Coming off a bye week, the Minnesota Vikings would probably like to get the ground game going, especially after being held to just 73 rushing yards in their Week 12 loss to the Chicago Bears. Does that mean you should consider starting RB Alexander Mattison or RB Ty Chandler? Let’s look at each player heading into Week 14.
Should You Start Alexander Mattison or Ty Chandler This Week?
In the Pro Football Network Start/Sit Optimizer, our Consensus Rankings say Mattison is the player to start. His projected 9.0 points include 38 rushing yards, two receptions, and 11 receiving yards. That projected stat line outperforms Chandler’s projected 6.4 points.
My ranking for these two running backs aligns with the consensus. While Chandler has been seeing more time in recent weeks, Mattison remains the RB1 for the Vikings, and his workload has been consistent.
Fantasy Outlook for Mattison This Week
It makes sense for the Vikings to want to get the ground game going — especially against a team like the Las Vegas Raiders, who rank 25th in rushing defense (127.0 YPG allowed). But more than the yards on the ground, Minnesota has been at its best when its backs get plenty of carries.
The Vikings are 6-2 this season when they have at least 20 rush attempts and 0-4 when they are held under 20. If the Vikings decide to put more of an emphasis on the ground game, that figures to benefit Mattison the most.
Minnesota is 4-2 when Mattison has 15 or more carries in a game and 2-4 when he is held under 15 carries. It seems pretty cut and dry.
Mattison’s best games this season haven’t just come when he gets a lot of carries — his best receiving games are when he is most active out of the backfield. Mattison’s three best games, in terms of receiving yards, have occurred in games where Mattison is getting at least 15 carries.
Over his last two games, Mattison is averaging nearly five yards a carry (4.8), so if he can continue to get more carries with a high YPC, perhaps another big number in the rushing yards category is in the future.
The downside of fantasy football managers starting Mattison is that they can basically kiss any hopes of a touchdown goodbye. Here’s a not-so-fun fact. He has the most rush attempts this season without a rushing touchdown (158).
Fantasy Outlook for Chandler This Week
Although he had just four carries last week against the Bears defense (for eight yards), Chandler opened everyone’s eyes back in Week 12, when he ran for a career-high 73 yards on only 10 carries.
If the Vikings do emphasize the running game a little more, that should afford Chandler some more carries.
However, Chandler still should not be chosen in any fantasy lineups before Mattison. Three games ago, Chandler was on the field for 33 offensive snaps. Two games ago, it was just 23 snaps, and in the last game, he was only on the field for 18 offensive snaps.
Whatever the reason for the decline, it certainly isn’t trending in the right direction.
The PFN Optimizer projects Chandler to finish with 64 rushing yards and no receptions.
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