Would You Rather: Draft Dalvin Cook or Kerryon Johnson in 2019 Fantasy Football

Miami Dolphins v Minnesota Vikings
Miami Dolphins v Minnesota Vikings / Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

There are a few distinct tiers among the top running backs in fantasy football this season. The top-10 backs by average draft position (ADP) all rank within the top 15 players overall, then there aren't any more until you reach the 20th spot in the rankings.

Those players cluster together closely though, and the RBs available in that range are generally less proven guys that have flashed the potential upside to be a top fantasy producer. Dalvin Cook and Kerryon Johnson embody this tier perfectly.

Dalvin Cook Fantasy Outlook 2019

The Minnesota Vikings were one of the most pass-heavy teams in the NFL in 2018, but some of that appeared to be related to Cook's injury troubles. Kirk Cousins averaged 5.1 fewer pass attempts per game when Cook played.

Excluding an injury-shortened Week 4, Cook averaged 15.0 fantasy points on 12.3 carries and 4.9 targets per game. His 15.0 fantasy points per game would have tied for 12th among all running backs on the season. Now back to full health, that significant workload should allow him to post similar fantasy numbers, especially in PPR leagues.

Kerryon Johnson Fantasy Outlook 2019

The Detroit Lions took some time to warm up to Johnson in his 2018 rookie season, and he dealt with injury issues of his own, but across his final eight games he averaged 13.1 carries and 3.8 targets per game — just a combined 0.3 opportunities per game fewer than Cook. His 15.1 PPG during that stretch were also right in line with Cook.

The Lions were a more run-heavy team than the Vikings last year, but a win total over/under set at 6.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook indicates that they could be playing from behind a lot, likely limiting the rushing volume available in Detroit.

The choice between these two is nearly a coin flip, but there are a couple factors that look to be in Cook's favor.

The Vikings win total is set at 9.0, and a more successful team not only could mean more rushes, but also more touchdowns to go around. The Lions also signed C.J. Anderson, and they were content to give LeGarrette Blount 154 carries in 2018, including 11 carries inside the five-yard line (Johnson had two).

That lack of touchdown upside could hold Johnson back from jumping into the top tier of fantasy RBs, while Cook has legitimate RB1 potential in 2019.

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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 their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.