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Fantasy football players you're drafting too early: Jared Cook

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So you're about to have your fantasy draft. Or you're thinking about doing a fantasy draft. If you already had your draft, sorry 'bout your luck. You shoulda hit me up sooner to do this. Not that I would have ... but at least you would've asked. And that would have been nice. Sorry, where was I?

Right ... drafts. Anyway, when you're prepping for your upcoming leagues, there are probably more than a few players that you're considering adding to your board. I'm here to tell you that you might be doing it wrong. That's okay, no judgment. We've all been there. Allow me to offer some constructive criticism. Last week, I wrote about five undervalued players. This week, I'm serving up a few players that you're probably too high on. They might not kill your chances of winning a league but they might not help as much as you'd like. I'm just here to help.

Let's get started.

ADPs taken from Fantasy Football Calculator.


Jared Cook (TE7; ADP 7.02)


Don't cry
Don't raise your eye
It's only tight end wasteland...

That likely would have been the hook to "Baba O'Riley" if Pete Townshend or Roger Daltrey were playing fantasy football last season. If you didn't have Travis Kelce, George Kittle or Zach Ertz, there wasn't a lot to love about the position. There were some bright spots. Eric Ebron put together a career season during his first go-around with the Indianapolis Colts. David Njoku had some weeks that offered hope for the future. Kyle Rudolph had one really huge game.

Then there was Jared Cook. In a list of fantasy options Most Likely to Cause Apoplexy, Cook might top the list many seasons in his career. Usually touted for his athleticism, the veteran tight end's seasons ranged from "fair" to "barely passable" to "wtf" in a journey that has spanned four teams. But finally, out of nowhere, the Jared Cook of our fantasy football dreams finally appeared in real life. It was so shocking that I had to convince myself (and some of you) that it was actually happening.

Cook ended 2018 with career highs in targets (101), receptions (68), yards (896) and touchdowns (6). That's great! But 56 percent of those yards came in just four games. Not so great. Then again, such is the way of Jared Cook. He gets you excited about what may come only to let you down repeatedly.

But there is hope that team No. 5 -- the New Orleans Saints -- can help him keep this era of good feelings going. I mean ... Drew Brees is his quarterback. That's can't be a bad thing. If Cook could put up career numbers with Derek Carr, what could he do with a certain Hall of Fame quarterback? I appreciate your optimism. I wish I shared it.

Unfortunately, it appears the days of Brees throwing the ball 600-plus times a season are over. The rise of Alvin Kamara has led to the Saints putting the ball in the air less often. Brees' 489 attempts in 2018 were his lowest total since he came to The Big Easy. That was by design. This team can still win by having its quarterback air it out, it just chooses not to. New Orleans was 29th in seconds per play (per Football Outsiders), which means the Saints took their sweet time running the offense last season. Yet were second in points scored per drive. That's what happens when you have a strong defense and a dynamic running back.

Oh, the Saints also have a really, really good receiver. You might have heard of him. He just got a fat contract extension. Last year, Michael Thomas and Kamara sucked up nearly 49 percent of the team's targets. That doesn't leave a whole lot for the rest of the pass-catchers on the roster and makes it incredibly difficult for Cook to come anywhere near the 100 targets he saw last season.

If things go as we all hope this year (never a sure thing), the tight end position will be deeper than it was last year. That should mean there are more options available that don't involve banking on things that had never happened before and might never happen again. Mr. Cook, we appreciate your work last season and wish you well in future endeavors. But it's time to go a different direction.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy analyst for NFL.com and a man who is going to eventually get around to clearing out his email inbox. Right after he empties his voicemail box. Be patient. Send him your tales of avoiding communication or fantasy questions on Twitter @MarcasG.

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