Breece Hall or James Cook: Who is the best fantasy draft pick in 2022?

No two rookie running backs have generated as much fantasy (and reality) ahead of the 2022 season as the Jets’ Breece Hall and the Bills’ James Cook. Although they are slated for different roles on their respective AFC East teams, both Hall and Cook are fantastic prospects who can outperform their preseason and ADP rankings.

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

MASTER YOUR PROJECT: Ultimate 2022 Fantasy Cheat Sheet

Breece Hall fantasy outlook, 2022 projection

Hall was drafted to take over New York’s backfield. While the Jets liked some of the flashes Michael Carter provided as a rookie in 2021, he also had durability issues and his skill set suggested he would be more effective as a change of pace.

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

PPR RANKING 2022:
QBs | RB | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers | Top 200 | Superflex

The Jets upgraded their offensive line with former 49ers guard Laken Tomlinson to complement junior Alijah Vera-Tucker inside. Although Mekhi Becton went down to tackle again, they made a quick move to add veteran Duane Brown for the left side opposite fellow former Seahawk George Fant. The Jets also improved their tight end blocking with CJ Uzomah and Tyler Conklin, who helped 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 will be positive enough for Hall to live up to expectations. It’s possible for running backs to be effective in fantasy on bad overall teams, as D’Andre Swift and James Robinson have been showing lately.

Assuming he’s healthy, Hall is expected to get high volume, up to 250 carries (about 15 per game) and about three receptions per game. He will also have many opportunities to finish in the red zone.

2022 Standard Rankings:
QBs | RB | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers | Top 200 | Superflex

James Cook’s fantasy outlook, 2022 projection

Cook, the younger brother of Vikings shortstop Dalvin, was in Georgia’s last tight end sharing time with Raiders draft pick Zamir White. He was the chunk rusher for the national champions, with plenty of juice and great receiving skills as well.

Devin Singletary had a fantastic finish to 2021, putting the RB1 numbers as Buffalo’s unquestioned workhorse in the final month of the season, moving it to two playoff games. ZacK Moss was at one point a threat for Singletary’s touches, but faded hard as a disappointing sophomore.

FANTASY SLEEPERS 2022:
QBs | RB | WRs | TEs | D/STs | One from each team

Singletary had control over the starting job and most of the touches overall going into camp, with Cook tabbed to be the situational change of pace and primary pass catcher out of the backfield. Moss had been an afterthought until it turned into a good camp, perhaps motivated by Cook’s presence.

Singletary has been shown before and has had some durability issues. He’s also capable of chunking runs and is a decent receiver, but Cook has more dynamic qualities. Moss, bothered a bit by an ankle injury, has rediscovered his fitness and burst into camp.

AUCTION VALUES 2022 (standard and PPR):
QBs | RB | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers | Generally

Cook is the highest pick of the three and was more than just a luxury pick in the second round. The Bills believe he is an excellent fit to catch shorter passes from Josh Allen. When it comes to talent alone, Cook has surpassed Singletary and Moss.

But Singletary has some confidence from last season, and Moss has done a good job of trying to regain some of that under new offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, promoted to replace Brian Daboll.

That leaves a wide range of outcomes for Cook. Somewhere in the middle, he’s a valuable slugger and more handcuffs in PPR-leaning leagues. At worst, he goes into a messy “hot-handed” committee with Singletary and Moss and sees less than 150 touches with limited scoring.

2022 RANKING LEVELS AND DRAFT STRATEGY:
QBs | RB | WRs | TEs | D/STs

Then there’s the possibility that Singletary and Moss will show their limitations more and deal with more injury issues. Cook could emerge as the hottest hand worthy of leadoff duties with big all-around touches in the NFL’s best offense.

Hall is safer earlier because less needs to happen for his massive role to materialize. While Cook may end up being an intriguing depth pick not too long later, he has write-ups about his role relative to Singletary and Moss.

The choice is… Hall

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