Amari Cooper or CeeDee Lamb: Should you start either in Week 13?

    Both CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper's fantasy values are in question heading into tonight's matchup against the New Orleans Saints.

    Dallas fans and fantasy football managers were both in a similar boat in Week 12. Both groups were missing the Cowboys’ top two wideouts. Fantasy studs CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper missed Week 12’s Thanksgiving matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders. Both are trending back to returning to NFL action tonight, but should they be in your fantasy lineup?

    Which Cowboys WR should you start in Week 13?

    Assuming both are healthy, this question is pretty straightforward. Unfortunately, both have missed time for injuries that tend to linger and reappear. Before we assume they’re 100%, let’s look into the details around their absences a little deeper.

    CeeDee Lamb’s concussion caused him to miss time

    The biggest injury to the Cowboys’ wideouts came in Week 11 when Lamb was diagnosed with a concussion. In the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs, Lamb went down and hit his head hard on the turf. This caused him to miss the remaining two quarters of the game as a precaution — the Cowboys went on to lose the game without him.

    As soon as the injury happened, speculation started that due to the short week, Lamb was likely to miss Thursday’s game due to the league’s concussion protocol.

    Although he moved swiftly through the protocol, the final hurdle could not be cleared and Lamb indeed missed Week 12. Getting a head injury like a concussion is no joking matter and can linger if not addressed immediately.

    Even having Lamb back for Week 13 is a risk, albeit a smaller one to having him play after only four days. He’s slated to return, but if he gets another head injury, it might mean more missed time.

    Amari Cooper’s fantasy value has also taken a hit

    Lamb’s teammate, Cooper, has also missed time for medical reasons as of late. Cooper was added to the COVID-19 list after the team’s Week 10 win against the Falcons. It’s been reported that Cooper is unvaccinated, which means there are more testing hurdles for him to clear before being reactivated. This caused him to miss the last two weeks, but he’s set to return to the field tonight.

    We’ve seen a fair amount of NFL players who either tested positive or were confirmed to have gotten sick over the last two seasons. Not all of them have immediately returned to pre-COVID form, though. Notably, Cooper’s teammate, Ezekiel Elliott, struggled to get back to 100% after getting sick last season. Due to the nature of the illness and how it attacks the lungs, this didn’t come as a shock to most. This makes him a little risky this week in his first game back as well.

    While they were out

    On Thanksgiving, the team was without both of their stud wide receivers. Instead, they leaned on Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson. Tight end Dalton Schultz also stepped up and performed well. Both Gallup and Wilson went over 100 receiving yards while Schultz caught a touchdown in the overtime loss.

    Should you start Lamb or Cooper in fantasy?

    Ultimately, I can’t imagine a situation where you would bench either player if they start the game tonight. If the team trusts them, it’s hard to go against that. However, one or both may have a low floor (to go with their high ceilings).

    With this in mind, there is a chance that your matchup might not benefit from getting a zero. If you’re set for the playoffs already or are going against a middle-of-the-road team, I could see benching Lamb to avoid him hurting your chances. Cooper feels safer to me given that his chance of missing time is lower. But Lamb? Not so much.

    Update: According to Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News, Amari Cooper mostly watched during 7-on-7 warmups and didn’t take a single rep in 11-on-11 drills before the game.

    If you just need to get 6-8 PPR points, maybe Lamb is better left on your bench for someone less flashy with less risk as well. I’m not saying it makes sense in general, and I’m not saying to bench either in a vacuum, but I do think there could be some rosters that don’t need Lamb in their lineup this week.

    If you’re on the fence, reach out to me on Twitter, and let’s talk about the context. The last thing you want is to take a zero if you’re looking to make a move for the playoffs.

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