If you had Buffalo Bills’ rookie running back James Cook on your fantasy team in the second half of the season, he was good depth to have but maybe not a reliable flex player. Cook was sharing carries with former Bills, now Houston Texans running back Devin Singletary and was more of a second option in the backfield.
In 2022, Cook only put up double digit fantasy points twice, with his most coming against the Chicago Bears at 16.8 points (11 carries for 99 yards and a trip to the end zone).
It is a new year for Cook heading into 2023. With Singletary out of Buffalo, and the Bills only bringing in Damien Harris and Latavius Murray on one-year deals as true downhill runners, the doors are open for Cook to not only become the featured back in the Bills offense, but also rise in fantasy football.
With reports coming out of training camp that the Bills are getting Cook involved in the passing game, he might be able to provide fantasy value as a pass-catching back in PPR leagues. Not only that, but offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey has even mentioned the possibility of Cook being an every down type of back. While it makes more sense for Harris or Murray to take the carries on third down with less than three yards from the first, I wouldn’t consider taking Cook out if the offense plans to have Josh Allen throw a dump off pass on the outside of Cook.
Finished with just 84 points last season, there is an expectation that Cook will finish higher than that. Going into his second year with the Bills, as well as the second season under Dorsey, Cook doesn’t need to learn the offense. He has an advantage as compared to Harris and Murray when it comes to learning the offense as well as the ability to pick up receptions in the offense.