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The Minnesota Vikings are doing fine without running back Adrian Peterson (knee), with Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata picking up the slack in the backfield against the New York Giants on Monday night.
While each has a role in the offense, you should treat the two differently in fantasy football going forward.
Asiata is handling the role we expected from him, and it turns out he is mostly a nuisance.
Minnesota has used the 6’0″, 219-pound running back for short-yardage plays, which doesn’t lead to great efficiency, though it does lead to touchdowns. He recorded one in the first half against the Giants on Monday.
With Peterson out in 2014, Asiata played a similar role, finishing with nine rushing touchdowns.
It’s difficult to trust him to score on a regular basis, though, and without significant yardage, he won’t be a worthwhile starter in fantasy. Except in the deepest of leagues, he isn’t even worth a roster spot until he shows he can be a bigger part of the offense.
Despite losing a scoring opportunity early to Asiata, McKinnon got into the end zone in the fourth quarter, showcasing a lot of upside in Week 4.
He scampered for a 25-yard gain early and continued to have an important role in both the running game and passing attack.
Chris Trapasso of NFL.com noted the dimension the running back brings:
Jerick McKinnon adds a fun element to #Vikings running game (mainly due to his springiness) that had been missing recently w/ AP as top RB.
— Chris Trapasso (@ChrisTrapasso) October 4, 2016
Although he couldn’t do much against the Carolina Panthers in Week 3, recording 16 carries for 45 yards in his first game without Peterson, the Vikings trust him to get the majority of the touches in the backfield. With his speed and agility, it’s only a matter of time before McKinnon’s opportunities turn into major fantasy production.
McKinnon should be owned in all leagues and could become a top-20 fantasy running back going forward. If you have a chance to add him, do it now, before it’s too late.
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