Alexander Mattison's Fantasy Playoffs Outlook After Dalvin Cook Placed on COVID List

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 23, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 09: Alexander Mattison #25 of the Minnesota Vikings walks off the field after the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 9, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook was placed on the NFL's reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday, calling into question whether he'll be available for Sunday's matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. 

If he can't, fantasy players will have to turn to Alexander Mattison or Kene Nwangwu. 

Mattison is one of fantasy's best handcuffs. In the three games Cook has missed this season, Mattison has rushed 73 times for 315 yards and a touchdown, while adding 16 receptions for 133 yards and a score. 

Even against a solid Rams defense, Mattison is a borderline RB1 if he's the team starter, and a definite RB2. The Rams give up 19.7 fantasy points per week to opposing running backs, per Yahoo Sports, 18th in the NFL, so the matchup shouldn't give you any pause. 

If you have Mattison and Cook is out, you start him, no questions asked. 

Mike Clay @MikeClayNFL

Sounds like Cook is out this week. Mattison leaps back to RB1 status <a href="https://t.co/PEQH7N1P6b">https://t.co/PEQH7N1P6b</a>

Michael F. Florio @MichaelFFlorio

Alexander Mattison was activated off Covid yesterday - he is a must play now this week with Dalvin Cook now on Covid list

As for Nwangwu, he looks like a talent for the future, though he hasn't shown enough to be on your fantasy radar just yet. With only seven carries for 49 yards this year, the rookie fourth-rounder is clearly below Mattison on the depth chart. 

Even in the deepest leagues, Nwangwu probably isn't worth starting just yet. Perhaps in the future he'll carve out a bigger role—he's a promising player—but Mattison has traditionally been the clear starter when Cook sits. 

The one thing you do want to monitor is any indication that the Vikings might not give Mattison a full workload, as he's just returning from the reserve/COVID-19 list. If they decide to platoon this pair, then Mattison's upside takes a dip, while Nwangwu's potential gets bumped. 

But outside of that, expect Mattison to see the large majority of snaps and touches.