Fake Teams likes Chris Cooley

After pantsgate, I am very hesitant of using Chris Cooley and fantasy in the same sentence, for fear of innuendo, but I couldn't help noticing that one of SB Nation's resident Fantasy Sports gurus, Skeller at Fake Teams, thought Chris Cooley was a solid fantasy football TE:

Cooley has played in every game of his three seasons and has started every game the past two.  He was the Redskins' leading receiver last season with 57 catches and 6 touchdowns - that's more catches and the same number of touchdowns as Santana Moss.

Cooley has been consistent his entire career despite playing with consistently changing quarterbacks.  With the (apparent) establishment of Jason Campbell as the starting quarterback, Campbell and Cooley should start to establish a rhythm.  There was already noticeable improvement at the end of last season; Cooley captured 56% of his season yardage in the seven games where Campbell was the starter.

Skeller concludes that Chris Cooley is a second tier tight end, but I'll take this argument further and present him as a first tier guy. Despite starting the '06 season in a disappointing fashion (after three weeks he had just 7 receptions for 38 yards), Cooley finished strong especially after Jason Campbell took over. Eying trends, Cooley's YPC have increased every year, indicating a willingness by the team to use him more in the open field, as well as Chris' improving ability to shake defenders. We'd mentioned earlier in the week that Cooley was also getting comfortable adjusting to speed cuts, introduced by Al Saunders. He doubled the amount of 20+ yard receptions he had from 2005 to 2006 and scooped his first two 40+ yard receptions (66 and 44 yards).

Presuming comparable receptions in 2007 as he had in 2005, which is hardly unthinkable given the rapport him and Campbell developed towards the end of last year and into the offseason, and assuming similar YPC (which is conservative, given how he has improved for the past two years), Cooley projects to over 900 yard receiving. The only thing he needs more of to become a top tier TE are touchdowns, and he's been extremely consistent in that department for the past three years; 6, 7, and 6 touchdowns respectively. In an improved scoring offense, I think he's good for at least 7 next season -- again that is a conservative estimate, in my opinion.

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