rejuvenated in Dallas.
Full season pace in Oakland: 83 targets, 59 receptions, 752 receiving yards, 3 TDs
Full season pace in Dallas: 134 targets, 94 receptions, 1,296 receiving yards, 9 TDs
His utilization jumped up in a significant way, and every major statistical category saw at least a 38 percent increase. Sure, Amari still had a few "disappearing acts" in Dallas, but nothing like the way he ninja vanished in Oakland. Cooper never saw fewer than 5 targets or 3 receptions once he landed with the Cowboys, a far cry from the 2-1-10-0 stat line he put up over his last two games with the Raiders.
The Tight End Situation
There wasn't enough personnel consistency at the position in Dallas last year to say for sure whether Amari had a noticeable impact there.
But for those worried that Jason Witten's return will throw a big monkey wrench into the stats listed above, it should be noted that Blake Jarwin, Geoff Swaim, and Dalton Schultz basically just divvied up Witten's target share from 2017. Dallas doesn't typically use multiple TE sets, so don't expect a gaggle of tight ends to suddenly take over the offense in 2019.
All of this proves that Amari was the missing piece to a high-powered offense, and was the weapon Dak Prescott so desperately needed. Instead of trying to scatter the ball to Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, and the other misfit toys -- and force Cole Beasley into a role he's not necessarily suited for -- he was able to hone in on his primary targets. That's good for fantasy owners. That's very, very good.