Ryan Mathews: Fantasy Owners Shouldn't Panic Because of Chargers RB's Slow Start

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IOctober 1, 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 30:  Running back Ryan Mathews #24 of the San Diego Chargers rushes up field against pressure from linebacker Derrick Johnson #56 of the Kansas City Chiefs during the fourth quarter on September 30, 2012 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  San Diego defeated Kansas City 37-20.  (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Now is not the time to panic for fantasy owners who were expecting the Chargers' Ryan Mathews to be the every-down back in San Diego by Week 4.

Mathews is still being worked back after suffering a shoulder injury during the preseason, and despite that fact, has delivered some impressive moments out of the Chargers' backfield. None more eye-opening than Sunday's fourth quarter performance against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Mathews entered the final quarter in Week 4 with just four carries, but rushed for 60 yards on 10 attempts late, to finish the game as San Diego's leading rusher and salvage some points for concerned fantasy owners everywhere.

See? No need to panic. 

This was Mathews on his role in the Chargers' backfield following Sunday's 82-total-yard effort (via The San Diego Union-Tribune's Michael Gehlken):

I kind of expected it from last week, but you can't (dwell on) that. You've just got to keep playing and cheering on your teammates when you're not in and go 100 miles per hour when you are...This was a good week for me. I've got to keep practicing on my technique and keep doing what I'm doing. Everything will pan out.

Head coach Norv Turner expressed his confidence in Mathews after the win as well (via Gehlken):

You ask about the confidence I have in him. We're trying to put the game away, and he's the guy handling the ball, so I think that answers that question.

Turner makes a great point with that quote. If the Chargers had more faith in Week 4 starter Jackie Battle then they would be feeding him the ball late in the game. If Turner tries to "put the game away" with Battle next weekend in New Orleans, then perhaps fantasy owners should start to worry, but until then, have faith in No. 24.

Despite the uproar over the Chargers' crowded backfield, Mathews has been playing excellent football besides his lost fumble in his first game back vs. Atlanta. The third-year back has carried the ball 24 times in two games and is averaging 4.4 yards per rush. Though he hasn't found the end zone yet, it's only a matter of time before he does considering that his touches will increase with health.

Mathews is also a stellar receiving back which adds to his fantasy value. He is averaging 7.6 yards per reception on seven catches in the last two games. 

Now is not the time to panic or give up on Mathews. The Chargers are riding Battle's momentum for as long as it lasts, and will look to add to Mathews' workload as the season wears on.

Mathews is a versatile talent and a key star for San Diego's offense. Expect his fantasy output to increase over the next few weeks as the Chargers gain more confidence in him. They certainly have a lot after Sunday's fourth quarter performance. 


Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter for more Fantasy Football words of encouragement.

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter