Fantasy Football: What Can We Really Expect From Cooper Kupp in 2022?

For Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp, there is nowhere to go but down.

Kupp's 191-target, 145-catch, 1,947-yard, 16-touchdown season in 2021 led to 367.0 half-PPR points, 66.5 more points than any other receiver -- and 84.2 points more than the third-best receiver.

There's virtually no way that Kupp can build on such a season (of course, replicating it would be very welcomed for his managers in 2022), but what might we expect whenever we do anticipate a decline?

Let's dive into the elite workload and see what stands out.

Adjusting Expectations

Kupp held a 75.9% catch rate in 2021, a rate that ranks 13th-best among receivers with at least 100 targets since targets became a stat in 1992.

Kupp's catch rate over expectation, as measured by NextGenStats, was 6.8%, and his expected catch rate was 69.2%. If he had caught 69.2% of his targets, he'd have hauled in 132 passes instead of 145, a drop of 13 catches (or just 6.5 half-PPR points). We'll take that.

Kupp's 16 touchdowns also were a bit inflated. A multi-layered look at touchdown regression meant that he should've had closer to 12.6 touchdowns than 16. Let's round it down even, and take off four total scores. He'd be down 24 fantasy points there, plus the 6.5 from the receptions for a tally of 30.5 fantasy points lost if he played to expectation. That'd still have put him 36.0 points clear of the WR2 in 2021.

Now, what about target volume? Surely he can't average 11.2 targets again, right?

Since 2012, we have seen 21 receivers average at least 11.0 targets per game and have a follow-up season to compare it to. That sample averaged 9.9 targets per game the following season.

That's a 17-game pace of 168 targets.

Among receivers to average at least even 9.0 targets per game over 12-plus games while playing on a top-half adjusted passing offense (by numberFire's metrics) since 2012, 47.7% were top-five receivers, and 75.4% were top-12 receivers. Even accounting for greater-than-expected declines in volume, team passing efficiency, and health, history shows Kupp is probably a coin-flip to be a top-five receiver this season.

Cooper Kupp's 2022 Fantasy Football Projection

numberFire's fantasy football projections unsurprisingly rank Kupp as the WR1 on a projected line of 180 targets, 126 catches, 1,626 yards, and 13.0 touchdowns.

That yardage output easily beats his receiving prop at FanDuel Sportsbook (1,300.5 yards), as does the touchdown tally (11.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook).

In FanDuel's best ball fantasy football formats, Kupp is the WR1 and the 1.02 overall in terms of average draft position.

By no means is Kupp sneaking up on anyone this year after his 2021 campaign, but the only thing holding him back from another strong season is health. Even projecting a big drop-off in volume and efficiency, there's plenty (read: plenty) of room for Kupp to be a top-five wideout yet again.