While Jackie Battle started the game against New Orleans, it was Ryan Mathews that clearly outworked him in the backfield. Attribute Mathews' light activity in the second half to Coach Norv Turner not wanting to overwork his talented running back as he is still working his way back from a shoulder injury.
That said, it appears Turner is ready to cut Mathews loose for a feature role soon based on his recent comments. Injury is the main reason why Mathews hasn’t been one of the top five fantasy backs, but it appears he ready to play at that level soon.
For PPR purposes we should also feel good about the fact that Mathews is already tied for the seventh-highest running back in targets and he didn’t even play in the first two weeks. Averaging six targets through his first three games back, if that average is kept up through five games, Mathews would have 30 targets on the season, putting him only behind Darren Sproles (39) and Ray Rice (33) on the year.
Not only does Turner have a long history of using one feature back, but he uses his running backs in the passing game perhaps more than any team other than the Saints.
Everything is in front of Mathews to make a run at being the top running back in fantasy football, now if he could only stay healthy, we might see the beginning of a terrific production from this point on. Even if Mathews should struggle to run the football at times, his work in the passing game should keep him as a low-end RB1 in PPR leagues.
|3||Arian Foster (I)||Packers|
|5||Jamaal Charles||@ Bucs|
|8||Calvin Johnson||@ Eagles|
|9||Adrian Peterson||@ Redskins|
|12||Demaryius Thomas||@ Chargers|
|13||Julio Jones (I)||Raiders|
|15||Darren McFadden||@ Falcons|
|16||Willis McGahee||@ Chargers|
|17||Victor Cruz||@ 49ers|
|18||A.J. Green||@ Browns|
|19||Reggie Wayne||@ Jets|
|21||BenJarvus Green-Ellis||@ Browns|
|22||Wes Welker||@ Seahawks|
|23||Percy Harvin||@ Redskins|
|27||Stevie Johnson||@ Cardinals|
|29||Antonio Brown||@ Titans|
|30||Dwayne Bowe||@ Bucs|
|31||Eric Decker||@ Chargers|
|32||Andre Johnson (I)||Packers|
|33||Ahmad Bradshaw||@ 49ers|
|34||Rashard Mendenhall||@ Titans|
|36||DeMarco Murray||@ Ravens|
|37||James Jones||@ Texans|
|38||C.J. Spiller||@ Cardinals|
|39||Mike Wallace||@ Titans|
|41||Mikel Leshoure||@ Eagles|
|42||Jordy Nelson||@ Texans|
|44||Steven Jackson||@ Dolphins|
|45||Stevan Ridley||@ Seahawks|
|47||Miles Austin||@ Ravens|
|48||Dez Bryant||@ Ravens|
|49||Denarius Moore||@ Falcons|
|52||Brandon Lloyd||@ Seahawks|
|59||Fred Jackson||@ Cardinals|
|61||Domenik Hixon||@ 49ers|
|64||Randall Cobb||@ Texans|
|65||Andrew Hawkins||@ Browns|
|66||Alex Green||@ Texans|
|70||Brandon Bolden||@ Seahawks|
|75||Ben Tate (I)||Packers|
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!