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Game-By-Game Projections: Dalvin Cook (2020 Fantasy Football)

Jun 18, 2020

Dalvin Cook is threatening a holdout if the Vikings don’t extend his contract

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Below are the game-by-game projections for Dalvin Cook. It takes into account all factors from athletic profile and volume of touches to offensive line talent, surrounding skill player talent, matchups, game scripts, and the likelihood of injury to Cook and those surrounding him. Let’s take a look at his game by game expectations in 2020.

You can find our entire 2020 Player Game-By-Game Projection series here.

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Week 1: vs Green Bay Packers
Much like Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon last season, Cook seems likely to hold out because he is wasting the best years of his career on a cheap rookie contract. He makes just over 2 million per year despite being one of the league’s top running backs, and is risking a much larger payday if he commits to playing without an extension.

Again, similar to Zeke and Gordon, though, Cook has exceptional talent behind him at the position so he has virtually no leverage. The new CBA also makes holding out more damaging to players so even if this extends into the season, don’t expect it to be a four-week ordeal like Gordon, nor will Minnesota have to cave, like Jerry Jones did with Zeke, to Cook’s demands of being the highest-paid running back in the NFL.

Predicted stat line: 0 carries, 0 rush yds, 0 rush TDs, 0 receptions, 0 yds, 0 TDs — 0 fantasy pts


Week 2: @ Indianapolis Colts
After watching Alexander Mattison and Mike Boone run wild on the Packers in Week 1, Cook caves and reports back to the team. He isn’t immediately handed the workhorse load that fantasy owners grew used to seeing last season, but he does sneak into the end zone and compile 87 yards on limited touches.

Predicted stat line: 14 carries, 65 rush yds, 0 rush TDs, 3 receptions, 22 yds, 1 TDs — 16.2 fantasy pts


Week 3: vs Tennessee Titans
The Titans should have a strong run defense this season so they are able to slow down Cook and Mattison on the ground early on. Once the Vikings get behind, they begin to air it out and Cook finds his way into five receptions, but without a score or many yards.

Predicted stat line: 16 carries, 46 rush yds, 0 rush TDs, 5 receptions, 24 yds, 0 TDs — 9.5 fantasy pts


Week 4: @ Houston Texans
For the second straight week, Cook is given 20+ touches but this time it is with an entirely different game script. The Vikings get up early on Houston and run the heck out of the ball to drain the clock and hold on to their lead. Although Cook totals 100+ yards on the ground, not getting in the end zone keeps fantasy owners from a huge day.

Predicted stat line: 21 carries, 103 rush yds, 0 rush TDs, 1 receptions, 18 yds, 0 TDs — 12.6 fantasy pts


Week 5: @ Seattle Seahawks
This big-time RB1 performance was bound to happen eventually as Cook finally reaches bell-cow status with a whopping 28 touches in a come-behind win in Seattle. Not only does he gather 130+ total yards but Cook finds his way back into the end zone for the first time since Week 2.

Predicted stat line: 21 carries, 80 rush yds, 1 rush TDs, 7 receptions, 51 yds, 0 TDs — 22.6 fantasy pts


Week 6: vs Atlanta Falcons
Although the touches weren’t there to the same degree, Cook posts 161 total yards and two scores against a lackluster Falcons defense in a shootout to become the Week’s #1 fantasy running back. By this point in the season, Cook is now the RB11 despite missing Week 1 and being eased back into the offense. Fantasy Owners are rejoicing for having taking a shot on him despite the holdout.

Predicted stat line: 17 carries, 82 rush yds, 2 rush TDs, 5 receptions, 79 yds, 0 TDs — 30.6 fantasy pts


Week 7: BYE WEEK


Week 8: @ Green Bay Packers
Coming off the bye week, Cook’s legs are fresh and he is fed with a whopping 17 touches in the first two and half quarters against their division rival. Unfortunately, he suffers yet another shoulder injury (shoulders are among the most easily recurring injuries) and is pulled from the game.

Predicted stat line: 12 carries, 64 rush yds, 0 rush TDs, 5 receptions, 43 yds, 0 TDs — 13.2 fantasy pts


Week 9: vs Detroit Lions
Cook may have been able to suit up for this contest but with the Lions struggling once again, Minnesota opts to go with Mattison and Boone who tore it up against Green Bay in the second half. Fantasy owners hope Cook will return to 100% for Week’s 10 game in Chicago.

Predicted stat line: 0 carries, 0 rush yds, 0 rush TDs, 0 receptions, 0 yds, 0 TDs — 0 fantasy pts


Week 10: @ Chicago Bears
Cook is back and looks healthy but with Mattison rushing for 140 yards against Detroit, this has suddenly become a bit of a messy situation. The Bears slow down Cook but Mike Boone scampers 60 yards into the end zone and fantasy owners are pulling their hair out wondering if the Vikings will proceed with a three-headed committee. 

