Not So "Fantasy" Football

Offering a realistic and objective fantasy viewpoint with as much honesty as I can muster.
4 Aug

Late Round Receiver Vol. 3: Jared Cook

Unfamiliar face in a new place. That's about all that most can say regarding TE Jared Cook, and even then half of the guys in your league probably couldn't tell you that he jumped ship from the not so titillating Titans to the equally flaccid St. Louis Rams. The upside is the Rams were a bit more successful in the offseason at improving their roster with the addition of former first round pick Jake Long to add some beef to the O-line and speedy rookie Tavon Austin to burn the sidelines, among others.

One of those "others" happened to be 2009 third round TE Jared Cook. For a TE though, Cook plays a lot like a WR. He's built like a bulldozer at 6'5" 250lbs but handles like a sports car boasting a 4.49 40-time. Reminds me just a little bit of Vernon Davis (6'3" 248lbs, 4.38 40-time). Needless to say, this young man is quite athletic for a TE.

One of the biggest driving forces for Cook's success this year could come from former Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher, who currently coaches the Rams. Fisher frequently raves about Cook's versatility in the offense, lining him up at TE, slot and even tailback in OTAs. According to Dave Richard of CBSSports, "Rams coach Jeff Fisher said new tight end Jared Cook will be used 'all over the place' including the backfield." With all the changes the Rams have gone through and the uncertainty surrounding their offensive strategy this year, it's intriguing to consider the role the speedy TE will play. Whether or not we see him featured in the backfield from time to time, Cook will most definitely be a receiving presence.

One major upside is his QB situation. Some nay-sayers may not consider the transition from Jake Locker to Sam Bradford an "upgrade" but I beg to differ. Bradford has continued to improve, although slowly, each year and despite the removal of his former offensive centerpiece, Danny Amendola, he's probably got the best receiving corps he's had since joining the league; a bunch of fast, versatile sleepers (see: Tavon Austin, Lance Kendricks, Andrew Helmick). This could mean feast or famine for the Rams but the ceiling is very high and I love risks like that.

Analysis: Cook is entering the season healthy and strong. He's impressing in OTAs and from the talk the Rams are generating, he might actually be fully utilized. When you've got a 6'5" TE with WR speed, you're going to create some mismatches and that's exactly what's happening in camp. The dynamic tight end is coming in to the season ranked just outside of the top 10, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if he generates top 6 numbers by the playoffs. Expect Bradford to lean on him and produce close to 70 receptions for 800 yards and 5TDs with some upside. You can find him in the 9th round of standard 12 team leagues according to fantasyfootballcalculator.