Dalvin Cook injury update: Can fantasy managers count on him in Week 4?

As Dalvin Cook deals with his shoulder injury, what should fantasy managers do in Week 4, and who would benefit if he is inactive this week?

Dalvin Cook’s shoulder injury will be the focus of many fantasy football managers in Week 4. The combination of a star running back carrying an injury with an early kickoff in London will make him a hot topic over the weekend. Let’s examine the latest injury update for Cook and the fantasy implications if he does or does not suit up.

Update: Dalvin Cook was listed as a full participant Thursday.

Dalvin Cook injury update for Week 4

There was some immediate positivity from the Minnesota Vikings about Cook’s injury on Sunday after the game. Head coach Kevin O’Connell told reporters that Cook had assured him he would be ready to go in Week 4. Of course, at that stage, the shoulder injury had not been fully assessed, and players are hardly the most balanced source when it comes to injuries.

On Wednesday, O’Connell said that Cook was having a rest day to open practice and called him day-to-day. Cook was subsequently listed as a non-participant for practice Wednesday, which is what we expected coming into the week. What happens in terms of practice on Thursday and Friday will be somewhat telling. It’s unlikely we see Cook as a full participant either day, as the Vikings will not want him doing anything involving taking multiple hits ahead of the game. However, if he’s limited on one or both days, that should be viewed as a good sign.

Should fantasy managers trust Cook in Week 4?

It’s tough to know whether fantasy managers can trust Cook in Week 4 if he’s active. Normally, when Cook is on the field, he is a must-start. However, the Vikings have a longer focus to consider here than just Week 4. Cook is an instrumental part of their offense, and if he misses significant time, that could be detrimental to their playoff push. Therefore, they may look to manage him this week.

Shoulder injuries are tricky because they won’t necessarily limit Cook’s ability to make plays. However, the brace he is wearing could limit his mobility in terms of catching the ball on targets.

The bigger issue is the re-injury risk. Shoulder dislocations are often unstable, and if it pops out again, Cook would likely be immediately ruled out for the rest of the game. If that happens on the first play of the game, fantasy managers who started him would be in trouble.

Alexander Mattison would be a fantasy starter in Week 4 if Cook is out

In some ways, the best thing overall for fantasy football production would be if Cook is ruled out. In that case, Alexander Mattison would be the clear backup and should be a valuable contributor. In the six games Mattison has played without Cook, he’s averaged more than 16 fantasy points per game in non-PPR and over 20 points per game in PPR.

Mattison averages 79.5 yards per game on the ground and 36 per game through the air. He has also scored three rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns in those games.

Mattison is only rostered in 45.9% of ESPN leagues. Therefore, ahead of any more news on Cook, it would be a prudent decision to add the Vikings’ backup RB now. That could certainly make your Sunday morning decision-making easier if Cook is ruled out at 8 a.m. ET when inactives are announced in London.

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