James Cook

James Cook

RB - BUF
Height:
Weight: lbs
Age: --
College: Georgia
Buffalo Bills

2023 Season Outlooks

Cook has the chance to emerge as a No. 2 Fantasy running back in all leagues, and he's worth drafting as early as Round 6. His training camp battle with Damien Harris will be one to watch, and hopefully Cook proves to be Buffalo's best running back this year. Latavius Murray could also frustratingly be in the mix for the Bills, but Cook should have the most upside of this group. Cook shared playing time as a rookie in 2022 but had four games with double digits in carries, and he scored 16 PPR points in two of them. The Bills don't throw a lot of passes to their backs -- Devin Singletary's best season was 40 receptions in 2021 -- but maybe Cook's receiving prowess changes that. He also has to contend with Josh Allen stealing rushing touchdowns, along with Harris and Murray. Still, as a second-year running back, Cook could prove to be the best running back Buffalo has had in the Allen era. With enough work, Cook could have a breakout campaign in 2023.

Cook showed flashes of high-end play during his rookie season. We just never saw it over an extended stretch, as the Florida State product hit ten touches in only six of 16 games.

That he finished second behind Devin Singletary in carries is a bit troubling. Still, there’s an opportunity for him to carve out a much larger role in year two alongside new Bill Damien Harris.

What We Learned Last YearCook joined Buffalo as a late Round 2 pick (63rd overall).He played all 16 games, with the only missed action coming from the Bills-Bengals cancellation.He played the No. 2 role behind Devin Singletary, who out-carried the rookie 177-89.Cook’s role increased down the stretch. After averaging 4.6 touches per game over his first nine outings, that number jumped to nearly ten over his final nine (postseason included).Cook drew more than two targets in a game only twice. He averaged a decent 1.20 yards per route run but a lowly 6.7 yards per catch.Cook handled only four goal line carries all season -- zero inside the five. Singletary tallied 17 and seven, respectively.Overall, Cook posted only three top-24 PPR weeks; nine outside the top-40.Cook ran behind a Bills O-line that ranked a mid-pack 22nd in ESPN’s Run Block Win Rate (71%).Among 54 RBs with 80+ carries, Cook ranked fifth in yards per carry, 32nd in yards after contact per attempt, 30th in Pro Football Focus rushing grade, and 24th in Elusive Rating.Cook finished 1st in Breakaway Rate. Per PFF, “the percentage is calculated by taking the yards gained on runs over 15 yards and dividing it by the player's total rushing yards.”
What to Expect in 2023GM Brandon Beane talked up a larger role for Cook at the Combine, saying. “We’re excited about James Cook, and looking forward to what he can do in year two, especially with an expanded workload and more touches.”RB Devin Singletary signed with Houston in free agency. His absence takes away 215 touches and a nearly 10% target share.Around the same time, Buffalo inked power back Damien Harris to a one-year deal worth ~$1.8 million. Harris missed four games last year in New England with a leg injury. His yards after contact per attempt, missed tackles forced per rush, and PFF rushing grade each declined vs. 2021.RB Nyheim Hines returns after a disappointing start with the Bills, which started in early November. The former Colt never topped three touches in a game.Buffalo returns OC Ken Dorsey, QB Josh Allen, and an O-line that looks solid after adding guards Connor McGovern and O'Cyrus Torrence.The Bills added an impact target in Round 1 TE Dalton Kincaid. Cook might not have a massive receiving ceiling, but he’ll benefit from Damien Harris’ early-down profile. Harris owns only 50 targets across four seasons.

Cook is expected to be the lead man in the Buffalo backfield this season following the offseason departure of Devin Singletary. Granted, the sample was small (110 touches) but Cook impressed as a rookie, averaging 5.7 yards per carry (third highest among RBs) and 8.6 yards per reception. The 2022 second-round pick is a potential breakout candidate, especially in an elite Bills offense, though his ceiling may prove a bit limited if he defers some work to Damien Harris and Latavius Murray in a scheme that doesn't use RBs much in the passing game. The 23-year-old cleared 12 touches in one game as a rookie and is best viewed as a RB2 target.

2023 Fantasy Football Rankings

Standard

#73

PPR

#67

Half-PPR

#82

Superflex

#86

2023 Fantasy Football Draft Projections

Rush Yds Rush TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD
830.8 4.7 36.9 294.9 1.5

2023 Average Draft Position (ADP)

Standard

#73

Pick 7.01

PPR

#75

Pick 7.03

Half-PPR

#69

Pick 6.09

Superflex

#88

Pick 8.04

Injury Risk

Injury Risk:
Low

Depth Chart

Strength of Schedule

Average/Tough Season Ahead
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
14
Fantasy Playoffs
15
16
17
18

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