…through two exhibitions, the Chargers running back is rolling.
Mathews carried the ball nine times for 45 yards Thursday night in a 33-28 loss to the Bears. This marked his second straight productive effort, and a healthy one at that, as the regular season nears.
He rushed three times for 19 yards against the Seahawks last week.
Yes, yes, I know, it’s only preseason. But bear with me. Let’s talk about Ryan Mathews.
Even though the inimitable Shawn Siegele suggests avoiding Mathews in this piece, I think he’s still worth consideration in the 4th round or later (Fantasy Pros has his PPR ADP in the 4th round; Fantasy Football Calculator in the 5th round).
- Mathews averaged 11.6 points/game last year. Had he played all 16 games, he would have finished as RB 18 in PPR formats.
- Only 26 players in the past 3 seasons have rushed for more than 1000 yards. Mathews is one of them. If healthy, he can be productive.
- Is he injury prone? Perhaps. But would the Chargers be trotting him out for preseason games and training camp practices if they were worried about it? He’s also being drafted after Frank Gore, Darren McFadden, DeMarco Murray, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Reggie Bush, all of whom have missed time due to injury during their careers.
- Compare his upside and ADP risk to Bush, McFadden, and Chris Ivory, – i.e. other players drafted around the same time.
- Will he “lose” touches to Danny Woodhead? Probably. But he already lost those touches to Ronnie Brown last year, so it shouldn’t affect his projection for this year.
- Know who hasn’t had a previous 1000 yard season? Rookies Le’Veon Bell (who, by the way, is hurt), Eddie Lacy, and Giovani Bernard, and 2nd year player Lamar Miller (who is “neck and neck” with Daniel Thomas for starting RB duties) who are often being drafted ahead of him. A case of rookie derangement syndrome?
- Is his offensive line bad? Probably. But so is Darren McFadden’s, and he’s being drafted well ahead of Mathews. Both could be Shonn Greene All Stars.
- Mathews is a top 25 RB on a per snap and per opportunity basis.
- The RB App gives him a high end projection of 14.6 PPR points/game, and he has the 15th best median projection.