James Cook Fantasy Preview
23-year-old James Cook was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the 2nd round of the 2022 Draft. He is the younger brother of Dalvin Cook, and when they were little, James could often be spotted helping Dalvin carry his equipment to practices and games. While it may have been tough living in the shadow of his heavily recruited older brother, James created his own path in football and in the recruiting process. He was a 4 star recruit out of Miami who originally committed to play for Florida State but opted to go to Georgia because he thought he could see playing time right away as a freshman for the Bulldogs. This seemed like a good decision because Cook did see some work as a freshman, but he actually ended up being instrumental in Georgia becoming the 2022 National Champions.
Last year James Cook suited up for 16 games with the Bills. If you remember, Buffalo only played 16 regular season games due to the circumstances with Damar Hamlin. Cook had 89 carries for 507 yards with 2 TDs, and he added in 21 catches for 180 yards and a score. With Devin Singletary now gone, Cook ascends to the top of the depth chart and looks to be the Bills’ RB1 heading into the season.
The 1,000-yard mark is a goal for a lot of running backs in the NFL, for James Cook it would be a huge achievement as the Bills offense features Josh Allen picking up a lot of yards from scrambling out of plays or even as a direct runner. Ontario sports betting odds have Cook as +1000 to go over 700.5 rushing yards.
As a secondary back in 2022, Cook amassed 507 rushing yards in only 16 games. It’s likely that the Bills will play in all 17 this season, so sign me up for over 700.5 rush yards now that he is the lead RB. In fact, I’ll take the over or higher on all those props. The others seem unlikely, but at least you’re getting some healthy odds.
- ADP – 78
- RB ADP – 30
James Cook is one of my steals of the draft right now. His ADP has been creeping up throughout July, and I see no reason why it won’t continue to rise through August as more folks discover that he is the RB1 in Buffalo. At his current spot in the 7th round, I seem to be grabbing him in every mock draft that I do. He’ll continue to be a value unless he sees a meteoric rise into the top 4 rounds. Since I believe in handcuffing, Damien Harris is going at pick 111, which is the 10th round.
If you caught my Coaching and Offensive Line Breakdown about the Buffalo Bills, you’ll see that there’s reason to be bullish about both Cook and the Bills run game in 2023. Ken Dorsey is in his second year as OC of the Bills. This offense is basically former OC Brian Dabboll’s offense but with an eye toward being a little more run-heavy. Line coach Aaron Kromer has a history of establishing some really good rushing attacks in the NFL, e.g. Todd Gurley for the Rams. The Bills also upgraded their offensive line a little with former Cowboy lineman Connor McGovern and 2nd round pick O’Cyrus Torrence.
Players who are worried about Cook will point to the presence of Damien Harris on this roster. While I will concede that Harris will get carries in this offense and perhaps most importantly some goal line carries, Cook is both the RB1 and the 3rd down/passing down back. Cook should see increases in his carries, rush yards, TDs, receptions, reception yards, and reception TDs.
At the moment, James Cook is undervalued relative to his ADP. If his ADP rises into the 4th round or higher, then the value comes into question because though Cook will receive the lion’s share of the RB workload, he won’t be getting over 65% of it like one of the true workhorse RBs in the first few rounds. Taking him in the 7th round likely means he is your RB3. I’d say that’s much less risky than asking him to be your RB2.
I’d be interested in James Cook for dynasty leagues as well. If you need to win now, Cook could be a useful RB3 with RB2 upside. If you’re in rebuild mode, then talking a 23-year-old back is definitely better than taking an older one. However, if you’ve been paying attention to the state of the RB position in the NFL, then you’ll notice that RB careers are typically shorter than careers at other positions. You’ll also notice the latest hubbub about contracts and paying these guys. James Cook is in the second year of his 4 year rookie deal. Will the Bills extend him? Will Cook ask for a renegotiation and threaten to sit out or ask for a trade in a couple of years? While the future is a little unpredictable in that regard, I’d argue that dynasty owners should take RBs like this into consideration when planning for the future.
A conservative approach for Cook is something like 150 carries, 750 rush yards, 5 TDs, 35 catches, 250 yards, 1.5 TDs.
I like something a little more aggressive. For his rushing I’d go 175 carries, 850 rush yards, and 6 TDs. I like going over on the reception projections here, but those seem pretty close.
Take what coaches say with a grain of salt, but Ken Dorsey did say that James Cook is a potential 3 down back.
*This is my personal opinion, which may or may not reflect site projections.*
Matt, aka Boris, had a friend in his high school freshman English class once mistakenly call him that, and the nickname has somehow stuck ever since. He has been playing fantasy football since the early 2000s and Daily Fantasy Sports since 2015. Boris has been writing about DFS since 2020 and is excited to be a part of GridIron Experts. He has a wife (proving someone can stand him) and a daughter. Boris loves the beach, skiing, hockey, soccer, and football. He attempts to teach high school English, and aspires to make a ton of money in DFS. Follow him on Twitter @Borisnow00.