Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook has been one the best rushers for the last three years, in both fantasy and reality.
His 2020 season in particular was one to remember: 312 carries, 1,557 yards, 16 touchdowns to go with 44 catches for 361 yards and another score.
He's been a top-five option in the first round of fantasy drafts for a while now, and at just 26 years old (he'll be 27 by the season's start) he's the consensus fourth-ranked running back and player overall by our fantasy football analysts. The sky seems to be the limit for Cook as part of a Vikings offense that has been productive for fantasy managers.
Of course, when discussing Cook's fantasy outlook, we have to talk about the elephant in the room. Or rather, the elephant out of the room — emphasis on "OUT."
Injuries hold Dalvin Cook back from being the cream of the fantasy running back crop
You see, Cook has missed at least two-three games every season of his career. Whether it's been a balky hamstring or regular wear-and-tear, the missed games have unfortunately become a predictable event. And sometimes, those games happen late in the season, when fantasy managers need him most.
Of course, the Vikings themselves fare a bit better when Cook misses games — because they have Alexander Mattison.
Cook's primary backup, the soon-to-be 24-year-old Mattison is extremely talented, averaging 4.2 yards per carry throughout his career in limited work. When he takes over for Cook — when the latter misses time — however, is when he truly shines. In fact, Mattison rushed for over 90 yards in all three games he received a starter's workload in 2021.
So, is it a viable 2022 fantasy football draft strategy to select BOTH Cook and Mattison, or is it planning for something that may not happen?