As we gear up to the start of the NFL season, Football Absurdity is going to bring you a comprehensive breakdown of every notable player that will be available in fantasy football drafts. It seems like year after year, I find another reason to not like Jared Cook. Usually, it’s people constructing partial seasons into a much better stat line to try to support their valuations of him. This year, it’s a much more obvious reason that I am out on Jared Cook.
Jared Cook ADP and AAV:
Standard ADP: TE10, 93 overall
PPR ADP: TE10, 98 overall
Average Auction Value: $3
Jared Cook Statistics:
Jared Cook Overview:
Jared Cook was the original player that fantasy football twitter tried to make a thing through sheer power of will. Eventually, they clapped enough in 2018 and Jared Cook receiving 101 targets from the Oakland Raiders before absconding off to New Orleans, where tight ends not named Jimmy Graham go to die. Jared Cook proved me and all the other haters wrong by turning in the eighth-most TE fantasy points per game last season. Please note, the haters were not silenced.
Cook played in fourteen games last year, receiving 65 targets. This was fewer than Evan Engram (eight games) and Hunter Henry (12 games). It was also in the same ballpark as guys like Gerald Everett, Jimmy Graham, and Tyler Eifert. Big oof. Jared Cook ended the season, fourteenth in catches. His career-high yards per target efficiency and upping his single-season touchdown high by 50% certainly helped. While his nine touchdowns built on 2018, his 10.8 yards per target was 1.4 more than his previous career-high… in 2011. Granted, this was his best offense yet, but it’s still a bit hinky.
It’s doubly hinky when you consider how much of Cook’s value was tied up in his absurd touchdown rate. To put that part as short as possible: 26 tight ends had 50+ targets and 2+ touchdowns last season. Mark Andrews and Jared Cook were the only ones to score a touchdown on more than 7.5% of their catches. Mark Andrews sat at an unsustainable-appearing 10.2% touchdown rate… and nearly 14% of Jared Cook’s targets turned into scores. Since 1992, when they first started tracking targets, 544 tight ends have 50+ targets and 2+ touchdowns. Seventeen of them have a touchdown rate over 13%… and only Rob Gronkowski and Julius Thomas have multiple seasons of that touchdown rate.
Jared Cook Draft Strategy:
Jared Cook has a narrow band of outcomes unless things completely fall apart. He sits in the middle of the tight ends whose season-ending ranks could be randomly generated and make sense, but his band seems… narrower. He reminds me at this point of a poor man’s Delanie Walker before injuries derailed that particular fantasy football safety blanket.
Jared Cook feels like the type of guy who has a high chance of ending up somewhere between TE6 and TE12, and not really anywhere else. He sits in the middle of that ping-pong range, a bastion of what should be backend TE production without the highs and lows usually associated with that draft slot. Will he return his absurd touchdown rate from last year? Absolutely not. Will he have just 65 targets for the fourth time in his career (obviously ignoring injury seasons)? I doubt that, too. More targets means more catches and yardage, despite normal regression meaning fewer touchdowns. All-in-all, things should even out for Cook, making him a good steady Eddie if you are wary about taking two swings at back-end TEs but also don’t want to pay up for the cream of the position’s crop.
Best Case Scenario:
Jared Cook gets 100+ targets and his yards per target evens out. He ends up around 900 yards and 7 touchdowns. He ends up around TE5.
Worst Case Scenario:
Jared Cook gets 50 targets and his yards per target maintain. He ends up around 500 yards and 5 touchdowns. He ends up around TE15.