James Cook’s Dynasty Value | Fantasy Outlook, Ranking, and More

After a breakout season, does the discussion surrounding James Cook's dynasty value involve considering Buffalo's lead back a top-10 fantasy football option?

Building a fantasy football winner in keeper/dynasty formats rarely features around the RB position, but that doesn’t mean you ignore the position altogether. The age curve can be prohibitive, but the dynasty ranking for Buffalo Bills RB James Cook is very much trending in the right direction after a 2023 campaign that saw him pick up over 1,500 yards from scrimmage.

When evaluating running backs, managers are wise to focus on the short term, as tomorrow is never promised at this position. In that vein, Cook is a young RB who flashed versatility in 2023 and plays for an offense that we all expect to rank among the best for the next few seasons at the very least.

What’s not to like?

James Cook’s Dynasty Outlook

Cook averaged over 6.0 yards per carry in all four of his seasons at the University of Georgia, including his final year when he finally saw his role expanded. The Bills bet on that strong pedigree by selecting him with the No. 63 overall selection in 2022, a pick that looked like a bargain by the end of 2023 — 281 touches, 1,567 yards from scrimmage, six touchdowns.

Through two seasons, Cook ranks as the RB7 (minimum 300 carries) in fantasy points scored per touch, with New York Jets RB Breece Hall being the only younger back on that list.

I mentioned my optimism on Cook going into his third year within my 124 fantasy football stats to know from 2023 piece, and that train of thought applies well beyond 2024.

Cook’s efficiency from college has translated nicely to Sundays (5.0 yards per carry on 326 career carries). And with over 16.6% of his career touches coming as a pass catcher, he profiles as the type of versatile prospect who can lead your fantasy football team for years to come and makes constructing a contender much easier in that you don’t have to sweat your RB1 role.

Cook’s Dynasty Ranking

Where does Cook land in the dynasty RB landscape going into the 2024 offseason? Here are Soppe’s latest dynasty rankings, featuring where Cook lands in comparison to other top names at the position.

1) Bijan Robinson | ATL
2) Christian McCaffrey | SF
3) Breece Hall | NYJ
4) Jonathan Taylor | IND
5) Jahmyr Gibbs | DET
6) Travis Etienne Jr. | JAX
7) Kyren Williams | LAR
8) James Cook | BUF
9) Saquon Barkley | NYG
10) Kenneth Walker III | SEA
11) De’Von Achane | MIA
12) Isiah Pacheco | KC
13) Tony Pollard | DAL
14) Alvin Kamara | NO
15) Javonte Williams | DEN
16) Rhamondre Stevenson | NE
17) Josh Jacobs | LV
18) D’Andre Swift | PHI
19) Rachaad White | TB
20) Aaron Jones | GB
21) Austin Ekeler | LAC
22) Tyjae Spears | TEN
23) Joe Mixon | CIN
24) Nick Chubb | CLE
25) Najee Harris | PIT
26) David Montgomery | DET
27) Brian Robinson Jr. | WAS
28) Jaylen Warren | PIT
29) Raheem Mostert | MIA
30) Derrick Henry | TEN

Should You Trade for Cook in Dynasty?

I have zero concerns about structuring a deal for Cook right now. There are concerns about his role near the goal line, however, and, up to this point, those worries are warranted.

Since 2022, 5.8% of Cook’s carries have come from inside the 10-yard line. For the average qualified running back, that percentage is 8.0.

But are we sure that those limitations project forward? Cook averages 2.83 ypc after contact, a number that is better than what touchdown-scoring savant San Francisco 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey posted through two seasons.

It tops the rate of what Todd Gurley, David Johnson, and Detroit Lions RB David Montgomery all produced through two seasons –- all of whom had spike touchdown seasons on their résumés.

Add in the likely regression in aggression from the battering ram that is QB Josh Allen with time, and I’m more encouraged by the elite vision we’ve seen from Cook through 33 games than worried about his usage.

Running backs (again, minimum of 300 carries) who are averaging over 1.6 yards per carry before contact since Cook entered the NFL:

  1. D’Andre Swift: 2.23
  2. James Cook: 2.17
  3. Christian McCaffrey: 1.86
  4. Aaron Jones: 1.83
  5. Isiah Pacheco: 1.69
  6. Nick Chubb: 1.61

Cook has the making of a specific fantasy RB, one that can be had at the price of a “good” one right now. Maybe I’m an optimist at heart, but I prefer to look at dynasty assets much the way I view people in life — I prefer to look at what they have and can become as opposed to getting hung up on what they don’t have.

KEEP READING: Should You Move Stefon Diggs, James Cook, and Dalton Kincaid in Dynasty?

Approach Cook’s profile with that mindset, and my guess is that you have a decent chance at acquiring his services if the opposing manager is worried about the TD count moving forward.

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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