Dalvin Cook Signs With the New York Jets: Fantasy Impact for Aaron Rodgers, Breece Hall, and Garrett Wilson

How does RB Dalvin Cook's signing with the New York Jets impact the fantasy values of Aaron Rodgers, Breece Hall, and Garrett Wilson in 2023?

Fresh off of four straight Pro Bowl appearances, Dalvin Cook is now officially taking his talents to the New York Jets, joining an increasingly potent offense that has Gang Green dreaming of a Lombardi trophy. This move unquestionably makes the Jets an even greater threat to emerge from the AFC, but how does it shake up the fantasy football world?

Did you get a trade offer in your dynasty or redraft league? Not sure who to start or sit this week? Make championship-winning decisions with PFN’s FREE fantasy tools — the Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer and Calculator and Start/Sit Optimizer!

Fantasy Impact of Dalvin Cook Signing With the New York Jets

Pairing Cook with his former NFC North rival Rodgers is a match made in heaven, but the presence of Breece Hall is obviously a moving target. Hall is recovering from a torn ACL and meniscus that ended his rookie season after just seven games.

The rate at which players return to form following an ACL tear can vary, but there is no denying that there is a serious risk that the promising version of Hall we saw last season may not reemerge until 2024. His status, at the moment, is up in the air, so let’s take a look at some potential options that could happen prior to your draft

If Breece Hall Enters the Season on PUP

Under the new NFL rules, this would rule out Hall for the first four games (not six like years past). This would, obviously, put Hall well behind the eight-ball — not only would he be dealing with the injury, but it also would figure to extend the learning curve that comes with a new offense built around what Rodgers does well.

If this is the case, it’s a wheels-up situation for Cook, and he’d, at the very least, take over Hall in my current rankings (RB16).

Cook has seen his efficiency decline a bit over the past two seasons, but a game-breaking quarterback could well solve that.

Cook (2019-20):

  • Half-PPR points per touch: 0.90
  • Half-PPR points per target: 1.27

Cook (2021-22): 

  • Half-PPR points per touch: 0.72 (down 20.0%)
  • Half-PPR points per target: 0.98 (down 22.8%)

During his career with Rodgers, Aaron Jones’ efficiency numbers (0.94 points per touch and 1.28 points per target) nearly mirror those past Cook rates. Since 2019, no quarterback has a higher passer rating when targeting the running back position than Rodgers, so it would stand to reason that Cook can be the fantasy asset we’ve seen in years past.

I’d be ranking Cook under the assumption that he is, in fact, elite in terms of efficiency. Now, I wouldn’t move him into the top 10 because the presence of Hall still looms in this scenario, but he’d be deserving of RB1 consideration and would be a fine selection in the late-second or early-third round.

If Hall Is Active To Open the Season

This is where things get tricky. Over the past three years in Minnesota, Cook has averaged 18.8 carries and 21.4 touches per game, so we know he is capable of handling the feature role if New York wants to work Hall back slowly.

It’s unlikely that the Jets would spoon-feed us their touch distribution plan, so there is guesswork to be done. In the six games prior to his injury, Hall was accounting for 56.9% of Jets RB touches, a rate that stood at 67% from Weeks 4-6 as he established himself.

If both are active, I find it hard to believe that either approaches that 67% number, but splitting the difference in favor of Cook would be logical.

Breece Hall (20) runs with the ball against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at MetLife Stadium.

If you’re of the belief that this Jets offense functions similarly to the 2021 Packers, a team with a happier version of Rodgers that had an alpha receiver to feature, we are talking about 28.2 running back touches per game.

If we assign 62% of the touches to Cook to open the season, that means 17.4 per game, and if we assume the efficiency stated above from 2019-20, we are talking 15.7 ppg (hmmm … Hall averaged 15.8 ppg last season). Extended for a season, that would be an RB8 ranking for Cook, but of course, we’d expect Hall to work into a greater workload with time.

For the sake of argument, let’s say Cook gets that heavy usage for a month and then gets half of the RB touches in Gotham the rest of the way. That would mean four games as a top-10 back and 13 (assuming health) as a fringe top-20 option. Using this back-of-the-napkin math would put him firmly in the RB2 discussion and worthy of an early fourth-round pick.

Fantasy Impact: Breece Hall

This signing doesn’t kill Hall’s value, but it certainly does reinforce the idea that this franchise is in win-now mode and that they aren’t comfortable with their backfield situation. Either that or Rodgers spoke highly enough of Cook to get the team to invest, but either way, it’s no bueno for Hall’s 2023 stock.

As a rookie, he quickly developed into a true feature back, handling at least 17 carries and a pair of catches in each of his three games prior to the knee injury. He looked the part, but let’s not forget that he was less involved during September as he worked to gain the trust of this organization.

Would it not stand to reason that he will have to do that again? By adding Cook, the team is saying, “Take your time Hall, we don’t need you right away, and we don’t need to put as much wear on your tires, even when you are back.”

In his first six career games, Hall touched the ball 15.8 times per game (11.3 in his first three games and 20.3 in the next three). All things considered, that 20.3 touch average is out the window.

The 11.3 number makes sense as a floor, with 15.8 serving as an absolute ceiling. I covered this in the ACL recovery piece, but a decline in touch count like this would push Hall outside of the RB2 conversation.

The talent is still there, obviously, but the combination of his health, Cook’s talent, and Rodgers’ urgency would drop Hall down in my ranks in the neighborhood of another ACL recovery project in Javonte Williams.

Fantasy Impact: Aaron Rodgers

In the Cook write-up, I mentioned Rodgers’ passer rating since 2019 when targeting running backs. Remember, that stat comes with a very down 2022. Here is the leaderboard among active QBs:

  1. Aaron Rodgers: 109.7
  2. Patrick Mahomes: 108.2
  3. Joe Burrow: 107.3

So yeah, the great quarterbacks tend to succeed at a high level when targeting their backs. Adding a viable set of hands in Cook elevates the status of Rodgers, if for no other reason than he has experience with him in this backfield.

Now, Cook clearly brings with him rushing upside that could subtract from Rodgers’ bottom line, but the balance of this offense could also result in more success as a whole, and when Rodgers is in scoring position, he pays it off.

This addition doesn’t change my overall Rodgers projection much, but I have moved him up one spot, surpassing Geno Smith (regression candidate) for QB13 honors. He could have a massive year, but in trying to project totals, his lack of production on the ground was going to be an issue pre-Cook and will be post-Cook, so his ceiling for me is only so high.

Fantasy Impact: Garrett Wilson

Notta. I had Garrett Wilson penciled in as my WR11, and that’s not changing. Like I said with Rodgers, any dip in passing volume should essentially be offset by an increase in overall offensive efficiency.

In my ranks, I have Tee Higgins, Wilson, and Chris Olave ranked in succession — they are all promising young stars, and I’ve elected to sort them by my confidence in their offenses as a whole. Wilson remains a good WR1 option for fantasy managers that started their draft with one of the Tier 1 running backs.

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast!

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

Related Articles