2013 Fantasy Outlook: Ryan Mathews
Ryan Mathews | San Diego Chargers | RB
2013 Experience: 4th Season
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Fantasy Football Outlook: I tried to find a reason why Mathews shouldn’t be a top five running back last summer, and he gave me one with a broken collarbone on his first carry in the preseason. With Mike Tolbert gone, I really thought last year Mathews would breakout, but then again, if I really felt that way, why did I trade him away in my dynasty league before the season began?
Truth was I wasn’t sure about Mathews but the situation was there for big numbers. Mathews broke his collarbone again late in the season but he proved to be a bust way before that injury.
Going as the 26th running back of the board in recent ADP trends, I can’t say the hate for Mathews has gone too far because he’s failed to play up to expectations for three years. I don’t believe we will ever see him develop into the player many thought he could be, but it’s not like San Diego’s done much over the years to give him a respectable offensive line to run behind.
Look to Mathews as a RB3 on draft day and expect Danny Woodhead to take away passing down opportunities, as the Chargers will probably keep Mathews on a pitch count for touches and snaps because of his healthy problems.
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2013 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: ADP's | Rankings | Mocks | Cheat Sheets + Auctions
To help you get ready for draft day you will notice articles for ADP advice, cheat sheets, mock drafts and projected stats for Ryan Mathews here. During the season, you can also find regular weekly ranking articles at this section as well.
August, 2012: Another Injury For Ryan Mathews
Mathews had everything laid down at his feet to be the fourth running back off the board in fantasy drafts. One carry into the preseason and a broke clavicle will set him out likely into the first few games of the season.
Considered a four to six-week injury, there are some that believe this has the chance to linger up to eight weeks.
It’s also reasonable to believe Mathews may be eased back into his feature role for a few games, especially if Ronnie Brown looks effective while Mathews is out of action.
The good news is you now have a chance to pickup a player who would’ve gone in the middle of the first round of all drafts as low as the third or fourth round. It’s just a matter of believing you can acquire enough depth at running back to wait on Mathews until he comes back to the lineup.
Even if Mathews doesn’t have a full workload, he’s at least a flex play start. Mathews played at an RB2 level last year and an RB1 level early on while sharing time with Mike Tolbert.
The only downside to Mathews game is his injury problems, but I believe his upside is worth taking in the third round and maybe even the back end of the second round. Look to Brown as a hand cuff in the later rounds for early season production.
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May, 2012: Fantasy Projections
This is going to be a tricky player to grade because on one hand Ryan Mathews has all the skills you need to be an elite fantasy back, and he’s in a perfect situation (especially with Mike Tolbert gone) to produce at that level.
On the other side of the coin is Mathews inability to stay healthy. While this side is a downer and can drive you nuts, how much different is his situation than other potential top ten runners on draft day like Darren McFadden, Chris Johnson and Jamaal Charles?
All of these runners have their concerns, but I would go as far as to say none of the runners listed are in as good of a situation as Mathews.
The Chargers use tailbacks heavily in the passing game and Mathews is a lock for over 60 receptions, even if he misses a few games. He’s also a lock for over 270 carries if he can stay healthy for a full season, and with no serious completion (keep an eye on Edwin Baker, Le’Ron McClain, for a hand cuff) he’s likely to go over double digit touchdowns.
I know what your saying, “Why does this guy deserve a pass, again, after he’s been a letdown in his first two years in the league?”
If you feel that way, I can’t blame you and believe me I understand where your coming from, but I have to call it like I see it and this guy is a top five running back on draft day.
Mathews did show flashes of being a top five back last year and these days; you just don’t have many running backs without serious competition (bell cow back, not a fake one like Shonn Greene) around.
Summer of 2011: Fantasy Projections
Ryan Mathews failed to deliver on high expectations to be the replacement for LaDainian Tomlinson. Staying on the field was a problem for Mathews as he missed four games, and because of the emergence of Mike Tolbert, Mathews only started nine games.
While expectations aren’t as high this year in fantasy circles, Mathews is still going around the top twenty fantasy backs in recent mock drafts. I find this to be a little high for a player who still has to win a starting job, will be in a RBBC and likely won’t be the top option around the end zone.
Tolbert will be a factor in this offense, and provides the team with a veteran presence that Mathews has yet to find, and the lockout did nothing to help his development. If you must have Mathews, this season, take him as a flex play,because he’s not in the ideal situation to be an accountable No.2 running back at the beginning of the season.
