Ryan Mathews: Fantasy Owners Should Start Chargers RB on Sunday

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2012

July 26, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews (24) runs during training camp at Charger Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

With Ryan Mathews looking ready to make his 2012 debut Sunday afternoon against the Atlanta Falcons, fantasy football owners should be rushing to return the San Diego Chargers running back to their starting lineups.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported on Sunday that Mathews would be good to go Sunday (via CBS), so fantasy owners should start him without reservation.

The Falcons already have given up 55.3 fantasy points to opposing running backs after just two weeks, so Mathews instantly becomes an excellent option, even if he only sees limited touches in his first week back.

And if he's playing, you have to think he'll see 15-20 touches of the ball. No offense to Jackie Battle or Ronnie Brown, but the Chargers aren't exactly brimming with top-notch alternatives at the position.

After a disappointing rookie season, Mathews broke out in a big way in 2011, finishing with 1,546 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns in four games. There were huge expectations from Chargers fans and fantasy owners that he would become one of the elite running backs in football this season.

That was delayed at least two games when Mathews broke his clavicle in August. And while he's unlikely to resume a workhorse role immediately, he's going to get a lot of touches and put up big production eventually this year.

For fantasy owners who took a risk drafting Mathews in the first few rounds, chances are he'll be a welcome addition either as an RB2 or a nice flex play this week. I wouldn't expect a gigantic game from Mathews, but he still has a nice upside of about 20 touches, 100 yards from scrimmage and a score, in my opinion.

Go ahead and give Mathews a start for your team. The Falcons have proven to be susceptible to leaking fantasy points for opposing running backs to grab, and Mathews is as good as they've faced.

Expect a very nice return to action for Mr. Mathews on Sunday.


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