An Elite No. 1 Falling Out of the First Round
In 2018 fantasy drafts, a clear second tier of running backs has emerged. Over the back halves of virtually every first round, the same names will come off the board in any typical draft, in some order: Saquon Barkley, Melvin Gordon III, Kareem Hunt, Leonard Fournette. And to that end, it looks odd to see Dalvin Cook consistently falling behind the pack. He rarely finds his way into first rounds, but projects to the same ball-dominant, workhorse role as the names above. He's clearly been given the keys to the Minnesota backfield – a team Vegas currently projects to 10 wins – and if his shortened rookie season was any indication, he's up to the challenge. Boasting a blend of sharp eyes, quick feet, and soft hands out of the backfield, Cook was among the NFL's more efficient producers before falling to an ACL tear in Week 4. He dominated the Minnesota backfield from the opening gun, and he produced diverse numbers in a variety of circumstances.
Early drafters seem concerned about the injury's long-term ramifications, and knee surgeries are always cause for alarm. But with his recovery looking on-track, there's not enough worry in the world to distract from his outlook as an upper-tier RB1 selection. Cook offers enough of a resume to expect efficiency – and he plays in an offense that gives drafters reason to expect success.
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