Minnesota Vikings wide running back Alexander Mattison has been one of the best handcuffs of the past three seasons. Still buried behind Dalvin Cook, but a proven RB1 when he’s the lead back, what is Mattison’s fantasy football outlook and ADP in fantasy football drafts for the 2022 season?
Alexander Mattison’s fantasy outlook for 2022
Not all handcuff running backs are created equal. One of the biggest pitfalls fantasy managers fall into is being overconfident in pinpointing who a handcuff is and how well he will produce if the starter gets hurt.
For the past three seasons, Mattison has been the best handcuff running back in fantasy football. Whenever Cook misses time, Mattison assumes 100% of Cook’s role and replicates 100% of his production. Don’t believe me that it’s actually 100%? Let’s dive in!
Since the Vikings drafted Mattison in 2019, Cook has averaged 20.4 PPR fantasy points per game. During that span, Mattison has filled in as the starter for Cook six times. In those six games, Mattison averaged 20.4 ppg. For fantasy purposes, they are the exact same player.
I’m not one to advocate for burning two roster spots on one player, but handcuffing Cook with Mattison is an exception because it’s one of just two true insurance policies in fantasy football (the other being Tony Pollard).
How the Vikings’ depth chart impacts Alexander Mattison’s fantasy projection for the season
The only relevant piece of the Vikings’ depth chart for Mattison’s fantasy outlook is Cook. Despite Mattison’s clear ability, he has no role while Cook is healthy. It doesn’t matter how well Mattison performs in Cook’s absence, once Cook returns, Mattison returns to being a pure backup. Averaging just 4.5 ppg with Cook active, Mattison has no standalone value.
The only potential for change is in the Vikings’ coaching staff. It’s possible their new head coach Kevin O’Connell uses Mattison more. However, I don’t think it’s likely that Mattison handles enough work to have value while Cook is out there.
All of the other key pieces of the Vikings are returning. Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, and Adam Thielen are back. This is a consolidated offense where the majority of touches are funneled through Jefferson, Thielen, and the starting running back.
Mattison is always an interesting one to value in fantasy football drafts because he’s a complete waste of a roster spot … until he isn’t. It’s especially tough early in the season to have him clogging up a spot, contributing nothing when you need to churn through those back-of-the-roster players. Nevertheless, Mattison remains the most valuable pure handcuff in fantasy football.
Mattison’s ADP for 2022
Mattison’s ADP is all over the place, depending on the source. It averages out to around 125th overall, but we’re talking plus or minus 20 slots depending on the site. That’s both jarring and not surprising.
Someone like Mattison is a tricky player to value in fantasy drafts because of how his value works. He’s either completely useless and unstartable or a must-start RB1. It all depends on whether Cook is playing. He currently sits 42nd at the position and 106th overall in PFN’s consensus 2022 PPR fantasy rankings.
I’m fine drafting Mattison at any point after the top 36 running backs are off the board. He’s currently going as the RB42. If you’re content with having a guy you know you can never start occupying a spot on your bench for most of the season, go for it. We know what Mattison is capable of when he finds himself in the starting role.