The Fight Card: The Minnesota Vikings
Mike Boone: First to enter the ring, walk up song: “Grindin” – Lil Baby ft. Yogi
Mike Boone may be best remembered to date as a late season waiver addition who fell far below the lofty expectations when Mattison and Cook both were injured. He was one of the hottest waiver additions in week 15, and came out swinging. He produced 17.6 ppr points on 13 carries, rushing for 56 yards and 2 touchdowns, only to follow that up on championship week with 4.32 PPR points, his first game getting the nod to start. He then turned around and produced 24 PPR points in week 17 against a rigid Bears Defense. Those were the only games started in his career. Which begs the question, what is there to even talk about when dealing with the Vikings backfield. Dalvin Cook went down with a shoulder injury during week 15 and Mattison went down with an ankle injury in week 14, giving Boone the opportunity of a lifetime to show the coaching staff what he had flashed consistently in preseason games. The results outlined above were a mixed bag. Boone comes onto the scene with an above-average athleticism but poor college production. He has shown the ability to stay healthy which seems to be a unique quality for Viking runningbacks. When the opportunity presents itself, Boone has shown a willingness to step into the role and do his best to produce.
Alexander Mattison: Second to enter the ring, walk up song: Live And Let Die – Guns N’ Roses
Mattison came crashing into the scene as the must have handcuff of the 2019 season. With Cooks inability to perform a full season of health and Mattison’s third round draft capital, most fantasy owners were happy to reach as a security blanket. Mattison was drafted to the Vikings showing below-average speed, above-average burst, and average agility. From Week 1 Mattison was thrown right into the fire having won the breather back role for the backfield. Up until his injury he was seeing anywhere from 2 to 14 rushing attempts with hardly any receiving down work. His best game as a rookie was Week 6 where he boasted a line of 14 rushes for 63 yards against the Eagles. Most importantly, once Mattison recovered from his injury, the Viking trusted him enough to give carries during the playoffs, an honor the team did not bestow upon Mike Boone. The combination of draft capital, adequate athleticism and opportunity makes Mattison an intriguing stash.
If Dalvin Cook holds out, it seems from last year’s snaps and opportunities that the Viking are going to give the initial nod to Alexander Mattison. The important part here though is that it is clear Mattison will not be seeing a workhorse load with the extended absence of Dalvin Cook. Mike Boone showed he can produce a high ceiling but the path of opportunity is incredibly muddled. If we see a Vikings backfield without Cook I feel confident projecting a workload split of 60:40 in favor of Mattison. When it comes to handcuff types, Mattison isn’t someone I am looking to have rostered, especially at an FFPC ADP of 112. Mike Boone however is much cheaper with an FFPC ADP of 342 (undrafted). As a ‘low cost’ investment, Boone has the type of upside I like as my last pick of any draft. Now it should not go unsaid that with the new CBA, no one clearly understands the path of a player if they intend to hold out on the season. That should continue to keep the ADP of both Mattison and Boone suppressed until more clarity is given, and it just so happens that clarity may not be until week 1 of the NFL season.