After posting a five-year low with 17.8 touches per game in 2022, Cook was jettisoned by the Vikings in early June then signed by the Jets in mid-August. He'll be 28 years old when the season starts and is coming off a season with career lows in yards per carry (4.4) and explosive run rate (7.2% of his runs went for 12-plus yards). Once a first-round staple, there is now a very real chance Cook takes another step back after averaging 14.0 PPR points per game last year. In New York, he's likely to lead the backfield in touches while Breece Hall continues to recover from his torn ACL, assuming Cook himself is cleared after undergoing shoulder surgery during the offseason. Once Hall returns, Cook figures to slip into the 1B role in the backfield. Draft him in Round 7 at the earliest.
At 28, Cook’s near the cliff for most fantasy RBs.
He remained productive with the Vikings last year, but his PPR RB14 season (in points per game) came on 303 touches.
His only chance of hitting 300 touches is if Breece Hall goes down early in the season.
We’re looking for Hall’s workload to increase slowly. The Jets have maintained an upbeat tone on Hall’s ACL rehab, and he appears on track for the opener. Cook’s signing looks to be part of New York’s “all-in” mindset for 2023.
It leaves this backfield on the messy side. We’re ultimately not making either RB a priority target in 2023 drafts. Hall, at least, looks enticing for best draft drafting, where late-season weeks prove critical to your ROI.
What We Learned Last Year-Cook suffered another shoulder dislocation, this time in October. He played through the injury but underwent surgery in February.
-Another shoulder dislocation (as well as a labrum tear) popped up in 2021.
-Cook played an entire season for the first time in his career.
-He delivered a fine fantasy performance, finishing 14th in PPR points per game.
-Cook’s underlying metrics were decent, too. Among 22 RBs with 200+ carries, he ranked 12th in Pro Football Focus’s Elusive Rating; 9th in yards after contact per attempt.
-Football Outsiders’ metrics paint a different picture, however. He finished 36th in DVOA; 33rd in success rate (both among 42 qualifiers).
-Cook was OK as a pass catcher, posting 7.6 yards per reception. His 0.75 yards per route run was below average at RB.
What to Expect in 2023-The Vikings released Cook in June because of a bloated contract.
-He waited until August to sign with the Jets, who sought an upgrade to pair with RB Breece Hall (ACL). Cook will earn a hefty sum: $7 million in base salary.
-We’ll keep an eye on the health of Cook’s shoulder. The Jets figure to ease him into action following offseason surgery (and his history of shoulder trouble).
-Cook’s workload might peak early in the season given Hall’s injury status.
-Hall, who tore his ACL in October, was cleared to practice only on August 15. We’re expecting him to be ramped up slowly in season.
-The Jets’ environment looks strong overall, with QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Garrett Wilson leading the way.
-New York’s O-line looks like a potential weakness, though. Good injury luck could be critical for keeping this entire unit on track.
Cook signed with the Jets in August after he was released by the Vikings in early June. He's been a top fantasy back since he was drafted in 2017, so it may surprise you to know that 2022 marked his first season appearing in 100% of Minnesota's regular-season games. Cook ranked sixth among RBs in carries and rushing yards, and has finished top 10 in both categories (as well as touches and scrimmage yards) each of the past four seasons. He also saw 56 targets (15th most), which were his most since 2019. Cook's fantasy output has started to slip a bit (he was 15th in fantasy PPG in 2022 after an 11th-place showing in 2021) and he's unlikely to return to the RB1 mix as long as Breece Hall is a factor. Hall is recovering from a torn ACL, so Cook may start 2022 strong, but as Hall's role increases, the 28-year-old will be reduced to flex value (at best).