James Cook Fantasy Football Outlook: Bills Rookie RB Has More Value In Keeper and Dynasty Leagues Than Redraft

James Cook Fantasy Football Outlook: Bills Rookie RB Has More Value In Keeper and Dynasty Leagues Than Redraft article feature image

Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Bills rookie RB James Cook

  • Fantasy football expert Samantha Previte teamed up with longtime NFL executive Randy Mueller to forecast expectations for James Cook.
  • Find out how they're projecting the Bills rookie running back for the 2022 season and beyond below.

Who Is James Cook?

by Samantha Previte, fantasy football analyst for Action

James Cook practically has fantasy football royalty in his blood. He is the younger brother of three-time Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook and could be poised to make an immediate impact for the Bills and fantasy as the third running back selected in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Cook’s positives include an elite background, good athleticism and a polished route tree. He was a national champion in 2021 during his fourth season at Georgia, which was also his breakout campaign. He broke 1,000 scrimmage yards for the first time in his collegiate career as part of a committee with Zamir White.

Cook performed well at the combine, recording a 4.42-second 40-yard-dash as well as a 33-inch vertical jump. Cook has good experience as both a rusher and a pass-catcher. Later in the article, former NFL team exec Randy Mueller notes Cook’s solid hands, which helped him record 27 catches for 284 yards and four touchdowns last season.

Cook loses some marks for his size and subsequent niche role. Standing at 5-foot-11 and 199 pounds, the 22-year-old does not profile as an every-down, workhorse back. He would be best-suited in a system that will utilize him as a pass-catching threat and third-down back.

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James Cook Fantasy Football Outlook

by Samantha Previte, fantasy football analyst for Action

Landing Spot Grade: A-

I was hoping one of the top two running back prospects would fall to the Bills. For one, they are heavily favored to win the AFC East with -230 odds and have the best odds (+350) to win the AFC and second-best odds (+600) to win the Super Bowl at WynnBET as of June 1.

Suffice it to say that the team is projected to be competitive, if not dominant, in most matchups which bodes well for the running game.

The quarterback situation is a wash. On one hand, Josh Allen is phenomenal and consistently sets his team up for success. On the other hand, Allen is a major threat on the ground and will siphon away work and scoring opportunities from the running backs. The 25-year-old signal-caller was the team’s second-best rusher last season with 122 attempts for 763 yards and six touchdowns.

The Bills are a very good landing spot for Cook from a depth chart perspective.

Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Zamir White (left) and James Cook (right).

Entering last season, the backfield looked as though it was going to be a committee between Zack Moss and Devin Singletary. Moss, 24, led the backfield in snaps early in the season, but saw his workload dwindle significantly as the season progressed and finished the season with 96 attempts for 345 yards and four touchdowns. The team’s top rusher was Singletary, 24, who recorded 188 attempts for 870 yards and seven touchdowns.

Drafting Cook signals to me that the team does not view Singletary or Moss as bell-cow running backs, nor do they see the pair as a sufficient committee. I anticipate Singletary and Cook — and to some degree, Moss — will be used in complementary roles with Singletary handling more early-down work and Cook taking many of the pass-catching snaps.

2022 Fantasy Potential: RB3 Upside

I love the landing spot, but it’s unlikely Cook sees enough touches in his role and in rotation with Singletary to break into that RB2 tier in Year 1.

As with most rookies, he carries more value in dynasty/keeper formats than redraft.

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James Cook Pre-Draft Evaluation

by Randy Mueller, former NFL general manager and team executive

White’s backfield mate at Georgia comes with a different skill set.

Cook is a slashing, one-cut runner who runs with a high pad level and goes north-south better than he goes east-west. He is going to take some shots at the next level because of it. He has good vision between tackles but moving piles and running with a solid power base is inconsistent and not his game. He is very impressive when he puts his foot in the ground and can hit a crease with explosive speed.

Most scouts would term him a "slasher" with fairly nifty feet.

Once in the secondary, Cook has speed to pull away from defenders, thus his 6.4 yards per carry average even though he had only one 100-yard game in 2021.

Cook excels in the passing game, catching 27 balls this season, including leading the Bulldogs with 112 yards against Michigan in the College Football Playoff semifinal. He will need to be a more detailed route runner at the NFL level, but he displays solid hands, can extend to catch outside his frame and is nifty enough after the catch to make the first defender miss.

I see Cook as a rotational back in the NFL, just as he was in college.

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