Last week, Norv Turner started Jackie Battle over Mathews in the Chargers’ win over Kansas City. And while the former first-round pick did have 61 yards rushing, it only came on 14 carries, one carry less than Battle.
Perhaps Tuner was just attempting to ease Mathews back into the flow as he returns from a broken right clavicle that kept him out of the first two games. But as of now, it looks like he intends to evenly split the load.
Even worse for Mathews’ owners is that Battle is the better goal line option, because of his 6'2", 240-pound, bruising frame. So, Battle will be taking the majority of the Chargers' rushing touchdowns—through four games Battle has three TDs, Matthews has none.
“The starter, we’ll find out on the first play of the game,” Turner said Friday after the team’s final practice this week.
Even worse for Matthews’ owners is that Turner seems fully committed to splitting carries between the pair, despite Matthews big contract.
“It’s not a big deal. One had 14 carries and one had 15 carries, and if we can get that done again, it’ll be outstanding.”
It's outstanding for the overall good of the team, but not for Mathews' point total.
But, even if he was the full-time starter, Mathews would still only be a borderline play against the Saints.
And in a 1A, 1B system, he's a must-sit.
The Saints feature one of the most explosive passing attacks in the NFL, averaging just a tick less than 321 yards a contest despite their 0-4 record. And with Drew Brees and Philip Rivers going head-to-head, expect an up-and-down shootout—the type of game running backs tend to get lost in.
In a PPR league, Matthews would be OK, because he's an excellent receiver out of the backfield. But, in standard leagues, owners must shy away from Matthews this week.