Fantasy Football Must-Draft List: Target Alexander Mattison, Jaylen Warren, David Montgomery
Getty Images. Pictured: Jaylen Warren (left) and Alexander Mattison.
Everyone is looking for the fantasy football draft target who could win your league in the 2023-2024 NFL season. Our fantasy experts are here to identify those players for you.
Sean Koerner and Chris Raybon are updating their rankings daily and can help you create a cheat sheet that will put you in a position to succeed during draft season. Also, they're here to tell you about the three running backs to target in your upcoming draft.
2023 Fantasy Football Draft Targets
RB David Montgomery
Koerner: Montgomery will be a “backup” who will still handle a big enough role to offer RB3/flex value most weeks. He’s expected to pick up the Jamaal Williams role of handling early-down and goal-line work. It’s a role that produced 17 rushing touchdowns a year ago. Now, I’m not saying Montgomery will score 15+ TDs this season, but there’s a real chance he can score double digits, and he’s a better pass-catching back than Williams, which gives him upside for more.
Montgomery would have top-10 upside if Gibbs misses time, which makes Montgomery the type of running back I created this chart for. He earned the rare A+ grade that only Kareem Hunt and Tony Pollard received last season.
RB Jaylen Warren
Koerner: Warren was already able to eat into Harris’ receiving work last year as a rookie, but he's now in a position to potentially eat into his early-down work, as well. In my expected yards per rush model, Warren ranked 10th of 58 qualified backs, while Harris ranked 50th.
Mike Tomlin has repeatedly mentioned wanting to get Warren more involved in the offense. Warren is arguably the most valuable backup in terms of ADP at RB50 right now because he should be able to beat that even if Harris was able to stay healthy for all 17 games. There's a real chance Warren could carve out a big enough role to offer RB3/Flex value at times.
Warren also carries high-end RB2 upside in the event Harris ever misses time. This could end up being a Dollar Store version of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard last season (Warren being the Pollard). Sign me up for Warren at RB50, and he gets an A+ grade from me.
RB Alexander Mattison
Raybon: I think the consensus is way too low on Mattison, and fears of him failing to assume or maintain a workhorse RB1 role are unjust.
All offseason, the Vikings have telegraphed their intentions with Mattison. First, they gave him a new deal that made him one of the top-20 highest-paid RBs in terms of guaranteed money. Then, Minnesota released Dalvin Cook, elevating Mattison to RB1 on the depth chart while opting not to sign a veteran to replace Cook. Then, the Vikings cemented Mattison’s standing by holding him out of the first two preseason games along with the rest of the first-team offense.
While some prognosticators were shook by a strong showing by Ty Chandler in Week 1 of the preseason and others were scared off by the team hosting Kareem Hunt for a visit a few days later, it’s clear the team is merely sorting out its depth behind Mattison rather than looking for a replacement.
Mattison is slated to assume a role that saw Cook average 17.8 touches per game on a 72% snap rate last season. It’s Mattison’s 2022 role (5.2 touches, 25% snap rate) that’s up for grabs and could be filled by a veteran. If the Vikings go into the season with the unproven likes of Chandler, Kene Nwangwu and DeWayne McBride behind Mattison, it’s possible that Mattison sees an even larger workload than Cook did last season.
As it stands, Mattison is one of the few RBs in the league with three-down, feature-back upside. In six career starts, he's averaging 23.3 touches for 112.0 yards from scrimmage and 0.83 total TDs. He should also benefit from the Vikings looking to deploy more heavy personnel this season after signing fullback C.J. Ham to a contract extension and giving blocking TE Josh Oliver nearly $11 million guaranteed in free agency.
I’m confidently ranking Mattison as a top-15 RB.