Fantasy Football: Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliott deals shake up RB landscape

Two veteran running backs reportedly found new homes on Monday, with Dalvin Cook signing with the New York Jets and Ezekiel Elliott landing with the New England Patriots.

The running back market has been a hot topic of conversation leading up to the season and it took time for both backs to receive one-year deals. Elliott can earn up to $6 million with incentives, while Cook agreed to an $8.6 million deal, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Now that we know where Cook and Elliott will suit up, how does that impact their fantasy value — and their higher-ranked backfield mates?

Fantasy fallout of Cook signing with Jets

Breece Hall has been drafted as a borderline RB1 on Yahoo. That will change with the news of more competition for touches. The same goes for his standing in the fantasy running back hierarchy. Hall fell from the consensus RB10 to RB16 on Yahoo after Cook signed.

Noted Hall hype artist, Dalton Del Don, remains bullish on the young back and had this to say about the Cook addition.

Breece Hall was always going to be slow-played early in the season returning from ACL surgery, and now his ADP is sure to drop after Dalvin Cook signed with the Jets. Cook could be better after shoulder surgery, but he ranked 35th out of 37 qualified backs in rush yards over expectation last season and is 28 years old. He’ll also be learning a new offense and is yet to be cleared to practice coming off the surgery.

Hall, meanwhile, was taken off the PUP list Tuesday and remains a top-15 fantasy RB on my board. He averaged 97.2 yards from scrimmage on just 14.1 touches per game while playing with a bad QB situation last year (scoring five touchdowns in six-plus games).

Hall also led all backs in explosive run rate, was second in yards per route run and quite simply stood out as a rookie. Hall had the most air yards among running backs despite running 250+ fewer routes than the next-most (Christian McCaffrey) while playing only 6.5 games (oh, and being a rookie). He now goes from one of the league’s worst QB situations to a Hall of Famer who likes targeting RBs.

Hall is an exceptional athlete who just became one of the best targets in fantasy if he falls to rounds five/six because of the Cook signing.

Meanwhile, Cook, who ran for 1,173 yards and eight touchdowns last season, finished as fantasy's RB10. He had spent his entire career with the Vikings, racking up 5,993 rushing yards and 47 touchdowns while boasting a healthy 4.7 yards per carry since entering the league. He’s made the Pro Bowl in each of the past four seasons while rushing for at least 1,000 yards.

Cook signed a five-year, $63 million contract extension with the team in 2020, but the Vikings released the veteran in June after failing to find a trade partner for him.

Even though he didn't have an NFL team until Monday, fantasy managers have been drafting Cook around pick 70. Our analysts are divided on Cook's fantasy value, ranging anywhere from a fringe RB2 to more of a bench option.

Despite questions from the fantasy community on what comes next, Alexander Mattison has no doubt what his former teammate can still do:

Fantasy fallout of Elliott signing with Patriots

Like Hall, Rhamondre Stevenson has also been drafted in RB1 territory on Yahoo. There's also concern about him being able to maintain that fantasy ceiling with Elliott now in the mix.

The Patriots have been looking for depth behind Stevenson, who finished as fantasy's RB11 last season after running for a career-high 1,040 yards with six total touchdowns. Stevenson's Yahoo ADP is currently 25.9, but is likely to take a hit with Elliott in the fold.

Among Yahoo analysts, Scott Pianowski's view changed the most on Stevenson in the aftermath of the news, moving him from RB11 to RB16. Conversely, Andy Behrens moved Elliott up the most, bumping him up 17 spots to RB35. Elliott is being drafted in only 27% of Yahoo leagues, a number that is going to rise. He's currently coming off the board in Round 13 in 10-team leagues.

Elliott spent his entire career with the Cowboys before joining the Pats, who first took him with the No. 4 overall pick in 2016. He started 102 games over seven seasons and led the league in rushing twice while racking up four 1,000-yard seasons.

Last year, however, Elliott ran for a career-low 876 yards and averaged a career-worst 3.8 yards per carry. His massive six-year, $90 million deal with Dallas became too much, and the team released him earlier this summer.