Michael Boone had a couple of strong performances late last season (but not in Week 16, grrr). Perhaps those performances can keep him on the Vikings roster this season, but so long as Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison are healthy, Boone won't have much of a chance to make an impact. Don't draft him.
Boone carried 49 times for 273 yards and three touchdowns and caught three passes for 17 yards in 16 games this season. Boone served as the Vikings' No. 3 running back for most of the season, but he started in Weeks 16 and 17 with Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison sidelined. He struggled against the Packers but had 160 yards from scrimmage versus the Bears in the regular-season finale. Boone enters 2020 with little to zero fantasy value because Cook and Mattison are both set to return to Minnesota's backfield.
Boone is expected to move down to third on the depth chart at running back in Sunday's wild-card matchup with the Saints with Dalvin Cook (shoulder) and Alexander Mattison (ankle) in line to return from multi-game absences, Eric Smith of the Vikings' official site reports. Mattison was sidelined for each of the Vikings' final three games, while Cook missed the last two contests and exited early in the Week 15 win over the Chargers. During that three-game stretch, Boone turned in 232 yards and three touchdowns on 41 carries (5.7 YPC), but little of that production (11 totes for 28 yards) came in the Week 16 loss to the Packers, when he was most likely to be used in fantasy lineups. After opening the week as full participants in practice, Cook and Mattison look set to handle their regular roles as the Nos. 1 and 2 backs, which likely leaves little work left over for Boone. In the 13 games in which both Cook and Mattison were available during the regular season, Boone played only 15 offensive snaps in total and carried the ball eight times.
Boone carried 17 times for 148 yards and a touchdown Sunday against the Bears. He also caught two of three targets for 12 yards in the 21-19 loss. Boone gashed a solid Chicago front for an impressive 8.7 yards per carry, thanks in large part to a career-long gain of 59 yards. He scored a one-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter and rounded out his performance with a pair of catches as well. Boone disappointed many fantasy owners in last week's start against the Packers, but this performance was much more along the lines of what some thought he was capable of. With that said, the rookie back could head to the bench in the playoffs if Dalvin Cook (shoulder) and Alexander Mattison (ankle) return from their injuries.
Boone is expected to serve as the Vikings' lead option on the ground Sunday against the Bears with Dalvin Cook (shoulder) and Alexander Mattison (ankle) both inactive for the contest. While the Vikings' top two backs on the depth chart were sidelined in the Week 16 loss to the Packers, Boone drew his first NFL start but couldn't capitalize on the opportunity, carrying 11 times for 28 yards and notching a five-yard reception. Boone should be on the field for the Vikings' initial snaps again in the regular-season finale, but if he struggles to get going early, coach Mike Zimmer could choose to rely more heavily on fourth-stringer Ameer Abdullah. In the loss to Green Bay, Abdullah served as the top pass-catching specialist out of the backfield (six catches for 31 yards on seven targets) and nearly matched Boone's output on the ground on far fewer carries (four totes for 27 yards).
Boone could get another start Sunday against the Bears, Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune reports. With Dalvin Cook (shoulder) ruled out and Alexander Mattison (ankle) listed as questionable, Boone should have a chance at redemption after his Week 16 start against the Packers yielded 33 yards on 12 touches. He was benched in favor of Ameer Abdullah for most of the second half, with coach Mike Zimmer noting afterward that the second-year pro had missed a few cutback lanes on his carries. In any case, the Vikings are locked in as the NFC's No. 6 seed and seemingly plan to rest some key players, but they'll also be playing against a number of backups, with the Bears ruling out defensive linemen Akiem Hicks (elbow) and Eddie Goldman (concussion). Even so, Boone makes for a risky fantasy option, particularly if Mattison is declared active prior to the 1:00 p.m. ET kickoff. Looking ahead to the playoffs, the Vikings expect Cook to be ready for the wild-card round.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/13||Green Bay Packers||26||21.22|
|8||11/01||@Green Bay Packers||26||21.22|
|14||12/13||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1||10.63|
|16||12/25||@New Orleans Saints||4||13.24|
|3 Year Avg||30||160||2||2||9||0||28|