We have a trade! The Los Angeles Rams have agreed to send former second-round pick Cam Akers to the Minnesota Vikings. They have agreed to swap picks in 2026, and the fourth-year running back finds a new home in Minnesota. What does this mean for the Vikings backfield with Alexander Mattison? Is Kyren Williams “the guy” to want in dynasty now?
The Vikings Backfield
The Vikings have a new running back in their backfield. There is good reason why the Vikings decided to bring in another running back to the fold. It all starts with the current starter, Alexander Mattison, who signed this offseason to be the guy in Minnesota, finally. Mattison has been dreadful for the Vikings and our dynasty rosters. He is ranked outside the top 30 in carries, yards, touchdowns, and YPC. The only saving grace for the season has been his receiving touchdown in week one. Mattison had regressed over the years after he flashed in his early days. We have fantasy owners who have wished for those moments to come back. We know Mattison isn’t a flashy runner and can’t make the runs like Dalvin Cook used in Minnesota.
For the Vikings, Mattison isn’t the only issue. They don’t seem to like their backup running back, Ty Chandler, either. Chandler has a 0.0 YPC on four carries this season. Despite Mattison’s struggles, the Vikings weren’t eager to give Chandler more work. It doesn’t help that injuries and poor play have destroyed the Vikings’ offensive line the first two weeks.
How Does Akers Fit In?
The struggles of this Vikings backfield led to Akers joining the team. Which, to be honest, is also very bizarre for this backfield. Head Coach Kevin O’Connell is looking for some flash for the offense, and he has a history with Akers back in LA. In Akers’s first season with the Rams, O’Connell was the offensive coordinator where. His run offense ranked in the top ten in rushing categories. Akers flashed late that season and had a four-game stretch of 74 attempts for 390 yards with two touchdowns. It was almost as good as his 2022 final four-game stretch, where he had 54 attempts for 306 yards and three touchdowns.
Akers has needed a change of scenery since he was benched early in 2022, and his relationship with Rams coach Sean McVay has soured over the last two seasons. So, what can we expect moving forward for this backfield?
Honestly, Mattison and Akers aren’t that different from me in what they have produced for us in fantasy. Akers has seen more explosive games against less-than-terrible run defenses, unlike Mattison. Everyone talks about Mattison’s few big runs over his career, but Akers only has 12 runs of 15-plus yards over this mostly three-year career. In 28 career games Akers got a carry, he averaged less than 4.0 YPC in more than half of them. We all believe that Akers has this extra ability that McVay refused to use, but there has to be a reason why McVay wouldn’t use him more and why he was traded.
The Vikings will likely have a split backfield and use a hot-hand approach as the season goes on. Mattison should still have the nod as the starter, with Akers probably coming in as a backup, knocking Ty Chandler out of the rotation. As the season progresses, either one could eventually be the 1A in the offense. I’m looking to sell high on Cam Akers since he found a new home and buy low on Mattison to see if this trade lights a fire under him. They are both dynasty assets that are dropping in value as this trade is happening. For 2023, they should be considered low-end RB3s, and we hope one of them will be more efficient for this offense.
The Rams Backfield
The Rams backfield does change slightly, but I already had Akers out in LA after this Week 2 scratch. Kyren Williams is the main guy with nonthreats like Ronnie Rivers, Zach Evans, and Royce Freeman. Williams should continue to be the workhorse for this team moving forward. It’s a good time to sell high on the second-year player. He is only averaging 3.5 yards per carry. He hasn’t evaded tackles or had breakout away runs over these first two games. Williams is thriving off his four touchdowns to start the season. He also saw six receptions in week two, boosting his fantasy value. Before the season, Williams was a potential RB3 in PPR leagues, being the passing down back, but he is getting valued way higher as the starter. I’d look to sell high on the young Rams running back.
Get the Dynasty Nerds app in the Apple and Google Play stores. Mock drafts for Superflex, 1QB, and Standard. If you are a DynastyGM subscriber, it even syncs with your actual teams so that you can do rookie mock drafts with ALL of your actual picks, also on your desktop.