Vikings' Dalvin Cook, Mike Boone, Alexander Mattison's Updated Fantasy Outlook

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IAugust 24, 2019

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs from Arizona Cardinals defenders Tramaine Brock (20) and D.J. Swearinger (36) during an 85-yard touchdown run in the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Jim Mone/Associated Press

The Minnesota Vikings backfield gave fantasy owners something to think about in the team's 20-9 preseason win over the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday afternoon at U.S. Bank Stadium—especially Dalvin Cook.

Cook suffered a torn ACL that ended his 2017 season after four games and was limited in 2018 by a hamstring injury. However, the 24-year-old showed a glimpse of his top form Saturday with an 85-yard touchdown run:

Minnesota Vikings @Vikings

85 yards to the crib. 👨‍🍳👨‍🍳👨‍🍳 https://t.co/eWkIOsGPOW

If 2019 is Cook's first full NFL season since the Vikings drafted him in the second round in 2017, it will be tempting to trust him as an RB1 in fantasy. According to FantasyPros, since 2017, Cook ranks sixth in yards per carry (4.82) and eighth in catch rate (78.5 percent) among running backs with at least 200 carries and 50 receptions.

Even while hampered last season, Cook proved to be a viable fantasy asset:

PFF Fantasy Football @PFF_Fantasy

Despite the injuries, Dalvin Cook forced 0.27 missed tackles per touch in 2018, which led the #NFL and ranks 5th-best by any RB this past decade. From Week 11 (his first week off the injury report) until the end of last season, Cook averaged 15.7 fantasy points per game.

Entering the regular season, ESPN has evaluated Cook as a "breakout candidate and strong RB2" and the 10th-best option at running back capable of producing 206.1 fantasy points in a backfield where he has "minimal competition for touches."

The best range to select Cook is later in the top 10 into the early teens.

But what if injuries persist for Cook? Rookie third-round back Alexander Mattison, who is set to open the regular season as Cook's backup, may be one of the smarter handcuff options in the league.

"The Vikings have a rookie RB named Alexander Mattison who they were all raving about when I stopped by their camp," The Athletic's Jay Glazer wrote Wednesday. "I mean, to a man, couldn't stop preaching his gospel. I still think Dalvin Cook will be the man but they were all about Mattison's talent."

There has also been chatter about Mattison's value in fantasy:

Michael Fabiano @Michael_Fabiano

Two rookie RBs on the rise ... Alexander Mattison and Darwin Thompson. Both need to on your late-round fantasy radar. Great targets. Go get em.

Josh Norris @JoshNorris

Alexander Mattison is an outstanding value as RB57. It's stealing.

Behind Mattison is 24-year-old second-year back Mike Boone, who has 177 rushing yards and 51 receiving yards through three preseason games.In four seasons at Cincinnati, Boone was a dual-threat with 2,250 rushing yards and 596 receiving yards.

Boone is tangled with Ameer Abdullah for third on the depth chart, but the indication is he will leapfrog Abdullah. Should that prove true into the regular season, Boone could be worth a look as a bench player or midseason waiver-wire flex addition.

For now, though, Cook and Mattison hold the most fantasy value—in that order.