Injuries were a frequent occurrence for Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook in 2021. While he managed to power through and play 13 games, it was clear that he wasn't operating at 100% more often than not, frustrating fantasy owners who had high hopes for their first-round selection.
Despite any injury concerns, most fantasy experts still view him as a top-10 RB in PPR formats. He's currently Fantasy Pros' RB6 and carries an average draft position of 8.0.
Dalvin Cook Fantasy Football Outlook
Anyone familiar with Cook knows to expect injuries when he's on their team. Since 2018, he's missed just over three games per season and has yet to play an entire campaign. Even with last year's health woes, he still managed to turn 249 rushing attempts into 1,159 yards and six touchdowns.
For the most part, the Vikings offense is comparable to last year. Cook, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen are still the main focal points, however, it'll be interesting to see how new head coach Kevin O'Connell approaches Cook's usage.
With O'Connell as the offensive coordinator, the Los Angeles Rams averaged 25.7 rushing attempts per game last year (No. 19) while the Vikings averaged 26.4 (No. 16). In other words, it should be business as usual for the three-time Pro-Bowler.
Dalvin Cook Injury Update
As mentioned before, Cook isn't a stranger to injury trouble. Last year, it was a shoulder injury and a bout with COVID-19 that provided some obstacles. Fortunately, neither issue was seen as severe and he should at least begin the 2022 NFL season as healthy.
Having said that, Cook also has a history of occassionally wearing a shoulder harness, dating back to 2019. Even if he isn't hurt right now, you can't fault fantasy managers for being worried that one wrong hit could land Cook on the sidelines yet again. For now, proceed with caution.
Dalvin Cook Projections
Projections from the NFL odds on FanDuel Sportsbook are quite high on Cook. He's tied with Nick Chubb for the third-best odds (+1000) to lead the NFL in rushing this fall. Considering that he finished second and third, respectively, in rushing yards per game over the last two seasons, Cook could be a threat if he stays healthy.
Cook averaged 89.2 rushing yards per game in 2021. If he can do the same and play a full 17-game slate, he'd finish with 1,516, which only would've trailed the Indianapolis Colts' Jonathan Taylor (1,811) last year.
Is Dalvin Cook a Good Fantasy Football Pick?
There are a couple of ways to evaluate whether or not Cook is a good fantasy football pick. If you're judging him based on talent, he's easily a top-five rusher in the NFL. Once you throw his availability into the mix, that's where things get murky.
If you're drafting in the back half of Round 1, Cook is certainly worth the selection. Even if he only plays about 12 to 14 games again, that's still enough to win most weeks. However, if you're planning on getting the most value from Cook, be sure to handcuff him with backup Alexander Mattison, who typically plays like an RB1 when Cook is hurt.
Oh, and if you drafted Cook with your first-round pick then you might want to check out the best Dalvin Cook fantasy football team names for your squad too.
Devon Platana is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Devon Platana also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username PepeSilvia0. 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 their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.