Two weeks ago I wrote up Dalvin Cook as a dynasty sell. My argument boiled down to the following three points:
- His offense limits his PPR value.
- His 2019 production has been driven by efficiency, not workload.
- The enthusiasm for Cook means that when shopping him even the most coveted players in dynasty are on the table.
Today I want to revisit Cook, because the situation has markedly changed — but not in the way I anticipated.
Over the last two weeks, Cook’s wildly unsustainable efficiency has finally come back to earth. When profiling Cook as a sell, I highlighted that 45% of his production in Weeks 1-2 came from his efficiency. Over that span, his raw workload afforded him 29.5 expected fantasy points (EP), and Cook added an additional 24.6 points through highly efficient play beyond expectation.
Since then, Cook has added a much more reasonable 4.7 points through efficiency. But he has added this efficiency to a much larger workload.
Cook’s 19.8 EP in Week 3 is tied for the third-most valuable workload of his career. His 20.1 EP in Week 4 is the second-most valuable workload he’s seen.
This is a big deal. But how it happened is just as important.
In Week 3, Mike Zimmer’s Vikings passed 21 times — exactly matching their average pass attempts from Weeks 1 and 2. If Minnesota maintained its three-week passing pace, it would register 336 regular season passing attempts, which would be the lowest total since the 1990 Los Angeles Raiders. But in Week 4, the Vikings were forced off script by a dominant Bears defense that had them trailing the entire game.
To Cook’s credit, he still delivered positive rushing efficiency in that spot, but he wasn’t nearly as effective as he’d been to start the year.
More importantly, the Vikings were only able to provide Cook with 8.3 rushing EP, his lowest total of the season.
This type of game is exactly why I was advocating selling Cook in the first place. Cook, who had just five targets through Week 2, was particularly vulnerable to a collapse in his fantasy production because of his small receiving workload.
Or so I thought.
It turns out that in Week 4 the Vikings simply moved off Plan A (riding Cook in the rushing game) to Plan B (riding Cook in the receiving game). As a result, Cook earned eight of Kirk Cousin’s 36 passing targets for a team-high 22% target share.
While it’s only one game, the fact that Cook posted the second-most valuable workload of his career in a negative game script helps ease concerns that he’s game script dependent. It also goes a long way in justifying his lofty dynasty price.
Cook’s price should have risen slightly or at least solidified since before Week 3. His subsequent Week 4 performance doesn’t further raise his price tag, but it could encourage more interest from potential buyers.
Personally, I’d still be looking to move him at an elite price. But I’d be doing it in a “cashing out for a player with a longer track record” type of way, and not a “holy shit I can’t believe I was able to make that trade” kind of way.
I would pretty easily flip him straight up for Kamara, for example, because even with a likely production gap in the weeks without Drew Brees, I prefer the safety of Kamara’s more established passing game role. But Cook is starting to demand recognition as a truly elite dynasty commodity, and you should make sure to get back elite value if you trade him.