Alexander Mattison is Flirting with Fantasy Football Stardom (Especially in PPR)

NFL: New York Jets at Minnesota Vikings
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

If things proceed in the expected manner, Alexander Mattison is going to be a fantasy football star.

Quite often, finding success in fantasy comes down to having excellent running backs. Sure, the game is more complicated than that, especially in leagues with a bit more sizzle (like a superflex). The old wisdom – load up on RB talent – can still have a lot of merit, though.

Alexander Mattison and Fantasy Football

Without Dalvin Cook to get in the way of touches, Mattison is going to be featured prominently. Cook leaves behind 303 touches, so there’s plenty of room for Mattison to grow. In 2022, the former Boise State RB had 74 carries and 15 catches. The 89 combined touches can more than triple and may still fall short of what his workload will be.

Could Have Certain
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

Consider, for instance, just Mattison’s impact in the passing game. In no way would it be surprising to see Mattison surpass 50 catches in the upcoming season.

Contrary to popular belief, Kirk Cousins doesn’t check down very much. Regardless, the passing volume is such that the main RB is still in line for significant catches. Cook had 39 receptions last season even though that’s not an area of his game where he really excels.

At his best, Alexander Mattison reeled-in 32 receptions. During the 2021 season, the backup RB turned 39 targets into 32 catches for 228 yards and 1 TD. He did so while only playing 377 snaps on offense. Last year, Cook was involved in 841 snaps.

There Is a Dalvin Cook Plot Twist
Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

Again, 50+ catches wouldn’t be totally surprising for Mattison. Only 11 RBs hit 50 catches last year. The list shrinks down to just 5 if we push things to 60 or more catches. Mattison will need to prove he’s capable of doing so, but getting into that range would be a notable accomplishment within the world of fantasy football.

Last season’s 3.8 yards-per-carry average is far from inspiring, especially since that’s a slight improvement on the 3.7 average from 2021. Previously, he has been at 4.6 (2019) and 4.5 (2020). Settling in somewhere in between – so, roughly 4.1 or 4.2 yards per carry – would significantly boost his value. At that rate, a 250-carry season would lead to more than 1,000 rushing yards.

Moreover, Mattison threatens to be a tremendous scoring threat. Without a single start in 2022, Mattison still scored 6 total touchdowns. Retaining C.J. Ham, maintaining the full offensive line, and then adding a thumper at tight end (freight train) further adds to the optimism.

The Vikings 2022 Offense by the Numbers: After Week 15
Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports.

Ty Chandler has received praise from the offensive coordinator and rookie RB DeWayne McBride has more than a few supporters. The basic fact, though, is that the Vikings don’t have anyone else in the backfield who has proven he can be effective at the NFL level. Partnering that reality with the team’s obvious commitment to running the football more means Alexander Mattison is going to do good things in fantasy.

Sinking a high opening-round selection into Justin Jefferson makes a ton of sense, especially in a PPR league. And, to be sure, there are running backs who deserve to be chosen ahead of Mr. Mattison, Christian McCaffrey foremost among them.

Vikings Not in Top
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings’ new RB1, though, offers both a high floor and high ceiling as the clear-cut starter within Minnesota’s offense. Succeeding in fantasy is all about finding value. Assuming he can be picked a bit later, Mattison looks like someone capable of giving his fantasy team an edge.

Mattison turned 25 on June 19th.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference and StatMuse helped with this piece. This piece originally appeared on PurplePTSD.