Breece Hall or James Cook: Who’s the better fantasy draft pick in 2022?

No two rookie running backs have excited as much fantasy (and reality) ahead of the 2022 season as the Jets’ Breece Hall and the Bills’ James Cook. Although slated for different roles on their respective AFC East teams, both Hall and Cook are fantastic breakout candidates capable of topping their preseason rankings and ADPs.

Using half-point PPR as our scoring format to break down the difference between full PPR and standard leagues, here’s a breakdown of which rookie is the better choice.

DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Ultimate 2022 Fantasy Cheat Sheet

Breece Hall fantasy view, projection 2022

Hall was selected to take over the New York backfield. Though the Jets liked some of the lightning Michael Carter delivered as a rookie in 2021, he also struggled with durability and his skills suggested he would be more effective as a tempo changer.

There’s not much Hall can’t do on the field. He has the right combination of power, explosiveness and reception skills to be featured should he be needed that way. The Jets want to establish a powerful early-down rushing attack in former 49ers assistant Mike LaFleur’s zone-blocking system, and Hall fits that scheme perfectly.

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The Jets upgraded their offensive line with former 49ers guard Laken Tomlinson to complement youngster Alijah Vera-Tucker on the inside. Although Mekhi Becton went down in tackle again, they made a quick move to add the accomplished Duane Brown for left flank opposite former Seahawk George Fant. The Jets also improved their tight end blocking with CJ Uzomah and Tyler Conklin helping out Joe Mixon and Dalvin Cook, respectively, last season.

The Jets are expected to remain a struggling, last-place team with a lackluster defense. So the question is whether the game scripts are positive enough for Hall to live up to expectations. It’s possible that running backs are effective on overall bad teams in fantasy, as recently proven by D’Andre Swift and James Robinson.

Assuming he’s healthy, Hall can expect high volume, up to 250 carries (about 15 per game) and about three receptions per game. He will also get a lot of chances to finish rides in the red zone.

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James Cook Fantasy Outlook, Projection 2022

Cook, the younger brother of Vikings’ Dalvin, was in Georgia’s last strong timeshare with Raiders draft pick Zamir White. He was the chunk runner for the national champions, with plenty of juice and great reception skills too.

Devin Singletary had a fantastic end to 2021, making RB1 numbers the undisputed workhorse at Buffalo in the final month of the season, which he carried over to two playoff games. ZacK Moss was a threat to Singletary’s touches at one point, but he hard faded as a disappointing handcuff sophomore.

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Singletary was in control of the early work and most of the touches overall going into camp, with Cook acting as a situational pace changer and primary pass catcher from outside the backfield. Moss had been an afterthought until he made a good camp, perhaps motivated by Cook’s presence.

Singletary has flashed before and had some durability issues. He can also unwind chunk runs and is a good receiver, but Cook has more dynamic qualities. Moss, who has been plagued a bit by an ankle injury, has reportedly rediscovered his physicality and dropped out at camp.

AUCTION VALUES 2022 (Standard & PPR):
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Cook is the top draft pick of the three and was more than a luxury pick in the second round. The Bills think he’s excellent at catching shorter passes from Josh Allen. When it comes to talent, Cook beats Singletary and Moss.

But Singletary has some confidence from last season, and Moss has done a good job trying to win something back with new offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, who was promoted to replace Brian Daboll.

That leaves Cook with a wide range of results. Somewhere in the middle, it’s a valuable flex-and-plus handcuff in PPR-heavy leagues. At worst, he gets into a chaotic “hot hand” committee with Singletary and Moss and sees less than 150 touches with limited scoring.

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Then there’s a chance that Singletary and Moss will show more of their limitations and deal with more injury issues. Cook could then emerge as the hottest hand worthy of leadership, with big all-around touches on the NFL’s best offense.

Hall is safer earlier because less has to happen for his massive role to come into play. Though Cook may not become an intriguing deep pick much later, he’s been boom-or-bust everywhere in regards to his role in relation to Singletary and Moss.

The choice is… Hall

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