Dalvin Cook has only played in three games so far this season, and his fantasy owners may have to do without him for a couple more.
As rookie in 2017, Dalvin Cook hit the ground running with 354 rushing yards (4.8 yards per carry in four games. But a torn ACL in that fourth game ended his season. He was ready in time for Week 1 this year, but a hamstring injury suffered late in Week 2 has nagged Cook since.
Heading into Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals, Cook was on track to return in a limited capacity before being declared inactive. There was no such optimism heading into Week 7, as he was ruled out on Thursday, and Cook missed his third straight game.
Fantasy football owners that drafted Leonard Fournette know all about fits, starts and a multi-week absence with a nagging hamstring issue, as he’s expected to be out through Jacksonville’s Week 9 bye. Now, Cook’s fantasy owners are facing the same issue.
According to ESPN’s Courtney Cronin, Cook is expected to be sidelined through Minnesota’s Week 10 bye. That means two more missed games, against the New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions, before a potential return in Week 11 against the Chicago Bears. From a fantasy perspective, that also means Cook won’t be available again until the final three weeks of the regular season in most leagues.
Latavius Murray has stepped in capably for Cook, with 224 rushing yards (5.7 yards per carry) and three touchdowns over the last two games. He’s become a hot waiver wire add in fantasy, due to the ongoing questions about Cook’s status, but there’s still some room to add him (72.5 percent owned in ESPN leagues, 78 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues). Wednesday’s news makes it even more worthwhile to at least check on Murray’s availability in your league.
Cook owners in leagues with 12 or more teams, or with a short bench, have a tough decision to make on him in the midst of bye weeks (including six teams idle in Week 9). Dropping him seems like a step too far, but it’s definitely on the table now.