The New York Jets have shown that ever since trading for Aaron Rodgers, they are a team going all-in to win for 2023. The move that solidified that belief even further was the signing of Dalvin Cook.
However, not many people know that Cook was recently medically cleared to practice. Did the Jets make a mistake in signing the star running back? Or is this just a matter of routine maintenance for an experienced back in the NFL?
Let’s observe this situation closely and see how it can play out for us in fantasy football this season.
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What Happened to Dalvin Cook?
Cook put together a tremendous season for the Minnesota Vikings in 2022, rushing for over 1,100 yards and 10 total touchdowns.
One issue in the 2022 season — he experienced a shoulder dislocation during a game. He had to leave early to be attended to by medical staff.
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) August 29, 2023
This offseason, he had surgery to repair his shoulder after experiencing issues with it every year in the NFL.
The Vikings elected to release Cook to save money as they continued to build their team led by the new head coach, Kevin O’Connell.
What Are the Jets’ Options If Cook Misses Time?
Here is where it gets exciting. Breece Hall was the team’s prized possession last season, and he was poised for a massive breakout rookie campaign.
Unfortunately, fate would not have it that way, and he tore his ACL in week seven of last season. Did you know that despite sharing the snaps with Michael Carter and missing half of his final game with a knee injury, Hall still finished with 16 fantasy points per game?
He is an outstanding talent who will be highly productive when his knee returns to 100% health. Cook is back at practice, and head coach Robert Saleh is confident he will be ready for Week 1. But if the shoulder were to be re-aggravated or re-injured, Hall would be capable of taking control of the backfield completely.
All reports of Hall’s ACL recovery have been positive, and the signing of Cook was more about the team acquiring more weapons than about the shape of Hall’s knee. The Jets recently said the second-round talent is the RB1 for the future, but they also want to protect their star player while he returns from such a traumatic knee injury.
What Does This Mean for Cook’s Fantasy Ranking?
Cook is currently being drafted early in the seventh round, roughly three to four rounds after his teammate Breece Hall. Now that Cook is returning to practice, and the season starting so soon, his ADP will be over in that early seventh-round, late sixth-round area.
While Hall is fully practicing, there can be some resistance to players returning from a torn ACL, and Cook will be able to provide a spark while Hall continues to work back to 100%.
MORE: PFN Consensus Rankings
If Hall suffers a setback, or further injury to his knee, then Cook could be seen as one of the best draft values of 2023, as the competition behind Hall and Cook is minimal. Therefore, Cook would be a locked-in workhorse for the 2023 season.
Bell-cow running backs are rarely available after the fifth round, but here we are, taking a potential league-winning running back in the seventh round.