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What to do with Jared Cook in the Wild Card round of the 2021 NFL playoffs

Jared Cook has played the role of playoff hero before and faces a Bears defense that has struggled mightily against tight ends in recent weeks.

Jared Cook #87 of the New Orleans Saints makes a reception past Jeff Gladney #20 of the Minnesota Vikings at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 25, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Finding a reliable tight end during the regular season can present a formidable challenge. The problem grows even more pronounced in the playoffs with several of the top options either done for the season (George Kittle) or resting while their team enjoys the bye week (Travis Kelce, Robert Tonyan).

While that dynamic doesn’t leave fantasy managers with many obvious options at tight end, a player like the New Orleans Saints’ Jared Cook presents plenty of intrigue.

Fantasy Football analysis: Saints TE Jared Cook, $4,600

Jared Cook hasn’t played in many playoff games during his 12 years in the NFL, but his track record in those contests makes him an attractive DFS option. Cook’s worst postseason outing saw him catch five passes for 48 yards; his best featured double-digit targets, more than 100 receiving yards, and a touchdown. Given the Saints’ high-volume passing game and concerns about the health and/or availability of Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, Cook seems more likely to fall closer to the higher end of the spectrum.

Furthermore, the matchup with the Chicago Bears defense further suggests a good day for Cook. The unit has allowed an average of 5.5 receptions for 58.25 yards and 0.75 touchdowns to tight ends over the course of the season. The numbers look even worse of late, with the Bears giving up three touchdowns and 169 yards to the position over the last three weeks.

Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation

Let Jared cook. Start him.