By Andrew Erickson (FantasyPros), Fri, Sep 1st 2023, 10:35am EDT
James Cook was used in a limited fashion during his rookie season, topping out at just a 56% snap share in Week 18 versus the Patriots. However, it should be noted that Cook forced a 60-40 split from Week 13 onward with veteran Devin Singletary. The first-year rusher averaged a 40% snap share over the team's final seven games, matching Singletary point-for-point (RB25 in points per game). Cook was also the superior rusher in the season's totality capping off his year by averaging 5.3 yards per carry (5th). He earned PFF's No. 1 ranking in breakaway run rate (44%). The spurts of explosiveness and receiving ability will work in Cook's favor as he enters Year 2 with the potential to emerge as Buffalo's Day 1 starter, with Damien Harris as his main competition.
The Harris signing signifies that the second-year pro is locked-in to the elite pass-catching role vacated in the backfield. In 2022, Singletary finished third among all running backs in route participation (57%). Considering Cook's 27% target rate per route run - equal or better than Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara in 2022, 5th among all RBs with at least 30 targets - I fully expect him to take on a much larger role as a receiver in a Bills passing attack that is shrouded with question marks behind Stefon Diggs. Nyheim Hines' season-ending injury further solidifies Cook as the No. 1 pass-catcher out of the backfield.