James Cook Waiver Wire Week 14: A Changing of the Guard?

Is James Cook about take over the Bills' backfield, making him a must-add for fantasy managers off the Week 14 waiver wire?

Week 13 was a brutal one on the injury front. We saw several highly relevant fantasy players go down. That leaves fantasy managers in need of replacements. How much of a priority does this make someone like James Cook for fantasy football managers to add off the waiver wire ahead of Week 14?

James Cook’s Role Continues To Increase

Week 11 was the first time we saw any real signs of life from Dalvin Cook’s younger brother. He carried the ball 11 times for 86 yards. What was interesting about his usage was that he was exclusively a runner, not seeing any targets. That didn’t really make sense, given his skill set as a highly competent receiver.

In Week 12, Cook’s playing time went back to just about nothing. He played 18% of the snaps and touched the ball four times. However, he did see five targets. That raised some eyebrows in the fantasy community that maybe, just maybe, we would start seeing Cook used as the primary receiving back.

In Week 13, that came to fruition. Cook played 43% of the snaps. He played just one fewer snap than Devin Singletary. Most importantly, Cook ran 16 routes (three more than Singletary) and was targeted on six of them. He caught all of his targets for 41 yards. That gives Cook 11 targets in his past two games. Once is a fluke. Twice is a trend.

Given how effective Cook was through the air, it’s hard to imagine head coach Sean McDermott wanting to put the genie back in the bottle. Additionally, Cook actually out-carried Singletary 14-13. I certainly appreciated Cook’s involvement on the ground as it helped me win my Singletary total yardage lower on Underdog Fantasy.

Singletary did punch in a short touchdown and was the clear goal-line back. That will remain a knock on Cook — he’s unlikely to score any touchdowns, as that job seems to remain with Singletary. But that doesn’t mean Cook doesn’t have tremendous utility as a 40% snap share back in one of the most explosive offenses in the league.

How Aggressively Should Fantasy Managers Pursue Cook Off the Waiver Wire?

Cook is out there in over 75% of Yahoo leagues. Fantasy managers are having to deal with losing guys like Kenneth Walker III and Courtland Sutton. Michael Carter might miss another week. We have no guarantee Joe Mixon will clear the concussion protocol this week. And, to add insult to injury, there are six teams on bye in this all-important final week of the fantasy regular season.

Cook can help your team. If you’re in a bind, you can start him and feel good about getting at least 6-8 points. There’s also the chance he simply overtakes Singletary. The Bills have no real allegiance to Singletary and could flip the timeshare if Cook continues to look like the superior back.

It’s time to do whatever it takes to either make the playoffs, secure that bye, or set yourself up for a championship run. At this point, nothing else matters but getting to the next week.

If you need Cook, spend all the FAAB you have left. If you play in a league that still uses the continual rolling list waiver priority system, use your highest priority if you need to.

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