When the Minnesota Vikings chose to release Dalvin Cook earlier this off-season, speculation immediately revolved around the AFC East with the Patriots, Jets, and Dolphins all potentially vying for his services. In the end, Cook decided the New York Jets gave him the best chance at winning a championship (I’ve written for this site for 16 years and that may be the first time I’ve ever written that sentence). Still, with Aaron Rodgers now at the helm and the Jets clearly in win-now mode, Cook has agreed to a big-money contract to fill in as the starter this season and chase a title while New York seemingly gives Breece Hall some time to heal from his late season torn ACL from 2022. It’s a significant signing in dynasty and reality, so let’s run down the players whose values are affected the most.
Dalvin Cook, RB NYJ
Those who have been around dynasty leagues for any amount of time likely remember the massive overreaction the fantasy community (and the NFL, for that matter) had after Cook’s awful 2017 NFL Combine performance that resulted in him dropping all the way down to the second round, where he was subsequently scooped up by Minnesota with the 41st overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. It proved to be a value pick for the Vikings and for the dynasty community as Cook dropped into the middle of the first round in most rookie drafts. The rest, as they say, is history as Cook proved to be the dynamic playmaker we saw in college at Florida State. Over his six years in the league, he’s posted 5,993 rushing yards, caught 221 passes for another 1,794 yards and scored a whopping 52 total touchdowns in the process. While he’s battled some injuries (he’s played in 73 career games over those six years), Cook has proven to be an elite-level player throughout his career.
Now 28, Cook is likely looking for a title and the Jets have assembled quite the superteam this off-season. With Hall recovering from an ACL injury, Cook should get plenty of chances early and often as he looks to parlay this one-year pact into a final two or three-year deal at this time next off-season, though he himself has to get healthy after off-season surgery. This has the smell of a serious buying opportunity for contending teams as Cook is surely looking at the back-end of his career and the Jets likely willing to ride him pretty hard this season. His ADP had dipped all the way down to under 100 for the first time ever. While he’s never going to get back into the top 30 in terms of dynasty assets, he could very well be a low-cost option that could be a solid difference maker for dynasty teams in the short-term – these lower cost veteran buying opportunities can make a league contender into a league winner.
Breece Hall, RB NYJ
I typically avoid giving too much advice in these “quick hitter” trade or signing pieces but I’m going to deviate from that with this one and share one word – pounce. Hall has an incredibly bright future and even though he suffered a tough injury last season, a torn ACL for running backs seems like a rite of passage just like Tommy John surgery is for pitchers these days. In short, that injury and this subsequent signing really should mean very little for Hall’s long-term value. At this time next season, Cook will have likely moved on and Hall will have a year where he wasn’t overworked and eased back in following his injury. Savvy dynasty managers should look at this as an opportunity to buy while new dynasty managers may overreact and think Hall’s long-term value has somehow been zapped. While 2023 is looking like a slow return and a bit of a waste in terms of his dynasty value, it shouldn’t mean much in the long-term scheme of things.
Now it becomes a little more complicated. Carter was slated to have a nice little short-term bump in value but that’s likely going to go by the wayside with Cook in town. Knight has shown some promise in limited action as well but it’s hard to see many opportunities coming his way as he’s moved down one more spot on the depth chart. If either of these players play well early in the season, it might be time to cash out and get some minor assets in return.
Dolphins Running Backs
The winners in this deal are honestly likely in the running back room in Miami and that includes Raheem Mostert, De’Von Achane, Jeff Wilson, and Myles Gaskin. The Dolphins were interested in Cook and many thought he’d ultimately end up there after leaving his long New York visit without a contract. Instead, this crew all dodged a serious value bullet and it seems Miami will roll into the season with this group of runners intact. Achane clearly has the biggest upside and Cook signing with the Jets will solidify him as a first round rookie pick. We know Mostert and Wilson can be dominant at times but neither has been able to stay healthy for a long stretch of time. If everyone is active on game days, this is going to be a mess. However, history has shown us that’s unlikely and Achane really does look like he has a golden opportunity to really establish himself this season even if he isn’t a “plug and play” option in dynasty leagues initially.
- The Dynasty Aftermath: Why Taylor Swift isn’t Good Enough for Travis Kelce - September 26, 2023
- Lineup Advice: Week 4 - September 26, 2023
- The Dynasty Fantasy Football Impact of the Mike Williams Knee Injury - September 25, 2023