Dalvin Cook Fantasy: Should You Start or Sit the Vikings RB in Week 9?

Dalvin Cook Fantasy: Should You Start or Sit the Vikings RB in Week 9?

If you’re a fantasy football owner of Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, it’s been a tough season thus far. Unfortunately for the second-year running back who flashed tremendous upside last season, he’s been unable to get fully healthy and stay on the field. But with a crucial Week 9 divisional matchup against the Detroit Lions ahead, it seems Cook may have a real chance to return to action.
Although the 23-year-old has missed the last four games, a positive outlook was provided Friday morning. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport joined Good Morning Football and spoke about the Vikings running back and his potential to return this week.
“My understanding is that Dalvin Cook is nearing a return to the field. We’ll have to see how he makes it through practice today, on Friday, the last big-time practice of the week. But it is trending in that direction that Dalvin Cook actually could for real, seriously, I’m not joking this time, be on the field for the Vikings.” Rapoport told Good Morning Football.
“It’s been on again off again several times, remember he returned for the Thursday night game, re-injured his hamstring, we thought he was going to play a couple weeks ago but was not able to go. They do have the bye after this week, so if they want to be cautious they could do that, but it really does seem like Dalvin Cook has a legitimate and real chance to play this Sunday.”
So the big question becomes, if the Vikings running back is out there this Sunday, how should fantasy football owners approach the situation? We’ve seen Cook suffer setbacks and even struggle at times this year, so let’s break down the start-sit debate around the young back.

Should You Start or Sit Dalvin Cook in Week 9?
Obviously, this entire conversation comes down to Cook being active for the game, which seems likely at this point. Things can change quickly, but for the time being he’s trending upwards and that’s a good sign. As far as the Vikings game against the Lions goes, that’s a big part of what makes this debate even more interesting.
On the season, the Lions have struggled mightily against opposing running backs. They’ve given up 959 rushing yards on 173 carries (5.5 yards per carry) along with 34 receptions for 305 yards and seven combined touchdowns. It’s hard to make an argument that Cook doesn’t make sense as at least a name to take a chance on in the bulk of fantasy leagues.
The big concern comes down to his production. Cook has 36 carries in three games for just 98 yards (2.7 yards per carry) while catching nine passes for 107 yards. Considering he has dealt with injuries, I don’t believe the Vikings would put Cook back on the field one week ahead of their bye unless he was nearly 100 percent healthy. In turn, he makes sense as a potential fantasy option this week.

Update
As Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune revealed, the Vikings do plan to play Cook, but he will be on a limited snap count.

Sources have said the Vikings plan to play Dalvin Cook on a limited snap count Sunday. They went into the Cardinals game with a similar plan, before Cook’s hamstring wasn’t feeling good that Sunday. He was on the practice field again Friday, though, and the hope is he’ll play.
— Ben Goessling (@GoesslingStrib) November 2, 2018

I’d tread lightly with using Cook, but do believe with the six teams on bye this week that he’s a potential flex play in 12-team leagues and a RB2/flex option in larger leagues. The latest news that Cook will be on a snap count is somewhat concerning, but I do still believe he warrants flex consideration based on the number of bye weeks.
It would also be incredibly wise to monitor the Vikings running back’s status ahead of the game. There doesn’t seem to be much of a chance of a setback here, but any updates from pregame warmups Sunday could be worth considering.
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