Brandin Cooks Bounce-Back Game Happened Thanks to Smart Change in Texans Game Plan

Brandin Cooks had a huge game for the Texans in Week 5 thanks to this smart change in the offensive gameplan.
Brandin Cooks had a huge game for the Texans in Week 5 thanks to this smart change in the offensive gameplan. / Bob Levey/Getty Images

Outside of a solid showing in Week 2, Brandin Cooks had a disappointing start to his first season with the Houston Texans. That really came to a head in Week 4, when he laid a goose egg with 0 receptions despite being on the field for 94 percent of the team's offensive snaps.

That all changed in Week 5. With Bill O'Brien gone, a fairly simple change in Cooks' usage led to a breakout 8-reception, 161-yard game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Cooks had played just 13 percent of his snaps from the slot in Week 4. With O'Brien no longer calling the shots, that ballooned to about 33 percent in Week 5. Clearly thriving with the change, he was targeted 12 times on his 34 routes run (35 percent), compared to just 3 times on 39 routes (8 percent) in Week 4.

Did it help that he was up against one of the league's worst secondaries? Of course. But this wasn't just an increase in efficiency. He played a far bigger role in the offense, leading the team in targets after ranking just fifth in Week 4's flop.

Cooks may not be the prototypical slot receiver — a role that Randall Cobb would typically play. With Bill O'Brien's closed-minded thinking no longer in the way, however, the Texans should continue to move Cooks around the formation and put him in the best positions possible to continue putting up big numbers.

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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.