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Is Amari Cooper playing today vs. the Saints? Fantasy injury update for Cowboys vs. Saints Week 13 Thursday Night Football

After missing the Cowboys' last two games after testing positive for COVID-19, is Amari Cooper playing against the Saints on Thursday night?

Is Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper playing against the Saints on Thursday Night Football? After testing positive for COVID-19 and missing the last two games, Cooper’s status for Week 13 fantasy football lineups had been up in the air. Dallas has lost three of its last four games — will they get one of their top pass catchers back for a crucial contest against New Orleans?

Update 12/02/21: Cowboys WR Amari Cooper is in fact active for their game against the New Orleans Saints tonight. 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.

Is Amari Cooper playing today against the Saints?

Cooper tested positive for COVID-19 in advance of the Cowboys’ Week 11 matchup with the Chiefs. Because he is unvaccinated, Cooper was required to miss at least 10 days before rejoining the team.

Had he been vaccinated, Cooper could have returned after two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart. Instead, the 27-year-old missed Dallas’ games against Kansas City and Las Vegas, both of which were losses.

Initially, Week 13 appeared to be in doubt for Cooper, as well. On Tuesday, head coach Mike McCarthy (who will miss Thursday Night Football with a COVID-19 diagnosis of his own) said Cooper was “not feeling the best” and wouldn’t commit to the veteran WR being available against the Saints.

Luckily, Cooper must have improved in the interim. The Cowboys activated him off the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday and he is expected to play tonight. Cooper was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice session and is officially listed as questionable for Thursday.

Cooper has been good but not elite

Cooper’s COVID-19 diagnosis isn’t the only health question mark he’s been forced to deal with this season. He’s also been hampered by nagging rib and hamstring injuries that have limited his availability at times. While he hasn’t missed any games due to those specific issues, Cooper’s snap share has been occasionally reduced.

In Week 4, Cooper left the game against the Panthers and missed several series. All told, he played just 48% of Dallas’ offensive snaps against Carolina. In Week 8, Cooper only played 58% of the snaps — partly because the Cowboys were getting blown out by the Broncos, but partly to give his ailing hamstring a break.

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Cooper has been solid this season, but he hasn’t been the true WR1 he’s been in the past. Instead, he’s taken on more of a co-WR1 alongside CeeDee Lamb. Cooper and Lamb have posted eerily similar statistics so far this year.

Lamb averages 5 targets a game; Cooper is at 4.9. Lamb has scored 6 touchdowns; Cooper has found the end zone 5 times. While Lamb averages 74 yards per game to Cooper’s 64.8, they’ve caught a similar share of their respective targets (Cooper is at 67.7%, Lamb at 64.9%).

Cooper’s Week 13 fantasy outlook

While Cooper should once again settle in as a WR2 in fantasy, it’s difficult to be too confident on his outlook for this week. After all, he was experiencing COVID-19 symptoms as recently as Tuesday. Will he be able to stand up to the rigors of an NFL game for 60-70 offensive plays? Or will he need to reduce his snap share to stay fresh throughout the contest?

Additionally, Cooper is returning to a Cowboys offense with more mouths to feed than it did the last time he was on the field. With fellow receiver Michael Gallup back in the fold, targets will be harder to come by. On a Dallas roster that will have Cooper, Lamb, Gallup, Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard, and Dalton Schultz together for the first time since Week 1, it’s anyone’s guess as to how opportunities will shake out.

Cooper could also have to deal with Saints CB Marshon Lattimore. While he’s allowing the worst yards per target and passer rating of his career, Lattimore is still a force to be reckoned with. He’s shadowed opposing WRs at times this year (but not in every game). In a matchup against two solid wideouts in Cooper and Lamb, Lattimore may stick to one side of the field throughout the contest instead of consistently following a specific receiver.

Dallas Robinson is a Writer and News Editor at Pro Football Network. You can read his other work here and follow him on Twitter: @dallasdrobinson.

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