The fantasy football decision surrounding when to draft Minnesota Vikings rookie running back Dalvin Cook can be a brutal one. While he’s certainly a player with tremendous upside, there’s always a risk when it comes to rookie running backs in fantasy football.
For Cook, the former Florida State star, he’s entering a situation where the team also just signed Latavius Murray to a three-year, $15 million deal this offseason as well. It’s obvious that the team originally expected Murray to be their guy in 2017, but then Cook wound up falling to the second round, and the rest was history.
The Vikings opted to trade up in order to land Cook, who currently holds the school’s single-season rushing record, as John Breech of CBS Sports reported. So, let’s take a look at when you should consider drafting Cook in 2017 fantasy leagues.
*Before diving in, note that this is based on 12-team leagues with standard rosters and point-per-reception (PPR) scoring.
When to Draft Dalvin Cook
Consensus: Mid-third round
Realistically, he could wind up falling to the late third round, but if you’re sitting in the middle of the round, it may be hard to pass up drafting Cook. In this spot, you could be looking at someone like Cook, Alshon Jeffery, Terrelle Pryor, Demaryius Thomas, Isaiah Crowell or Christian McCaffrey. Personally, I’d take Cook over all of those names, simply based on upside and the fact that he could wind up gobbling up the bulk of the work in Minnesota.
While Murray is certainly a threat to take some work, it seems as if the Vikings just want to keep the ball in Cook’s hands. Through three preseason games, Cook has been somewhat hit or miss, but his six receptions are a good sign. If he can just be a solid back but also catch passes out of the backfield, it’s going to result in him being able to live up to that third-round draft pick and possibly exceed it in a big way.
Don’t shy away from drafting Cook once the third round gets here, and for what it’s worth, if you really fall in love and want him at the start of the third, that’d be fully understandable.
Statistical Predictions for Cook in 2017
Predicting production for a running back can be brutal, especially with a player like Cook who could be active in the passing game. Even still, the former Seminole was a stud in college, posting 1,000-plus rushing yards in each of his three seasons, while scoring 46 total touchdowns on the ground. He tallied 19 scores in each of his final two seasons, so he obviously has a knack for finding the end zone.
As for the receiving side of his college career, he showed off his electrifying playmaking ability, averaging 14.8 yards per reception (488 yards on 33 receptions) in 2016.
Realistically, Cook should wind up tallying around 900-1,000 rushing yards, but his touchdowns and receptions should really help bolster his stock. I’ll take him to catch 45 passes this year for 485 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns.
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