James Cook Fantasy Football Outlook 2022 (Rookie Has High Upside as Receiving Option)
By Larry Rupp
The Buffalo Bills added to one of the league's best offenses during the 2022 NFL Draft when they selected running back James Cook in the second round. The Georgia product showed off his skillset by totaling 1,012 yards from scrimmage to go along with 11 touchdowns in his final college season.
With that being the case, it's no surprise to see Cook rising in what lines up to be a talented rookie class in fantasy football rankings this year. His average draft position (ADP) has him going as the 39th running backs off the board and as a 10th-round selection.
James Cook Fantasy Football Outlook
James Cook was taken well before many NFL draft experts expected him to be and that was because the Bills desperately wanted to add a pass-catching back to the roster this offseason. In 2021, Devin Singletary and Zack Moss combined for 325 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns on 63 receptions (5.2-yard average). It was a respectable outcome, but nowhere near what is possible with quarterback Josh Allen leading the way. With Buffalo's coaching staff wanting to dial back Allen's rushing attempts, look for him to target check-down options more often than he has so far in his career.
That gives Cook a much higher ceiling than a lot of other rookie RBs. The 22-year-old averaged an impressive 10.9 yards per reception in college, while showcasing an elite level of ball security and open field acceleration. He enters with a clear role on an offense that averaged 389.3 yards per contest last season (No. 5 in NFL). Seeing him line up in the backfield or even in the slot position during red zone passing plays wouldn't be a surprising move by head coach Sean McDermott, either.
Think about it like this. Rookie running backs that have been drafted in the second round have finished as a top-36 fantasy RB 55% of the time since 2013. Cook could end up being a PPR monster and see upward of 80 targets. In the worst case scenario, he is merely a valuable handcuff to have on the roster in case Singletary goes down. Not too bad for the cost of a 10th-round pick.
James Cook Projections
Projections from the NFL odds on FanDuel Sportsbook expect Cook to finish in the middle of the pack. He's 33rd to lead the NFL in rushing yards (+7500), which compares to where D'Andre Swift finished the 2021 season at with 617 yards on the ground. Cook is also 43rd to lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns (+10000). It's worth noting teammate Devin Singletary checks in just ahead of Cook with +7500 odds there. When taking Cook's college average of 7.5 yards per touch into account, a workload that goes beyond double-digit touches per game could easily result in a 1,000-yard from scrimmage season for the rookie.
Is James Cook a Good Fantasy Football Pick?
When it comes down to it, is Cook someone to target in the middle rounds? Definitely. His upside greatly outweighs his downside in 2022. Cook's the No. 40 running back in The Duel's PPR fantasy football rankings and is a great option for managers in search of a high-upside bench player.
Drafting rookies is always going to come with risk. Seeing Cook finish with more than 70 receptions like Najee Harris did last season would be surprising, but seeing him finish with more than 40 receptions like Javonte Williams did seems like a realistic floor. Everything lines up for Cook to outperform his RB4 ADP.
If you've drafted Cook this year, or you're a Bills fan, make sure to check out the best Buffalo Bills fantasy football team names for your squad.
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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. 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.