As I begrudgingly turned on Chiefs-Raiders for the first time Thursday night, when it became painfully clear the Cubs' World Series title defense season was over, Amari Cooper was dropping a deep ball from Derek Carr.
I stuck around long enough to watch Marshawn Lynch get ejected for coming off the sideline to push an official, then flipped back to the Cubs. By the time I returned, it was just as Cooper was dropping another pass, this one over the middle.
Clockwork, I thought.
Little did I know as I fired off this tweet — "Amari Cooper is harder to watch than the Cubs right now — he'd already ripped off 38- and 45-yard touchdowns, after totaling 51 yards on nine catches in his previous four games.
Indeed, by the end of his dynamic, and imperfect, game, Cooper (and the Raiders?) was back: 11 catches, 210 yards and two touchdowns (the best fantasy output by a wideout this season) on 19 targets — tied with Antonio Brown (Week 5) for the most in the NFL so far this season.
Ignoring for a moment that I stepped in it with Cooper not once but twice this week — I said Monday I was done recommending Oakland's stud as a buy-low target — it only seems fair we dedicate Friday's six-pack to his redemption song. Credit a clearly pressing Cooper for stepping up when he was needed most by Oakland and not getting down in-game after the drops; seven of the catches, for 101 yards, came after the gaffes.
And a maligned Raiders coaching staff also deserves kudos for helping Cooper ignite by moving him around the formation. Graham Barfield of Fantasy Guru pointed out Friday that 35 percent of Cooper's routes were run from the slot, up from a combined 15 in Weeks 1-6. One way to reestablish a guy's confidence is not asking him to line up across from Marcus Peters.
Whether it's due to coaching, players or both, here are six guys poised to follow Cooper's footsteps and break out in a big way in Week 7: