Nobody wants to see a Fantasy season come down to the randomness of a late-season injury, but we've been telling you to prepare for the possibility for weeks. If you drafted Dalvin Cook, there's a good chance you still had a lot to play for in Week 15, as he entered the game as the No. 2 running back in Fantasy, with touchdowns in four straight games. Now, it looks like you could be without your best player for Week 16 after Cook he left Sunday's game with a shoulder injury and was almost immediately ruled out for the game.
If this all seems like déjà vu, it's because I wrote nearly the same exact thing two weeks ago ago. Cook left Week 13's game against the Chargers around halftime due to a shoulder/chest injury, one he had been trying to play through for weeks. Ultimately, though it forced him out of that game Cook was back out there in Week 14, rushing 18 times and adding two catches, and wasn't even on the injury report for Week 15.
We'll hope for a similar outcome this time around, and coach Mike Zimmer told reporters Monday the injury seems like one Cook could continue to play through, especially with the Vikings set to play on Monday Night Football in Week 16.
"Yeah, it feels good today," Zimmer said. "It's too early, but the extra day helps. We'll just have to see how the week goes."
Alexander Mattison missed Sunday's game with an ankle injury, leaving Mike Boone and Ameer Abdullah to step up as the primary backs for the Vikings. Boone ran the ball 11 times for 56 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Abdullah added five carries for 25 yards and had no catches on two targets.
The question moving forward is whether Mattison will be able to step in if Cook is out for Week 16, because he would be the obvious top target on waivers if so. Right now, expect Mattison (rostered in 64% of CBS Fantasy leagues) to be the top target on waivers for Week 16, and he can be a legitimate league-winner, with the potential to be a top-12 running back if he gets the start even in a somewhat tough matchup against the Packers.
If we don't get good news on Mattison by the time waivers run, Boone figures to be the top target instead. An undrafted second-year free agent, Boone isn't the same kind of talent as a backup as Mattison, though he does have solid athleticism and was a productive all-around player as a part-time back in college. Expectations would be a little lower for Boone than Mattison or especially Cook, but this is still a Vikings team that wants to run the ball as often as possible, so no matter who the primary back is, they still figure to be a viable starting Fantasy option in all formats.
Of course, there's still a chance Cook is out there, leading you to Fantasy glory next week. He already avoided a serious injury once with this issue, we'll see if he can do it again. But you have to make alternate plans for now, and it couldn't come at a worse possible time.