The Jets have been in hot rumor for picking up a certain All-Pro running back in Dalvin Cook. Many fantasy owners will say what about Breece Hall!? The rookie running back who tore up the fantasy world in his first seven games before tearing his ACL. This article will break down if this duo can both be fantasy relevant. Can OC Nathaniel Hackett use both these running backs as he did in Green Bay when he used a combo of Aaron Jones, Jamaal Willaims, and AJ Dillion?
History of the GB Running Backs
To look to the future, we need to step into the past and see how Hackett managed two solid running backs in an offense that featured Aaron Rodgers.
|2019||Carries||Touchdowns||Targets||Routes Run||Fantasy Finish||Snap Share|
|Jamaal Williams**||107||6||45||131||RB 34||39.7%|
Hackett arrived in Green Bay in 2019, where we will begin. I didn’t add in yardage because I wanted to see the opportunity and shares of these running backs. Good running backs will create yardage for themselves. During that 2019 season, Jones and Williams showed you could get elite and solid fantasy numbers from two running backs. Jones was the clear leader, with a massive difference in carries and targets. Jones would see 45 touches in the red zone, while Williams saw 20 touches. In this situation, Jones was the lighting RB1 for the season, while bruiser Williams was the 1B player. Despite missing two games, Williams managed to give fantasy owners RB3 numbers. Jones, of course, would see RB1 numbers in a breakout season.
|2020||Carries||Touchdowns||Targets||Routes Run||Fantasy Finish||Snap Share|
|Jamaal Williams||119||3||35||194||RB 43||45.6%|
|AJ Dillion||46||2||2||30||RB 79||13.6%|
In 2020, you can see the production dropped for both Jones and Williams. Jones would miss two games allowing Wiliams to start but failed to reach the RB34 as he had just a year ago. RB43 isn’t confident in stand-alone value but was strictly a backup. Redzone opportunity favored Jones with 48 touches to Wiliams 26 touches. Regarding NFL stats, the numbers seem close. The fantasy points showed a clear difference in who was the RB1 for the team and not a duo-threat backfield. I added AJ Dillion to show for Michael Carter that if Cook sign with the Jets, his value will likely fall into the drain.
|2021||Carries||Touchdowns||Targets||Routes Run||Fantasy Finish||Snap Share|
|AJ Dillion||187||7||37||151||RB 23||42.0%|
This could be what we are looking for as fantasy owners for Hall and Cook. While Jones missed two games, the average in carries was split down the middle. The touchdowns were also closer to each other compared to prior years with Williams as the RB2. The 2021 season showed that two backs under Hackett can succeed in fantasy. While the elite running back doesn’t show like Jones in 2019, RB12 is an excellent producer for a fantasy owner. Dillion provides a flex option as RB23 most weeks. The red zone work was much closer here, too, with Dillion seeing 44 touches and Jones seeing 47 touches. This duo was a two-headed monster in the backfield for the Packers and fantasy.
We have no idea if Cook will sign with the Jets, even after the visit this past week. WAIT, what if they did that for hard knocks!? They showed interest before being forced on Hard Knocks, but maybe. The Jets know they likely have a two-year window to make a run at the Super Bowl with Aaron Rodgers as their quarterback. I think the Jets see the opportunity for star power player to join with veteran experience to help get to the Super Bowl.
So what would this duo be!? You have a young running back in his prime coming off a torn ACL. On the other hand, you could have an aging All-Pro veteran who will be 28 by the start of the season. Hackett would use both backs as the Packers did during the 2021 season if he was smart. That scenario would be the best idea situation for the Jets and fantasy owners. The Jets would be able to ease Hall into an eventual workhorse role rather than push him into a full workload off the bat. Cook would be 28 and would not be overused for an older back which would keep him fresher for the whole season. Fantasy owners would be happy enough since both running back finished as RB2s.
When you look at these running backs, both can even be on the field simultaneously. Cook hasn’t been in a situation where he shares the work over his career. He had been a workhorse the last four seasons, so we don’t know if few opportunities, you’ll get the same output. Cook has big play ability on the ground and has been a solid pass-catching back. He could handle the early down work in the offense allowing Hall to be used better in space.
On the other hand, Hall showed he could produce with a split share in the offense. Last year during the first seven games, Hall saw 45.45% of the carry share and only caught seven more targets than Michael Carter. During the span, Hall was RB6 showing that he could thrive not seeing an elite workload.
The Jets splitting the workload would make sense if they plan on bringing in Cook. You don’t sign Cook to use him with minimal usage or let your potential best player in Hall see minimal work, either. I think Cook could end up seeing more of the groundwork. While Hall would be more of the passing-down running back in the offense. Both could get opportunities on the ground and in the air. Rodgers gave Jones and Dillion 115 targets between them last year. Cook and Hall could see a similar target share. Rodgers is going up here in age. Relying on the ground game and the opportunity with targets could work for these running backs.
If they could put up numbers like the ones above, that would make Hall a borderline RB1 in fantasy football, coming off an ACL injury and not being overworked. In fantasy, Cook could still be middle to late RB2, being older and losing his workhorse status. These numbers are based on averages and could be higher or lower. While everyone is panicking over Cook’s potential going to the Jets, this may be a rare backfield that could work together and provide us with above-average fantasy numbers in 2023.
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