Dynasty Dilemma: Alexander Mattison
The 2023 season gives Alexander Mattison dynasty owners their first opportunity to see him lead the backfield in Minnesota. Over the first four years of his career, Mattison has had to sit behind Dalvin Cook, who put together four consecutive seasons as an RB20 or higher, including three inside the top-10. Fantasy owners should be anxious to pair Mattison’s production with Cook’s former workload. However, depending on competitiveness and roster construction, Mattison dynasty fantasy shareholders should consider selling or holding the line.
REASONS TO SELL
Unless your league just started this off-season, Mattison most likely fits in as an RB3 or RB4 - in recent mock drafts, Mattison has gone somewhere in the fifth to sixth rounds - which is a solid value for an NFL team’s starting running back. In more seasoned leagues, especially as a contender, Mattison has occupied a spot on your bench for the last four years with few, albeit solid performances in weeks where Cook missed time due to injuries while he was still in Minnesota. Since much of Mattison is unknown, the allure of acquiring a “RB1,” even though Mattison has yet to string together multiple performances to that degree, may be enticing to other owners who lack running back depth. Should your team be competitive, with a surplus of running backs, the time may never be better to trade him and fill other gaps on the roster or add future draft capital.
Obviously, Alexander Mattison is an incredible athlete, he has reached the highest level of football and is now the starting running back on the Minnesota Vikings. However, compared to his contemporaries, Mattison is nothing particularly special as a running back. He runs a 4.67, he averages 4.1 yards-per-carry, but in a small sample size, and does not excel as a pass catcher. All of this could be a recipe for disappointment as a fantasy manager.
REASON TO BUY
Depending on how long you’ve had Mattison, owners may prefer to hold onto the running back and see what he can do with a full season of opportunity as a starting running back. In his six spot starts (two in 2020, four in 2021), Mattison has excelled, averaging 22.3 fantasy points per game. Due to the running back position being thin, paired with potential holdouts from two of the best in the league, hanging on to a starting running back, who has proven he can score 20+ points, may prove to be a boon for fantasy owners in 2023.
Lack of Competition
Mattison seems to have a firm grasp of the starting running back role in Minnesota, with his competition being Ty Chandler, Kene Nwangwu, and seventh-round rookie DeWayne McBride. That trio combined for just 20-yards at the NFL level, with all the yardage belonging to Ty Chandler. Mattison is the only running back that has shown anything in the NFL and is most deserving of having an ability to prove himself as a starter. Additionally, Mattison (25) is under contract for the next two years and NFL organizations have tried to get as much production out of the running back position prior to free agency.
There may never be a better time to capitalize and sell high on Alexander Mattison than this off-season for dynasty owners. If your team has depth at running back, ideally slotting Mattison as a flex player, then the opportunity to trade him for an area of need, in addition to draft capital in 2024, will pay dividends down the road. Sure, you’d be trading an RB1 for the 2023 season, but Minnesota was the fifth worst rushing offense in the NFL under Head Coach Kevin O’Connell with Dalvin Cook as the running back.