In fantasy football, tight end is probably the most volatile and barren position out there. The top tier is easy to decipher: Zach Ertz, Travis Kelce, and George Kittle. However, tier two consists of basically the rest of draftable tight ends. In reality, there are rarely enough tight ends who can be a productive week in and week out for every fantasy team in a league. Jared Cook is one name who has been climbing draft boards the past few years. Though in the twilight of his career, Cook is on a team that should make him a lock for a top-five finish at the position.
Jared Cook 2019 Fantasy Football Preview
Cook was a very late bloomer at tight end in fantasy football. He was touted as a breakout candidate for years, first with the Tennessee Titans, and then with the then-St. Louis Rams. His best year was all the way in 2011 with the Titans, where he racked up over 700 yards receiving. He fell off a bit the next year, and then the Titans let him walk in free agency, where he signed with the Rams. His first season in 2013 with them was actually his best. He caught 51 passes for 671 yards and five touchdowns. This gave him a TE11 finish in standard leagues. His upside looked great at this point.
However, it was only downhill from there. He had about the same amount of catches and yards, but his measly three touchdowns dropped him all the way down to a TE15 finish the following season. He completely washed out his final season with the Rams, only accumulating 481 yards and no touchdowns in 2015. He played for the Green Bay Packers in 2016, but only appeared in ten games. He did show some potential in the playoffs for the team, catching this beauty of a pass that clinched the game for them:
Unbelievable catch by Jared Cook to keep the Packers season alive. pic.twitter.com/P69I2yObHI
— 360°FantasyFootball (@360FFB) July 9, 2017
With the Oakland Raiders, Cook turned back the clock, putting in his best fantasy season in years. He still only managed a TE15 finish, but he got the attention of the fantasy community again as one of the few bright spots on a disappointing Oakland team. He continued to show his skills last season, putting up his best year as a pro. It also gave him a TE5 finish. This was with Derek Carr and a bunch of backup wide receivers on the field. Opposing teams knew that Cook was the only weapon but still couldn’t stop him.
Excellent Position Now with Brees
At 32 years old and on his fifth NFL team, there are plenty of questions on if Cook will be able to keep up his upward trend in fantasy football production. However, Cook is also undoubtedly on the best team he’s been on in his career. Sure, his quarterback is up there in years, but he’s also first-ballot Hall of Famer, Drew Brees.
The Saints were desperate for a target to complement All-Pro wide receiver, Michael Thomas. Thomas saw a ridiculous 147 targets, which was almost as much as the next two players combined. Alvin Kamara got 105 targets, which is also a lot for a running back. Ben Watson, who was 38 years old last season, was third on the team with 46 targets. Cook should easily eat up all of Watson’s targets, along with some from Thomas, Kamara, and others like Ted Ginn.
He does have a little variance in his ADP. Some are rating him TE5. Overall, he’s looking at an ADP of around TE7, back in the seventh round or so. TE7 overall. Rated behind O.J. Howard, Evan Engram, and right ahead of Vance McDonald in some cases. Admittedly, Cook’s age gives him less upside compared to younger guys like Howard and Engram. However, with Brees throwing him the ball in a high-powered offense, it seems tough for him to do much worse than TE7.
This makes him a safe pick for players who hold off on drafting him for as long as possible. It seems unlikely that McDonald, Trey Burton, or Austin Hooper outscore him. He even has a chance to outscore guys ahead of him like Eric Ebron, who now has more competition for targets in Devin Funchess and a healthy Jack Doyle. Howard is also consistently rated ahead of him. Though he has upside, he’s yet to show consistency in his career, something Cook has done the past few years.
With Cook on his best offense ever, he should easily attain at least the TE5 spot at season’s end.
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