What appeared to be a regular Wednesday has quickly ramped up into a busy day for the Vikings front office. After acquiring one of the top guards on the market in Dalton Risner, the Vikings pulled the trigger on trading for former second-round running-back Cam Akers in a move that will obviously have huge implications for fantasy football. In essence for a swap of a conditional sixth, this move represents low-risk, high-reward move for the Vikings, but will he be able to beat out incumbent Alexander Mattison?
Cam Akers, Alexander Mattison Fantasy Football Outlook
Entering his fourth season in the NFL, Cam Akers has had more than his fair share of ups and downs. A second-round pick in 2020, blue skies were on the horizon being the heir apparent to Todd Gurley in the Los Angeles Rams offense led by one of the brightest names in football: Sean McVay.
During his rookie season, Akers showed up in the biggest moments, having his biggest games on Thursday night in prime time and in the two playoff games against Seattle and Green Bay in 2020. His luck took a sharp turn for the worse as he had his breakout 2021 season cut short before it began due to injury. He returned to the field in 2022, but the coaching staff just didn’t seem to use him how either of them envisioned.
After a small hiatus from the team, he came back with a vengeance. From that point on he played 73% of the offensive snaps as well as ranking fifth in running back points per game in that span. For Christmas last season, the Rams got their lone bright spot of their offense as Akers ran for over 100 yards to close out the season. It appeared that after healing from his injury, the breakout was back on track.
The first game Akers played in this season featured a head-scratching 22-carry, 29-yard stat line. In Week 2, the Rams made Akers a healthy inactive which as sudden as it may have been, was the final nail in the coffin fpr his time in Los Angeles.
The 2023 Minnesota Vikings After Week 2
In this same time, the Minnesota Vikings experienced their own struggles. After taking the NFC North last season, Minnesota started 2023 with two straight losses. They are also dead last in rushing attempts and yards. After a demoralizing loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in which newly anointed bellcow Alexander Mattison struggled heavily, they were left with no choice but to explore other options.
Head coach Kevin O’Connell and offensive coordinator Wes Philips are familiar faces for Akers as they were both on the Los Angeles staff. It can also be seen the Vikings may be looking for familiarity being the player they miss the most, Dalvin Cook, was also a Florida State Seminole prior to his time in the NFL.
Cam Akers Fantasy Football Impact
The twenty-four-year-old out of Clinton Mississippi may not have a path to the starting role in this offense, but in terms of his career, this is best that he get a fresh start when he still has some tread left on the tire. Mattison and Akers are similar to each other in terms of efficiency as pass blockers and have shown a similar receiving ability.
The Vikings are also facing a Chargers team that, in two games this season, has allowed over two hundred rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. Minnesota in their 0-2 start have ranked fourth in passing attempts so look for them to take advantage of a good matchup and slow the game down. While most new acquisitions take some time to learn the playbook, Akers is already familiar with this system.
If you are a fantasy manager who owns Akers, you should hold him for now. His value is as low as it will be currently and it can only go up from here. Best case scenario he ends up carving out a role in this offense and serves as a high RB3 or low-end RB2, worst case he is a depth piece that will look a lot better on your roster than anyone you will try to find on the waiver wire come Week 8 onward. Akers likely won’t be able to take the starting job from Mattison unless he begins to melt but he could challenge Ty Chandler for some passing down work.
Alexander Mattison Fantasy Football Outlook
Mattison owners need to take a deep breath and R-E-L-A-X. With how poorly Mattison played on Thursday night it was a wake-up call to the Vikings that they need a veteran presence in the running back room in case they need to switch things up any given game. They have been tinkering with their depth all offseason in an effort to convince themselves they are better off without Cook. Chandler has had his moments but he is nowhere near ready to shoulder the load. DeWayne McBride and Myles Gaskins are other names that just simply don’t have the trust or faith of this coaching staff yet, not like Akers does.
With options all over the receiving game, even getting passes to C.J. Ham every now and then, Akers will likely just be going into relieving Mattison. If Akers is on the waiver wire, he is perfectly fine there. If there’s truly an argument to be made between him and another bench spot on fantasy managers’ teams, consider the fact that the Rams offense seems to be making everyone look good this season. Everyone aside from Cam Akers. Mattison is still a top thirty running back and Akers remains closer to the top sixty.
Universal Responsible Gambling Disclaimer:
Ages 21+. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER
Main Photo: Stephen Bisig – USA Today Sports