If Leonard Fournette is a throwback to the workhorse, heavy lifting, power running days of old, Dalvin Cook is the NOW. The current. The hip. The perfect running back for today’s NFL.
Cook possesses all the characteristics that running backs now need to be successful in the pros. He has speed, power, patience and the ability to make defenders miss in open space. Per PFF, Cook is the 2nd most elusive back in this year’s draft, behind Oklahoma State’s Chris Carson (who for the record shouldn’t really count considering he had 83 carries to Cook’s 288). Cook is a homerun waiting to happen any time he’s given the ball and given the smallest hole, can turn any run into a touchdown.
Unlike Fournette, Cook has shown the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. While he’s not Christian McCaffrey, Cook has good hands and certainly has the versatility that NFL coaches are looking for. He will be a plug and play guy which is great for his fantasy value.
Cook does have a few question marks around him heading into the draft. Firstly, he fumbles the ball a bit too much for anyone’s liking, totaling 11 in his three seasons at Florida State. His ball security is worrisome, especially from a fantasy perspective as fumbles not only lose points, but also can quickly diminish a back’s playing time. More importantly though, he has had off-the-field issues in the past. Hopefully he’ll be able to stay out of trouble upon entering the league, but it’s certainly something to keep an eye on.
Much like Fournette, Cook is a can’t miss fantasy prospect and should come into the league as an RB2 right from the get go.
Cook’s College Stats
Best Fantasy Fits
- Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs are Jamaal Charles-less and while Spencer Ware put together a good 2016, he’s not the future at running back in Kansas City. Enter Cook, who does everything Charles did and would be another deadly weapon to pair alongside Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. I know the biggest worry of any fantasy owner is a crowded backfield, but I wouldn’t worry about Ware cutting into any of Cook’s carries. Plus, Ware finished 16th in total points last year among fantasy running backs (160.9) despite only scoring three rushing touchdowns, which is pretty amazing when you think about it. Cook would be able to take over that backfield easily and quickly run into fantasy dominance.
- Indianapolis Colts: You can always trust the Colts to draft offense when they really should be drafting defense, but the pick makes almost too much sense. While Frank Gore has been magically producing at a good level despite being on the wrong side of 30, you can’t expect him to do that forever. Cook in Indianapolis would be a fantasy dream as his versatility would be on full display in the Colts’ high octane offense. The one drawback is that Cook would likely share the backfield with Gore, but that could be only to start the season. Gore finished last year 12th among running backs with 176.3 total points, so there’s lots of fantasy points to be had in Indianapolis’ backfield.
- Washington Redskins: I’m a little hesitant to make this pick simply because Washington does already have it’s fair share of young running backs in its backfield. That being said, the ground game in Washington needs a jump start as they finished just outside of the bottom 10 in rushing yards per game (21st in league with 106.0). Yes Rob Kelley was a nice surprise last year, but Cook is a much more talented running back than Fat Rob and offers more in the passing game. I also thought about putting Tampa Bay here but Doug Martin’s future with the team is uncertain and he’d compete with Cook much more for playing time than Kelley or Matt Jones in my opinion.