Shortly before the kickoff of the 1 p.m. ET games Sunday, Jay Glazer reported that the Los Angeles Rams intended to make Cam Akers a healthy inactive. Sure enough, he was correct.
Trade rumors swirled, and the Rams moved quickly. On Wednesday, Tom Pelissero reported the Minnesota Vikings traded for the fourth-year running back. Let’s examine the fantasy football fallout from the trade.
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Fantasy Football Impact of Cam Akers Trade
The timing of the trade is probably the least surprising part of this all. Alexander Mattison could not possibly have looked any worse on a national stage against the Eagles last Thursday night. He ran the ball eight times for 28 yards while catching three passes for 11 yards.
With no real talent behind Mattison, if the Vikings wanted an upgrade, they really had no choice but to make a trade. And that’s exactly what they did.
Suddenly, the Vikings backfield no longer belongs to Mattison. However, it’s important to note that the trade compensation was merely a 2026 late-round pick swap. The Vikings gave up very little to acquire Akers. Thus, they still have no allegiance to any of their backs. Whoever plays the best will see the most work.
Fantasy Impact on Alexander Mattison
First, let’s discuss Mattison. He was a very polarizing player this summer. At first, I was in on Mattison. After all, he averaged 20 PPR fantasy points per game in his select few starts without Dalvin Cook.
But as the summer wore on, I soured a bit on him. He fell into the low RB2 range in my rankings, and I did not target or draft him in any league.
A lot of very smart people that I respect in the fantasy industry were advising caution on Mattison. They got to me. I’m glad they did.
The argument in favor of Mattison was his performance without Cook, plus the combination of the Vikings’ very good offense and the lack of talent behind him. Situation and opportunity matter. But so does individual talent. As we’ve learned all too often, if a player isn’t performing well, it doesn’t matter if there appears to be no one behind him; there will be someone.
Now, Mattison lost the most important thing going for him — bankable volume. Even with his struggles last week, it’s not as if Ty Chandler was ever a real threat. This was going to be Mattison’s backfield … until now.
Akers is not going to come in and immediately unseat Mattison. But Akers will see playing time. And if Mattison continues to struggle, Akers will see more and more work.
I certainly need more time to marinate over the implications of Akers’ presence, but he should immediately step in as the RB2 (by Week 4 at the latest). Mattison goes from a volume-based low RB2 to a high RB3, at best. There is a nonzero chance he loses his job.
If you roster Mattison, there’s really nothing you can do. No one is going to give you anything of value for him now. You just have to hold on and hope he plays better.
Fantasy Impact on Akers
Now, for Akers himself. Obviously, this is a massive boon to his value, considering the alternative was he doesn’t play at all.
Given how little the Rams were asking for in a trade, there was never going to be an outcome where they didn’t move Akers. But in the universe where they didn’t trade him, I am supremely confident Akers was not playing a snap for them the rest of the season.
For the fantasy managers who held onto Akers, hoping for a trade, kudos to you all. Well done. Akers absolutely belongs on fantasy rosters.
While he’s not necessarily a special talent, we’ve seen him capable of being a three-down back. He can produce in the right situation.
Perhaps his arrival lights a fire under Mattison, and he maintains a strong grip on the job. However, I think Akers is going to mix in as soon as he’s ready. We probably won’t see much of him in Week 3, but by Week 4, I expect him to be a regular part of the rotation. Consider Akers a low RB3 for now, but he has the same upside Mattison did before the season if he can take this job.
Fantasy Impact on Kyren Williams
Whatever impact Akers “leaving” had on Kyren Williams, we already saw last week. This was already Williams’ backfield. That was made abundantly clear when Akers was inactive last week, and Williams played 95% of the snaps.
I did not take Williams seriously enough on waivers after Week 1, and I regret that immensely. If you have Williams, congrats on your every-week RB2 for the remainder of the season.
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