In today’s edition of the Dynasty Workshop, Shawn Siegele examines the historic performance from Dalvin Cook and discusses how J.K. Dobbins and Zack Moss could be the key to 2021 fantasy titles – just not in the way you might think.
Each week in this space, I like to look at new developments through the lens of rankings or trades. In our current dynasty workshop series, we’ve re-drafted the 2019 and 2020 classes against each other and examined the way in which star injuries can sometimes offer rare opportunities to reload your roster. The most popular edition focused on locating the next Justin Jefferson, Chase Claypool, and D’Andre Swift. It’s only been a couple of weeks, but we’ve already gotten the big explosions from Brandon Aiyuk and J.K. Dobbins foreshadowed in that piece.
In the current edition of the Workshop, we’re going to look at Dobbins and Zack Moss, discussing potential second-half runs that rival our 2018 breakout selection Nick Chubb and our 2019 pick Miles Sanders. Is there a way to use these RBs to reset your dynasty fortunes for good?
But first, we take a look at the 48-point game from Dalvin Cook. A week after Davante Adams had the second-best Week 7 score in the last 20 years, Cook matched that performance against the Packers.
Dalvin Cook Is Making HIs Push to be the Top Overall Pick in 2021
The Vikings back is one of my highest-owned players in 2020 and a key component of my strategies in dynasty startups and high-stakes leagues. Curtis Patrick and I made him a foundation piece of our FFPC Pros v Joes startup and drafted him at No. 3 overall in our second Main Event.
He was also the pick at No. 3 overall for the Chasing OT FPC league, a draft that Colm Kelly and I participated in with the Ship Chasing duo. With a good game from Ronald Jones tonight, that team will take the points lead.
Cook provided the foundation for almost all of my new startups, including Curtis’ Black Crown dynasty and the loaded Quarantine Auction best-ball dynasty. At the mid-way point of the 2020 season, he’s positioned those very young teams to win now while building for the future.
Cook Has Been Ridiculously Good
The fourth-year pro averaged an impressive 23 PPG over the first five weeks, despite missing a large chunk of the Week 5 contest, but it was his return to the gridiron following that groin injury which will cement him in the fantasy firmament.1 In the last 20 years, only Calvin Johnson’s 14-catch, 329-yard, one-score effort in 2013 totaled more Week 8 points.
We had to buy Cook for our Chasing OT squad, as RotoViz Overtime listeners were treated to a love affair throughout the offseason. The thesis for loading up on Cook came down to three key elements:
- Cook firmly established himself as a star in 2019, averaging 24 points per game before his Week 11 injury. His profile also sported two important doubles – rushing and receiving, volume and efficiency. Cook ranked No. 3 in Expected Points (EP) and No. 3 in fantasy points over expectation (FPOE) during that stretch. He ranked No. 1 in ruEP, but his 6.6 reEP was plenty good enough to answer any questions about his talent and opportunity as a receiver. Moreover, nothing about Cook’s success was fluky. A strong finish to his second NFL season in 2018 followed on the heels of one of the best collegiate RB careers ever at Florida State.
- The Vikings had a larger RB pie in 2019 than the other competitors for picks in the No. 2 to No. 5 range. The Vikings scored 68 more points than their closest competitor, but they also held a big edge in expected points, with large gaps over both Dallas and New York in rushing and receiving.2
- The departure of Kevin Stefanski and elevation of Gary Kubiak looked like a mild plus. Even though Stefanski’s performance was impressive enough to earn a head coaching gig, Kubiak’s RB track record within the Shanahan school is up there with the greats, especially the 2010 to 2012 run for Arian Foster. During that three-year stretch, Foster absolutely hammered the biggest names of the era. Foster averaged over 22 PPG for a full three years.
In 2020 drafts, I was lucky to get the 1.03 on numerous occasions. Lucky because earlier draft slots have much higher expected win rates and lucky because the 1.03 avoided the Christian McCaffrey/Saquon Barkley carnage. I balanced those picks between Kamara and Cook, a decision which has paid off with the collapse of the Dallas Cowboys and the subsequent struggles of Ezekiel Elliott (the 1.03 by ADP). Injuries could have broken very differently, invalidating this thesis, but Cook is proving that he was a legitimate selection as high as No. 3 overall.3