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It was all supposed to work out so easy, Ryan Mathews was the one feature rookie running back we could count on to produce like a first overall selection. The Chargers traded way up in the draft just to select Mathews as the next great running back with LaDainian Tomlinson gone to greener pastures with the New York Jets.
Well, things didn’t work out as planned in 2010 and Mathews was a bust for fantasy football as he found his way onto the trainers’ table with an ankle injury, and an irrelevant thumper named Mike Tolbert because a fantasy starter with eleven touchdowns on the season. If you look at Mathews numbers, while on the field he still shows signs of begin a star fantasy back in the future as he posted seven touchdowns in only 158 rushing attempts and even snagged 22 receptions.
Maybe that is why Mathews ADP is still valued as a third round selection in standard redraft leagues on Mock Draft Central (29.26 average) and a fourth rounder (36.5 ADP) at Fantasy Football Calculator, heading into the summer. While some fantasy owners seem to still have visions of big scoring days dancing in their heads, veteran owners may not have the same optimism.
Rightfully so, as Mathews failed to show he could handle the physical pounding of a starting running back last season and Tolbert will continue to be a presence in the Chargers running game, and especially in goal line situations. These red flags make Mathews more of a gamble selection and that should make his value at best a fifth round option than the ADP values listed above.
Mathews could end up with the type of numbers that make him a worthy top fifteen selection heading into 2012, as he plays in a great offense that’s produced great numbers for running backs over the past ten years. That said, Mathews needs to up his game to show the coaching staff that he’s worth keeping Tolbert on the bench. If Mathews can stay healthy (we won’t know that until we get into the regular season) I could see him establishing himself as the main option for carries, but it will be difficult to keep Tolbert from an active role in the red zone.
As noted above, this young running backs issues won’t be fully resolved until we actually see regular season play for a length of time, so valuing him as a late, late No.2 runner is decent but he would be better served as a high end flex play option on draft day. This may mean you’ll have to pass on Mathews while another owner is still envisioning a huge season, but in the third and fourth round you can still get players who don’t have the question marks for production, and that is what you want as the foundation of your squad.
Ryan Mathews hit fantasy gold as the Chargers moved up and made him their next star tail back. This team is a perfect fit for Mathews and he will be used in the passing game underneath for added value. Expect Mathews to be a top twenty fantasy back if he win the starting job this summer.
2010 Fantasy Football Outlook
College / 2010 NFL Draft: Ryan Mathews was the do it all kid for the Fresno State Bulldogs as he could run and pound in the touchdowns. Tough his effort and ability Mathews a name for himself that only got bigger as draft day came along in April.
The Chargers moved way up in the first round to make sure they nabbed Mathews over the Texans, who were thought to be looking at him closely to run with Steve Slaton. Because of the team Mathews is on and the commitment they have to using him, he is in a very rare situation for a rookie running back coming into fantasy drafts.
2010 NFL Fantasy Football Player Rankings: Early in OTA’s Mathews is the center piece of what the team is trying to do on offense. With LaDainian Tomlinson gone, this team needs another reliable option in the running game to help their dynamic passing attack.
Mathews is a hard runner that is physically gifted to be a touchdown maker in this league. Not only that but his hands are soft enough that the Chargers can still use him underneath in the passing game which they love to do with their backs.
As long as Mathews is still the projected starter come August, my only concern for his rookie year is when they get into the later part of the schedule. Rookie players aren’t used to playing in the NFL obviously, and they’ve never played a full sixteen game schedule.
Thankfully, for the Chargers they will do a lot of passing and their schedule isn’t that hard as they play in the AFC West, and they get the NFC West this season. Look for Mathews to help you most of the year as a solid fantasy player but just have an option waiting in the wings if he hits the rookie wall in December.
- Touchdown Maker
- Decent Hands
- Great Offense / Good Team
- 3rd Easiest Schedule To Run Against
- Could Hit The Rookie Wall
- Hasn’t Actually Produced…..Yet
More Fantasy Football Player Info About Ryan Mathews
Ryan Mathews | San Diego Chargers | RB
Height: 6-0 Weight: 218 | Born: 5/1/1987
2010 Experience: Rookie
Bye Week Conflicts (WK 10): Saints, Packers, Raiders
For more information about Ryan Mathews feel free to checkout our cheatsheet and mock draft pages of the website. Throughout the summer, you can find valuable information about all players that we have ranked for different leagues and where players are being selected in our monthly mock drafts.
Projected Rankings Against the Pass And Schedule Link For Ryan Mathews Found Below.