We probably say this every year, but it feels as though the barrage of injuries that inevitably hits has occurred far sooner than normal. It’s only Week 2, and we have a bunch of every-week fantasy starters either out or at risk of not playing.
Now among those injured players is, apparently, Cleveland Browns WR Amari Cooper. The Browns listed Cooper as questionable for Monday night’s divisional showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers due to a groin injury. Should fantasy football managers worry that Cooper may not play on Monday Night Football?
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Latest News Surrounding Amari Cooper
The always reliable Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot reported that Cooper is questionable for Monday night’s game with a groin injury.
This is very bad. Not all questionable tags are created equal. Not all appearances on the injury report are created equal.
Cooper was not listed on the injury report Thursday or Friday. Technically, his name appeared, but it was due to veteran rest with no injury listed. We now know Cooper picked up the injury at Saturday’s practice, the final session before the game.
#Browns Amari Cooper aggravated his groin injury on Saturday and is questionable for the #Steelers game; Juan Thornhill is questionable too. Kevin Stefanski can’t say if he’s optimistic Cooper will play. https://t.co/i1eoZHHafy
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) September 16, 2023
The timing really couldn’t be worse. This is the same timing as Travis Kelce’s injury as the Chiefs’ final Tuesday practice before Thursday night’s Week 1 opener.
The injuries are obviously not the same, but getting hurt two days before kickoff does not bode well for Cooper’s chances of playing.
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
What Does This Mean for Cooper’s Fantasy Ranking?
Prior to this news, Cooper was the WR16 in our PFN Consensus Rankings. He’s a clear WR2 and a stalwart in fantasy lineups.
Given the uncertainty surrounding his status, fantasy managers will have to proceed with caution. It’s bad enough when a player is questionable on Sunday. It’s worst-case scenario when his status is truly up in the air, and he plays Monday night.
There is the possibility that Cooper will play through the injury. It may only be Week 2, but divisional games are very important. This is not one the Browns want to lose.
With that said, it is only Week 2, and as much as this game matters, it would be far more damaging if Cooper tried to gut it out and made it worse. The Browns will undoubtedly exercise caution here. I have full confidence in their medical team to make the right call on Cooper.
Fantasy managers who have a viable alternative should probably play it safe and go with a Sunday option. That’s not to say you bench Cooper for just anyone, but if you have a guy ranked in the WR24-30 range on your bench, that’s probably the move.
If you do decide to roll the dice on Cooper, make sure you have a backup plan. That could be picking up a receiver playing on any of the four Monday night teams this week. It could be monitoring the waiver wire and being prepared to throw Cooper on injured reserve (IR) if he’s ruled out and picking up a replacement on the fly.
Regardless of what path you choose, do not blindly assume Cooper will play. Have a plan and be ready to pivot based on any new news.
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