A week ago, fantasy football managers didn’t think they would be trying to figure out which Minnesota Vikings running back should be started in Week 3. This backfield belonged to Alexander Mattison with no one else close to his talent.
But after the Vikings acquired Cam Akers in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams this week, we suddenly have to question who to start. Is it Mattison who has been with the team all year? Or is Akers set to be the spark that the 0-2 Vikings need in their offense?
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Alexander Mattison Fantasy Outlook This Week
Coming into the year, Mattison was the lead back in Minnesota. When the Vikings moved on from Dalvin Cook this offseason, Mattison became the heir apparent.
But thus far in 2023, the Vikings have seemed less than committed to running the ball with Mattison. Mattison has only seen 19 total carries on the year. Even in those 19 carries, he has been inefficient with 3.26 yards per carry.
The Vikings bringing in Akers is a scary thought for Mattison managers. Will his usage decrease even more from the limited amount he has had thus far? I wouldn’t be overly concerned in Week 3. Akers is just joining the team, so this should still be Mattison’s backfield.
The Vikings have the Los Angeles Chargers coming to town on Sunday, who have surrendered tons of points this year. If there was ever a point for Mattison to start scoring fantasy points, it is Week 3.
But if Mattison fails to have a solid week again this Sunday, trouble is brewing. This may not be his backfield for long.
Cam Akers Fantasy Outlook This Week
Akers has had an extremely up-and-down career since joining the league. After a promising rookie season, Akers tore his Achilles tendon before the 2021 season and saw action in one game at the end of the Rams season.
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In his third season in Los Angeles, Akers started slowly before coming on near the end of the year. The back had over 100 yards rushing each of the final three games.
But suddenly, the Rams decided they were done with Akers after two short weeks of the 2023 season. What caused the sudden change is unknown, but the Rams were uninterested in keeping the back. And the 0-2 Vikings decided to take a chance on the 24-year-old.
While Akers’ change of scenery could prove to be just what he needed, I wouldn’t expect a strong performance in Week 3. Akers needs to learn the Vikings’ play calls and offense. He needs to gel with the team and find his footing. That will likely take a few weeks.
Additionally, recent reports suggest that Akers is to be inactive in Week 3, but that has yet to be confirmed.
Which of the Minnesota Vikings’ RBs Should You Start?
Mattison still has to be the start if you roster both Vikings running backs. While Akers was the more talented prospect when either joined the NFL, Mattison has been with the Vikings from the jump. Minnesota moving away from him just days after acquiring Akers seems unlikely.
Akers may end up seeing a snap or two on Sunday if he is active at all, but his usage will almost certainly be limited. Mattison knows the play calls, the blocking schemes, and the offense overall. With the Vikings desperate to get their first win of the season, Mattison has to be in on the majority of plays.
At least for Week 3, expect Mattison to be the back to start in Minnesota. But don’t be surprised if this shifts dramatically as the season moves on.
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