Minnesota Vikings running back DeWayne McBride was immensely productive at college but fell all the way to the seventh round in the 2023 NFL Draft. With very little clarity behind starter Alexander Mattison, could McBride emerge as Mattison’s handcuff? What is his fantasy football outlook for the 2023 season?
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DeWayne McBride’s Fantasy Outlook
After the Vikings released Dalvin Cook, the fantasy community surprised me by pushing back against Mattison as a desirable fantasy asset. The general consensus seems to be that he’s overrated and overvalued.
I certainly don’t subscribe to the argument that Mattison is worth drafting simply because “who else is there?” But that’s still a question we need to answer. If not Mattison, then who?
The Vikings roster three other running backs of note. They have 2021 fourth-rounder Kene Nwangwu, 2022 fifth-rounder Ty Chandler, and 2023 seventh-rounder McBride. None of these players have any real experience, nor do they have anything resembling premium draft capital. That leaves the backup job wide open.
I believe Nwangwu to be the most talented of the group, but he’s been on the team the longest and has been almost exclusively used on special teams. He’s unlikely to be the guy if Mattison struggles or gets hurt.
That leaves us to decide between Chandler and McBride. Chandler is the presumptive favorite because of his elite speed, but he is severely lacking in lateral ability and was only able to muster all of six carries as a rookie.
Despite being drafted just one year after Chandler, McBride is three years younger at 22 years old. In his final year at UAB, he put up 1,713 rushing yards. Given his college production profile, it’s curious how McBride fell all the way to Round 7.
While we’ve seen Day 3 running backs emerge before, it’s always an unlikely proposition. With that said, all three of these guys are Day 3 backs. Thus, it’s mostly an even playing field, and the job will almost certainly go to whoever plays the best.
Should Fantasy Managers Draft McBride at His ADP?
Chandler and McBride are being drafted very close in ADP. Chandler goes as the RB67, McBride as the RB66. Given the negativity surrounding Mattison, it’s a wonder that both of them are on the border of being drafted in standard-sized 12-team leagues.
To be fair, the reason is likely the uncertainty. We just don’t know who the other guy might be, nor are we confident in his talent profile.
I have Chandler ranked as my RB61 and McBride at RB75. I believe Chandler is the back to roster behind Mattison. Unlike most of the fantasy community, however, I am a believer in Mattison. At worst, I view him as a replacement-level talent, good enough to produce in a favorable environment, which the Vikings’ high-scoring offense presents.
As a result, I’m not particularly bullish on any of these backs. Furthermore, if Mattison does get hurt (or play his way to a reduced role), I believe the Vikings are more likely to sign a veteran than roll with any of their Day 3 backups. And if Minnesota does go with the guys they already have, it will almost certainly be a committee.
If you want to throw a dart at McBride at the end of fantasy drafts, there’s no real risk. In deeper leagues, I may do it. But I’m a believer in Mattison and don’t see too much upside in McBride.
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