The Cam Akers saga took another turn on Tuesday when the Los Angeles Rams traded the fourth-year running back to the Vikings for an exchange of 2026 draft picks, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Akers’ roller-coaster tenure with the Rams comes to an end, and fantasy managers who invested in Akers are now hoping they might get a satisfying return on their investment. Meanwhile, Alexander Mattison stakeholders have to be at least a little nervous that Akers could cut into Mattison’s workload or perhaps take over the starting role.
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Rams Trade Cam Akers to Vikings
Akers’ three-plus seasons with the Rams were eventful, to say the least.
Akers tore his Achilles while training in July 2021 but was able to come back for the final regular-season game, and he served as the Rams’ lead back in their Super Bowl run that season, although his playoff numbers weren’t especially good (67-172-0 rushing, 8-76-0 receiving in four games).
It seemed as if Akers was poised for a big role in 2022, but he played behind Darrell Henderson for most of the season. When Henderson got hurt in November, Akers re-emerged and was the RB4 in half-point PPR fantasy scoring over the final six games of the season. He ran for over 100 yards in each of the Rams’ last three game of 2022 and led the NFL in rushing yardage over that span.
Cam Akers has a new home 👀 pic.twitter.com/Rp5XFUQR8a
— FantasyPros (@FantasyPros) September 20, 2023
Again, it was widely assumed that Akers would be the Rams’ lead back in 2023, but Kyren Williams out-snapped him 26-4 in the first half of the Rams’ Week 1 victory over the Seahawks. Akers had 22 carries in that game, but only because he was given the ball repeatedly in the fourth quarter as the Rams salted away an easy win. Those 22 carries produced only 29 yards. In Week 2, Akers was a healthy scratch, and the Rams used Williams in a workhorse role.
We may never know why Akers failed to maintain traction with the Rams after his comeback from the Achilles injury. He was briefly estranged from the team in 2022, during Henderson’s run as the Rams’ primary back, so clearly Akers and Rams head coach weren’t seeing eye to eye.
Now, Akers gets a much-needed change of scenery. He’ll be playing for Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell, who coached Akers as the Rams’ offensive coordinator in 2020 and 2021. That familiarity with O’Connell’s system should help Akers get up to speed quickly in Minnesota. The question is what sort of role he’ll have.
Mattison hasn’t fared well in the first two weeks of the season, with 19-62-0 rushing and 6-21-1 receiving. O’Connell and other members of the Vikings’ brass professed their faith in Mattison all summer. But the team also brought in Kareem Hunt for a workout at one point before ultimately deciding not to sign him. That suggested the Vikings were still considering possible additions to their backfield.
Highest Stuff % for RBs with at least 5 carries in Week 1, per @FantasyPtsData:
Deon Jackson: 84.6%
Keaontay Ingram: 80%
Jerome Ford: 80%
Rhamondre Stevenson: 75%
Cam Akers: 72.7%
Devin Singletary: 71.4%
— Mike Maher (@mikeMaher) September 12, 2023
The Vikings’ acquisition of Akers hasn’t damaged Mattison’s fantasy value yet, but it certainly makes Mattison a less appealing (and less tradeable) asset. If his production doesn’t pick up soon, he could find himself in a committee — or perhaps even in a backup role. His dynasty value has slipped significantly over the last two weeks. You probably couldn’t trade Akers for a second-round rookie pick in 2024 at this point.
Akers’ role with the Vikings is yet to be determined, but this certainly perks up his value for 2023, and for dynasty as well. The advice for fantasy managers is obvious: Hold him and wait to see what happens.
There’s fallout for some other players, too. Vikings RB Ty Chandler is droppable in redraft leagues. He’s no longer the clear handcuff to Mattison and has no discernible fantasy value.
Kyren Williams’ role as the Rams’ RB has solidified. If you have Williams on your roster, you’re feeling great about this trade.
It appears that Ronnie Rivers, not sixth-round rookie Zach Evans, is Williams’ primary backup. Williams is 5-9 and 195 pounds, so he’s going to need help from the bullpen at some point. A former undrafted free agent from Fresno State, Rivers is an intriguing speculative add in deeper leagues and dynasty leagues.