Zero to Hero- Gary Kubiak’s Stable

Dalvin Cook & Alexander Mattison

This past offseason, the Minnesota Vikings hired rushing attack guru Gary Kubiak as an assistant head coach and “offensive advisor.” Gary’s penchant for getting the most of his running backs with his zone running scheme is well documented. Terrel Davis was a sixth-round running back in the 1995 NFL draft who ended up being a hall of famer. After Davis’ memorable four year run, including a 2008 yard rushing performance in 1998, some guy named Olandis Gary filled in for the injured Davis during the 1999 season and accumulated 1,159 rushing yards. Next up was rookie Mike Anderson in 2000, a 6th round draft pick. Anderson ran for 1,487 yards as a rookie. In 2002 and 2003, Kubiak orchestrated Clinton Portis’s first two seasons in the NFL, to the tune of 1,508 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns in 2002 and 1,591 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns in 2003. When Portis was traded in 2004 to the Redskins, some guy named Reuben Droughns accumulated 1,240 rushing yards. Kubiak continued to facilitate rushing greatness as Houston’s head coach, helping undrafted running back Arian Foster rise to great fantasy football prominence. The point is obvious: Kubiak’s running backs succeed wherever he goes.

We already know that Dalvin Cook is beasting this season with games of 111 and 154 yards during his first two games of 2019. His performance should be of no surprise after reading the aforementioned Kubiak exploits in prior years. Cook is also the most talented running back Kubiak has ever coached from a draft pedigree standpoint. So where is the dynasty opportunity here? Owners are already holding Cook with a vise-grip as a potential league winner.

Enter Alexander Mattison. We already know that Kubiak can turn undrafted free agents and late-round picks into fantasy football diamonds. Adding safety to that statement is the fact that Mattison is a third-round pick coming into the NFL after a highly productive junior season with 1,415 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns to boot. He is a plug and play RB 1/2 if or when Dalvin goes down, and Mattison is already averaging 5.7 yards per attempt on 13 touches through two games this year. Dalvin has had questionable durability so far in the NFL too, with an ACL tear his rookie year and five missed games due to hamstring ailments in 2018. Alexander Mattison could very well be a Dynasty skeleton key should or when Cook becomes injured once again.

Dynasty Action Plan: If I’m contending, I’m sending out opening offers with my 2020 second for Mattison and a 2020 third, knowing that I may have to settle for a 2020 second straight up for Mattison. I’d be less excited to acquire him for a 2020 second if the league was a ten-team Superflex where second-round picks still hold much value, but in all other league formats, sending a 2020 second would be perfectly acceptable. If you already own Cook, you HAVE to acquire Mattison if you have not already; the risk is high not to do so. Also bear in mind that in most dynasty Superflex rookie drafts this offseason, Mattison was going anywhere from the mid to late second round into the middle of the third. Know where Mattison went in your rookie draft, as this may dictate what the current Mattison owner is willing to sell him for.

Another option to consider, especially if rebuilding, is to send an aging vet to acquire Mattison. For example, trading Fitzgerald and a third for Mattison could pay dividends in a multitude of fashions. For one, if Cook gets hurt this year, you are instantly able to profit off of Mattison for a 2020 first in most cases. If Cook manages to make it through all 16 games, then perhaps in 2020 Cooks is hurt, at which point Mattison is again a plug and play RB that may now be helping your contending roster.

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