1 of 5 | The Los Angeles Rams agreed to trade running back Cam Akers to the Minnesota Vikings. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 21 (UPI) -- The Minnesota Vikings' decision to trade for former Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers is expected to bring uncertainty to their backfield, from a fantasy football standpoint. The move also could allow Alexander Mattison stock owners to sell high on the running back after Week 3.
The teams announced Wednesday night that they agreed to trade late picks in the 2026 NFL Draft as part of the transaction. Akers must still pass a physical before the deal can become official.
Akers, 24, joined the Rams as a second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but struggled to stay on the field because of injuries through his first four seasons. He totaled 748 yards from scrimmage and three scores as a rookie, heating up late in the season. He missed 16 games in 2021 because of a torn Achilles.
Akers returned to the field in 2022, logging a career-high 903 yards from scrimmage and seven scores. This season, poor performance and disagreements with the coaching staff led to his exit.
Akers totaled just 29 yards from scrimmage and a score on 22 touches in Week 1. He was inactive in Week 2, because of what Rams coach Sean McVay called a "coach's decision," made in "the best interest" of the team. McVay said earlier this week that the Rams were working to trade the running back.
Kyren Williams was the Rams' starting running back in their 30-23 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in Inglewood, Calif. McVay said after the game that the Rams would work to find out their starting running back, but the job would not go "back and forth."
Williams, who totaled 100 yards from scrimmage and two scores in Week 2 against the tough 49ers defense, is an RB2 going forward.
Now, Akers heads to the Vikings, where he is expected to at first play behind Mattison. Mattison, who was selected as an RB2 in many fantasy drafts, logged just 83 yards and a score on 25 touches through two weeks.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins is the Vikings' second-leading rusher, with seven yards through two starts. Akers should improve the Vikings' rushing attack, but could further hinder Mattison's value. Ty Chandler, the Vikings' second-string running back, totaled seven touches for 27 yards so far this season.
I expect the Vikings to deploy more of a committee-style approach in the upcoming weeks. Akers could even challenge for the lead role should he outperform Mattison.
Akers deserves a bench spot on fantasy teams in leagues with at least 14 teams. No Vikings running backs should be trusted for consistent production at this point of the season, but Mattison could provide RB2-level value in Week 3 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Chargers own the league's worst defense, in terms of yards allowed. They surrendered the most passing yards and rank 15th in rushing yards allowed.
I would look to trade away Mattison if he produces this week, selling him while his stock is high in exchange for a player with better expected opportunities and easier matchups going forward.
The Vikings will host the Chargers at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday in Minneapolis.