Minnesota Vikings RB Alexander Mattison had yet to meet expectations through the first two weeks of the 2023 NFL season due to a couple of rough matchups, but there was still optimism that he could turn things around and be a viable starter for fantasy football.
Did that optimism just come crashing down in a major way with the Vikings trading for Cam Akers? Is it time to simply sell Mattison for whatever you can get in your fantasy league?
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Should Fantasy Football Managers Cut Alexander Mattison?
Listen, it hasn’t been pretty for the pro-Mattison crowd in 2023. I was one of them who thought he was a nice value at his draft-day ADP and assumed that he would be locked in for a bell-cow role in this Vikings offense.
Unfortunately, Mattison has totaled just 62 rushing yards on 19 attempts through two games while adding just 21 yards through the air. However, he did reel in a receiving touchdown during the Week 1 contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Mattison has finished as the RB18 and RB51 in half-PPR scoring the first two weeks of the season, which certainly is not meeting the expectations that were set for him coming into the year. He’s averaging just 3.3 yards per attempt.
MORE: Week 3 Fantasy Cut List
However, context is incredibly important here as we look at the lack of production for Mattison. In Week 1, he went up against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that boasts some incredibly talented players on the defensive line. It’s historically been a stingy run defense, and he wasn’t able to do much against them.
In Week 2, things didn’t get any easier going up against the Philadelphia Eagles defense with a makeshift offensive line in front of him. Jalen Carter, Jordan Davis, Fletcher Cox, and so on and so on had a field day against the Vikings OL, and it was simply asinine to attempt to run the football on them.
This resulted in Mattison having just eight total rush attempts on Thursday Night Football, which is a prime-time game that everyone is zeroed in on and watching. This didn’t help the perception of him in fantasy leagues.
Fantasy managers were already teetering on whether or not they could trust him in their starting lineups, but that escalated to full-on panic seeing that the Vikings acquired Akers from the Rams.
Trade: Rams are sending RB Cam Akers to the Minnesota Vikings for a swap of 2026 draft picks, per sources. pic.twitter.com/d79HmNT00u
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 20, 2023
Akers has done some solid things for fantasy in the past, but he’s been far from reliable and has fallen out of favor with the coaching staff in LA for two straight years in a row. A new start was needed for him.
It’s important to note that this trade was for a swap of late-round 2026 draft picks. That’s nothing as far as compensation, which does not exactly guarantee a large role for Akers in this offense. We’ve seen in the past — Sony Michel to the Rams is a prime example — that just because a player is acquired, they will not necessarily receive the RB1 role in an offense.
Was this a depth addition for the Vikings? Or was this a death sentence for Mattison’s role as the RB1 in Minnesota?
In my opinion, this was an opportunity for head coach Kevin O’Connell to bring in a talented player for next to nothing who knows his system and he’s familiar with from his time in LA. Akers has done very little to prove that he should take over this backfield right away.
Mattison and the Vikings have a matchup this week against the Los Angeles Chargers defense that has been gashed by opponents so far this season. This is a prime opportunity to see if Mattison can deliver with an easier matchup in front of him and potentially keep Akers on the sideline.
In my opinion, Mattison is not a player that you should release to the waiver wire. He’s actually a buy in fantasy right now because people are panicking right now and simply ready to move on for next to nothing.
You may be able to move a bench player off of your roster to acquire Mattison. The opportunity to buy an NFL offense’s RB1 for dirt cheap doesn’t present itself very often, so take advantage of it and go get him to see how this all plays out.
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