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TRADING SPACES: Jared Cook


By Jamie Will, DFW Senior Writer and Co-Owner, @JWill2412

// DFW / REDRAFT 2016 SERIES

KEY VITALS
In the fantasy football world (and often the “real” football world), there is often this paradox in which a player is marked as having immense potential despite not realizing said potential when it counts.  These types of guys tend to get opportunity after opportunity, as the next team/coach believe they’re the ones who can crack the code.  Arguably the leader when it comes to this dubious distinction is TE Jared Cook, formerly of the Rams and Titans, who is now signed with the Packers.  Cook entered the NFL as a third-round pick in 2009 out of South Carolina, and he quickly drew a ton of buzz based on outstanding pre-draft measurable, including a 4.49 forty at 6’5 246.  Cook had decent production at SC but nothing earth shattering (73 total receptions, 1107 yards, 7 TD), yet many prognosticators ignored his college production and anointed Cook as one of the leaders of the “new breed” of tight end entering the NFL.  In his seven seasons so far, Cook has largely underwhelmed while producing season highs of just 52 catches, 759 yards, and 5 touchdowns (those numbers seem to point to his college production as an indicator more than the measurables… no?) But, here we are with Cook now a Packer and ESPN beat-writers proclaiming Cook as the Packers’ “best off-season addition” and that Aaron Rodgers finally has that “big body to attack the seams.”  Cook is still physically a great athlete and he now enters perhaps the best possible situation a tight-end could hope for after doing close to nothing to warrant such an opportunity.  Will the same-old underwhelming narrative have a new (and likely final) chapter?  Or will the greatness of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense finally lead Cook to flourish? Either way, a ton of fantasy owners will take the bait and will find out.

 

CAREER STATISTICS

YEARTEAMGAMESGAMES STARTEDRECEPTIONSYARDSYPCTDS
2015St. Louis Rams16123948112.30
2014St. Louis Rams1665263412.23
2013St. Louis Rams16135167113.25
2012Tennessee Titans1354452311.94
2011Tennessee Titans1654975915.53
2010Tennessee Titans1612936112.41
2009Tennessee Titans1409748.20
TOTAL107422733,50312.816

 

FANTASY OUTLOOK
jaredcppl2After that entire first section in which the tone was admittedly negative regarding Cook’s body of work, I will admit that I am one of those poor owners who have been burned by Cook before and possibly will be again.  Let’s face it, he is an ideal flier for a later TE option now that he is in this offense and it makes sense to take a shot on him, provided you don’t need to rely on him. Aaron Rodgers led a punchless TE corps led by Richard Rodgers to a combined 70+ catches, almost 650 yards, and 9 touchdowns last year (counting H-back/Fullback Justin Perillo’s output).  The yardage obviously isn’t pretty and speaks to the lack of explosiveness within this group, but the reception and touchdown totals speak to the type of opportunity Cook will have.  Rodgers did do well at times last year and possibly has favor with Aaron “the other” Rodgers, but it is telling that the Packers deliberately went after Cook when their typical mode is to sit out of free agency.  Cook will have every chance to become “the guy” and he needs to take hold of it during the summer.  If he is the starter, I expect some inconsistency (it is Jared Cook, after all) but the potential for huge games when defenses focus extra attention out wide.  Cook is an absolute hold in dynasty and worth the look if you can acquire him from burnt-out owners as a wild-card.  Just remember… Do whatever you can not to have to rely on him!

 

FFWIMAGE-PackersNEW TEAM IMPACT
It’s been touched on a bit already, but this is a low-risk, potentially high-reward signing by the Packers and one that Aaron Rodgers should be happy about on paper.  Rodgers has demonstrated the ability, and desire, to attack the seams via TE over the years, but the personnel has become so poor since Jermichael Finley’s unfortunate injuries that he had to look elsewhere first.  If Cook catches the ball reliably, learns the offense, and gains Rodgers’ trust (all big-if’s…), he could be a huge addition that helps Rodgers and all of the other skill position players by forcing defenses to respect his presence in the middle.

 

FFWIMAGE-RamsOLD TEAM IMPACT
The Rams are in the midst of a total roster overhaul, so they surely don’t miss Jared Cook’s presence.  The big reason for that is that he hardly did enough at any point to say that he truly had a presence.  The Rams move forward with holdover Lance Kendricks and rookie Tyler Higbee (unless legal proceedings take a negative turn) and they won’t look back, even though the TE group still leaves a whole lot to be desired.