Ryan Mathews: Chargers RB Is Perfect Buy-Low Candidate

Tim KeeneyContributor IOctober 4, 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

San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews' stock is at an all-time low, but that just makes him that much more appealing. 

It's been a nightmarish start to the season for the third-year running back, who has had unreal expectations placed on him since he first put on a Chargers uniform.

To start it all off, he broke his clavicle on his first carry of the preseason. 

Bam—out for 45 days. 

In his two games since returning from injury, Mathews has totaled 44 and 61 rushing yards, and now everyone is freaking out, man.

That is, especially after a recent change on the Chargers depth chart (via Rotoworld):

Chargers now list Jackie Battle as RB starter dlvr.it/2G8jsM

— Rotoworld Football (@Rotoworld_FB) October 3, 2012

If you listen closely, you can hear the collective crash of Mathews owners throwing their computers against the wall.

If you're smart, you'll capitalize. 

Quickly.

Mathews' demotion has an incredibly ugly ring to it, but it's also just a formality, as Michael Gehlken of the UT-San Diego points out:

Team spokesman on why Battle listed No. 1 RB ahead of Mathews on online depth chart: "He just started last week, so that's why he's there."

— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) October 3, 2012

This is a player with an in-depth injury history. If you thought the Chargers weren't going to play it safe and ease him back into action, well, I like you, but you're crazy

What's shocking about all of this is that Mathews' production hasn't even been bad.

I honestly can't remember the last time someone returned from a major injury, tallied 105 rushing yards on 4.4 yards per carry and 55 receiving yards on seven catches through two—two!—games, and left people legitimately worried.

Once Mathews gets back to touching the ball 20 times per game, his incredibly productive yards-per-touch numbers—which he has displayed throughout his career—are going to make you quickly forget why you were mad in the first place.

Does Mathews bring with him some risk? Absolutely. The injury concerns will never fully subside and he has struggled with fumbles throughout his brief NFL career.

However, at this point, you can probably get the dynamic RB for so cheap that the risks should be a complete afterthought.