The Fantasy Football Impact of Alexander Mattison to the Las Vegas Raiders

Mar 24, 2024
The Fantasy Impact of Alexander Mattison to the Raiders

After five seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, Alexander Mattison tested free agency and was rewarded with a two-year, $7 million contract with the Las Vegas Raiders. Mattison was selected in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft and spent the majority of his early career backing up Dalvin Cook before notching 892 all-purpose yards in his lone starting opportunity. He’ll look to build upon that with the Raiders in the vacancy left by Josh Jacobs.

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Alexander Mattison Running Back Profile

Coming out of Boise State in the ‘19 NFL Draft, Mattison was profiled as a do-it-all back after accruing 2,800+ rushing yards and 70 targets in his three years as a Bronco. The draft capital (102nd overall) was pretty good by running back standards, but his landing spot couldn’t have been much worse for immediate fantasy production. Dropping behind Dalvin Cook during the apex of his career, Mattison handled 100 rushing attempts during his rookie season and was hardly involved in the offense as a pass-catcher through his first two years in the league.

Though he would eventually turn into a fan-favorite both off the waiver wire and in weekly DFS contests due to nagging ankle and shoulder injuries to Cook, Mattison never really pushed for a solidified “1b” role in the offense. That all changed heading into 2023, with Cook hitting the road for the first time in his career and Mattison taking over as the true RB1 in Minnesota.

Alexander Mattison Career Stats
Year G Starts Att. Rush Yards Targets Rec. Rec Yards Scores Half-PPR FP/G FP/G Rank
2019 13 0 100 462 12 10 82 1 4.9 RB70
2020 13 2 96 434 15 13 125 3 6.2 RB59
2021 16 4 134 491 39 32 228 5 6.9 RB55
2022 17 0 74 283 18 15 91 6 4.8 RB70
2023 16 13 180 700 44 30 192 3 7.4 RB44

The hype around Mattison ebbed and flowed prior to last season but never quite got out of hand. By kickoff weekend, he had an ADP around the middle of the fifth round. The production that inevitably came out of that draft capital was unspectacular, with zero 100+ yard games on the ground and only two weeks with more than three receptions.

He ended up with a decent 49.6% of the team’s rush attempts (24th-best), but that glosses over the fact that his role dwindled in the final stretch of the season. When looking back on the RB metrics from within the Vikings offense, Ty Chandler would wind up out-producing him in basically all of them. Chandler had better yards per attempt (4.5-to-3.9), yards created after contact (2.86-to-2.76), and yards per route run (1.30-to-0.69).

Possibly the most shocking numbers when comparing the two is the stark difference in efficiency at the goal line. Despite a clear size advantage, Mattison turned nine attempts from within the opponent’s five-yard line into -7 yards and zero touchdowns while Chandler converted all three of his opportunities into touchdowns.

Mattison will try to forget his questionable 2023 performance as he heads to his new home in Sin City.

How Alexander Mattison Fits in Las Vegas

The hole left by the departing Josh Jacobs in Las Vegas is substantial. The team is missing the eighth-most running back targets (57, 57%) and the ninth-most running back carries (232, 65.2%) with Jacobs (Packers) leaving town. This leaves plenty of opportunities for Mattison to gobble up, but we can’t dismiss the possibility of the incumbent running back room to soak up some of that leftover work as well.

Just three days before Martinson's signing, it was announced that veteran back Ameer Abdullah would once again be signing a one-year deal ($1.85 million) to stay with the Raiders. This marks the third year in a row that the veteran has signed a one-year deal, logging 290 passing-down snaps in the last two seasons combined. Abdullah figures to maintain that rotational role in the first year of Luke Getsy’s offense.

The larger threat to Mattison’s down-to-down snaps is more likely to be third-year back Zamir White, who saw substantially more work last season, particularly down the final stretch of the season. With Josh Jacobs nursing a quad injury, White handled 95 opportunities (carries + targets) over the team's final four games, accounting for 78.5% of his full-season number in that month alone.

Did Antonio Pierce see enough out of the young back to push for him to get more playing time? If so, Mattison could be getting squeezed for touches from both sides.

Fantasy Outlook for the Raiders’ Backfield

The infrastructure for the Raiders offense as a whole is still very questionable. Despite the obvious connection between Luke Getsy and quarterback Justin Fields, the team decided to instead pursue Gardner Minshew to battle things out with Aidan O’Connell. Though a three-way QB battle could be on the way after the NFL Draft, it will take some maneuvering to get into the top four options from their current No. 14 position.

The team also needs some pass-catchers, both for depth and as consistent week-to-week producers, even if the Davante Adams trade rumors have been dispelled (for now).

An above-league-average offense could be a tough ask after the Raiders finished 23rd in scoring offense and 27th in yards gained last season. This is, of course, including the 63-point beating they managed in Week 15 that put the nail in the Chargers ‘23 coffin.

This all points toward a struggle to find consistent fantasy production from a running back room that will be finding work for all three of their options. Abdullah shouldn't be bothered with anywhere, while Mattison will once again be battling it out with a younger, more explosive teammate. Zamir White should be our preferred fantasy selection of these options in 2024 as an RB3/4 with an upside for much more.

Bottom Line

  • Alexander Mattison emerged from the shadows of Dalvin Cook last season but didn't exceed expectations with that opportunity.
  • At no point in Mattison's career has his play emulated the level that we've seen from Josh Jacobs, which suggests a general downgrade for the Raiders' offense.
  • Zamir White may be an outright better player, pointing toward Mattison losing copious playing time throughout the season.
  • According to current Underdog ADP, Mattison is still going all the way back at RB64 despite his new surroundings. Even if I tend to think he is a league-average running back, that is too low considering his decent contract. He should be targeted in that area (end of the draft) when Zamir White (104 ADP) isn't already on your team.
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