NFL - Fantasy

Dalvin Cook Fantasy Outlook Includes Clear RB1 Upside in 2021

Jason Schandl
Dalvin Cook's fantasy outlook has him in the conversation about the top RB in fantasy football for 2021.
Dalvin Cook's fantasy outlook has him in the conversation about the top RB in fantasy football for 2021. / Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

While Christian McCaffrey still may claim to the title of "top running back in fantasy football" according to most rankings, Dalvin Cook may be the man most likely to steal that title away.

Cook finished No. 2 among running backs in both PPR (behind Alvin Kamara) and standard (behind Derrick Henry) scoring formats last year, and he could finally make that leap to RB1 in 2021.

Dalvin Cook Fantasy Football Value

Nothing is more important to a running back's fantasy football outlook than volume, and Cook promises to offer that in spades.

His 312 carries in 2020 were second most in the NFL, trailing only Derrick Henry's 378. His 54 targets were also good for No. 14 among running backs. Oh, and he played only 14 games.

Mike Zimmer's Minnesota Vikings ran the ball on 45.8% of their plays in 2020 (No. 6 in the NFL), and that's clearly the identity he wants for this offense. After all, the Vikes checked in at No. 4 at 48.3% in 2019 as well.

Cook doesn't have much competition for those carries, either. While Alexander Mattison has shown plenty of promise, he only hit the 20-carry mark in games Cook either missed or had to leave early with an injury so far in his two-year NFL career.

With Christian McCaffrey coming off a serious injury and playing alongside a new quarterback in Sam Darnold, the uncertainty of that situation could ding his value.

In Cook we get a known quantity in a known situation, and one that we have seen produce explosive fantasy football results in the past.

It's hard to fault anyone for taking McCaffrey first overall, but there's a real case to be made for Cook as well.

Cook checks in at RB2 in The Duel's 2021 fantasy football PPR rankings.

SIGN UP AND GET AN INSTANT DEPOSIT BONUS UP TO 500! We'll match 20% of your first deposit on FanDuel Fantasy Sports. Max bonus $500

Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.