After a mixed couple of weeks, can fantasy football managers trust Alexander Mattison as someone to start in Week 5? Mattison was a superb fantasy asset in Week 3 with Dalvin Cook out but struggled in Week 4 when he returned. All of that has left fantasy managers with serious question marks this week.
Update: Dalvin Cook is inactive for the Vikings’ Week 5 matchup with the Lions. Mattison should be the leading rusher for the Vikings this week.
Alexander Mattison left fantasy managers frustrated last week
The last two weeks have been a perfect opportunity for Mattison and his fantasy managers. With Cook out in Week 3, Mattison shined. He turned 26 rushing attempts into 112 rushing yards and added 59 receiving yards on 6 receptions. Unfortunately, Week 4 was a very different story.
With Cook back, Mattison could only muster 2 fantasy points against the Browns. But it wasn’t due to a lack of opportunities. Mattison still had 10 rushing attempts but managed just 20 rushing yards. Sure, he had a significant reduction in opportunities, but there was more than enough for him to return more than 2 fantasy points.
The matchup for the Vikings is significantly easier in Week 5
Part of the problem for Mattison and his fantasy managers in Week 4 was the matchup. The Browns came into the game having allowed an average of 67 rushing yards per game. On top of that, they had allowed just 1 touchdown to the RB position.
Week 5 looks very different, however. The Vikings will face the Lions, who rank as the fourth-worst defense in the league in terms of fantasy points allowed to the RB position. Through four weeks, the Lions have allowed a total of 539 yards and 9 touchdowns to the RB position. Add in 11 receptions, and the Lions are allowing 29.73 fantasy points per game to the RB position.
On average, there are 134.8 yards, 2.8 receptions, and 2.3 touchdowns available in this matchup. Obviously, those numbers will vary week to week, but there is plenty of opportunity for a Vikings RB to produce.
Should you start Mattison in Week 5?
It appears as though Mattison will have to share the backfield with Cook in Week 5, which is frustrating for fantasy managers. Yet, with Cook questionable, Mattison should still see more than the 6 total touches he saw in the first two weeks. It may not be quite the 50-50 split we saw last week, but it could still be around 60-40.
If Cook is inactive, Mattison is a player you should try to find a way to get into your lineups. However, if Cook is active (as expected), then things get a little dicier. Will Mattison be able to give you enough fantasy return on 10-15 touches to be worth starting over your other options?
The one positive is that the Vikings should be able to lead this game comfortably. That has two effects on Mattison’s fantasy outlook. Firstly, it could mean we see Cook protected and removed from the game in the fourth quarter. Secondly, the Vikings would also likely run the ball more on the back end of the game.
Both of those elements would be good news for Mattison’s fantasy value. The problem is that Minnesota has not made anything easy in 2021. Even their victory against Seattle required them to score over 20 unanswered points to win the game. They should be comfortable against Detroit, but I certainly would not bet on it.