Predicted stat line: 14 carries, 38 rush yds, 0 rush TDs, 1 receptions, 14 yds, 0 TDs — 5.7 fantasy pts


Week 11: vs Dallas Cowboys
We see much of the same early on in this game regarding the split workload but when the Vikings find themselves trailing, Cook is on the field for virtually every play because of his receiving skills. He takes a screen to the house late in the game to finally give fantasy owners another RB1 performance.

Predicted stat line: 15 carries, 44 rush yds, 0 rush TDs, 6 receptions, 99 yds, 1 TDs — 23.3 fantasy pts


Week 12: vs Carolina Panthers
With Alexander Mattison inactive for this game, Cook is given a heavier dose of touches than fantasy owners had grown to expect. He makes the most of his opportunity, rushing for over 120 yards and pounding it in for three scores.

Predicted stat line: 26 carries, 121 rush yds, 3 rush TDs, 2 receptions, 22 yds, 0 TDs — 33.3 fantasy pts


Week 13: vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Mattison is back but with the way Cook ran the ball the prior game, it is clear that Minnesota considers him their workhorse once again. He performs even better with 180 total yards and 3 more scores before the offense is handed over to the second team.

Predicted stat line: 20 carries, 165 rush yds, 2 rush TDs, 3 receptions, 15 yds, 1 TDs — 37.5 fantasy pts


Week 14: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
We don’t find out until late in the week that Dalvin Cook is dealing with a minor knee injury. Fantasy owners are scrambling to find a replacement as both Mattison and Boone are owned virtually everywhere already. Cook is ruled out just before kickoff of the first week of fantasy football playoffs.

Predicted stat line: 0 carries, 0 rush yds, 0 rush TDs, 0 receptions, 0 yds, 0 TDs — 0 fantasy pts 


Week 15: vs Chicago Bears
With the playoffs already out of reach, the Vikings take it easy on Cook’s knee and hold him out one more week. Keep in mind, the average starting running back misses two and a half games from injury over the course of a full season. In Cook’s case, that number should be expected to be a little higher considering his shoulder issues and the holdout concern.

Predicted stat line: 0 carries, 0 rush yds, 0 rush TDs, 0 receptions, 0 yds, 0 TDs — 0 fantasy pts


Week 16: @ New Orleans Saints
Fantasy owners are scratching their heads wondering what to do with Cook’s return for their fantasy championship week. Not only is he battling a blazing hot Alexander Mattison for touches again but he may be eased back into the offense and against a lights out Saints’ run defense. Those who started Cook chose incorrectly as he is slowed to just 39 yards on 12 touches.

Predicted stat line: 7 carries, 13 rush yds, 0 rush TDs, 5 receptions, 26 yds, 0 TDs — 6.4 fantasy pts


Week 17: @ Detroit Lions
Although fantasy season is behind most of us, Cook tallies two more scores in the final week of the season. You can expect him to put up more touchdowns through the air this year thanks to good ole’ positive regression. The opposite, though, is true for his 13 rushing touchdowns on the ground during the 2019 season.

Predicted stat line: 13 carries, 51 rush yds, 1 rush TDs, 2 receptions, 30 yds, 1 TDs — 21.1 fantasy pts

2020 Season Totals

See the chart below for full weekly stat breakdowns (for half-PPR leagues) along with season totals:

Week Opponent Touches Rushes Rushing Yds Rushing TDs Receptions Receiving Yds Receiving TDs Fantasy Points
1 vs GB 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
2 @ IND 17 14 65 0 3 22 1 16.2
3 vs TEN 21 16 46 0 5 24 0 9.5
4 @ HOU 22 21 103 0 1 18 0 12.6
5 @ SEA 28 21 80 1 7 51 0 22.6
6 vs ATL 22 17 82 2 5 79 0 30.6
8 @ GB 17 12 64 0 5 43 0 13.2
9 vs DET 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
10 @ CHI 15 14 38 0 1 14 0 5.7
11 vs DAL 21 15 44 0 6 99 1 23.3
12 vs CAR 28 26 121 3 2 22 0 33.3
13 vs JAX 23 20 165 2 3 15 1 37.5
14 @ TB 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
15 vs CHI 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
16 @ NO 12 7 13 0 5 26 0 6.4
17 @ DET 15 13 51 1 2 30 1 21.1
TOTAL 241 196 872 9 45 443 4 232.0

 

Summary

Cook is a tremendous player in an offense committed to the run. Unfortunately, he is threatening a holdout, has a shoulder injury that seems to resurface every so often, plays an extremely injury-prone position, and has two excellent young running backs behind him on the depth chart. If we were to extrapolate these numbers out to a full 16-game season, Cook put up enough fantasy points to finish as the #2 half-PPR running back in 2019. Unfortunately, he is only active for 12 games in this scenario and only manages to finish as the RB8. If the threat of a holdout continues into the pre-season, he will likely be drafted around that territory.

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