James Cook’s Best Ball Fantasy Outlook: Does the Buffalo Bills RB Have a Capped Ceiling?

Can Buffalo Bills RB James Cook further progress in his third season? Or are his role and ceiling capped, making him a risky pick in 2024 Best Ball drafts?

Buffalo Bills RB James Cook greatly improved from his rookie season. However, questions remain as to whether he can do much better than he did last year.

Should fantasy football managers be looking at Cook in Best Ball drafts?

James Cook’s 2024 Fantasy Outlook

Last year was pretty good for Cook, right? After all, he rushed for 1,122 yards and added 44 receptions for 445 yards through the air.

The young back averaged an impressive 5.6 yards per touch, fifth in the league. He was also one of the better running backs as a receiver, finishing sixth in yards per route run.

My concern with Cook is he very clearly played good football in 2023. Yet, it all amounted to 13.7 fantasy points per game, good for an RB19 finish.

Cook is a good running back. He’s not going to suddenly fade into obscurity. Cook will be on fantasy rosters as a starter this season. I just question whether Cook can progress much beyond what he just did in 2023.

The most important element of a running back’s fantasy value is touchdowns. As the lead back, Cook should be the favorite for goal-line carries. Unfortunately, his quarterback is a guy by the name of Josh Allen, and that’s his job.

Furthermore, even when it wasn’t Allen stealing Cook’s touchdowns, it was someone else. Both RBs Latavius Murray and Leonard Fournette were getting goal-line carries ahead of Cook last season. Cook only saw four goal-line opportunities all year.

Given Cook surpassed 1,500 total yards, he should’ve scored more than six touchdowns. But when you look at how he scored his touchdowns, it makes sense why he didn’t.

Cook scored six total touchdowns last season. Three of them were from closer than 18 yards out. And of those three that were somewhat close to the end zone, two of them were receiving.

He ran for two touchdowns the entire year. One came from the goal line; the other was a 24-yard scamper.

Should You Draft Cook in 2024 Best Ball Leagues?

Given the state of the running back position in fantasy, we’re seeing guys that historically would be mid RB2s propped up into the ranks of the RB1. Cook profiles as a fantastic RB15-20 type of guy. Yet, he’s being taken as a top-12 running back due to scarcity.

It’s too early to tell how things will move and shift throughout the offseason. The Bills could very well add a power back, which would only further drive down Cook’s price. If anything, that would benefit managers looking to select him, as I don’t think what the Bills do at running back matters (unless they sign someone like Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry or Saquon Barkley).

KEEP READING: Fantasy Football Best Ball Strategy

Even if Buffalo does nothing at running back, Cook is not suddenly going to get more touchdown opportunities. The only way I see him increasing his touchdown total is by scoring on more long runs. That’s also the only way he will meaningfully increase his fantasy points per game.

Relative to other running backs, Cook is an early fade for me. However, if his overall price is cheap enough, it’s okay if you want to take him in Best Ball drafts.

With the fantasy football season behind us, why not start preparing for your rookie drafts with our dynasty rookie rankings? Additionally, as you look to improve your team heading into 2024, our dynasty trade calculator can help you find the perfect deal to boost your championship chances.

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