Fantasy Football: Ryan Mathews Fantasy Jabber

Lee JohnsonSenior Analyst IAugust 15, 2010

SAN DIEGO - AUGUST 14:   Running back Ryan Mathews #24 of the San Diego Chargers carries for a first down on fourth and one against the Chicago Bears on August 14, 2010 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.   (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images


San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews is the coveted rookie fantasy football player of the year. Every season, especially in the dynasty leagues, there is at least one fresh running back that owners can’t help but speculate how awesome his rookie year may be.

Things add up for Ryan Mathews in this category. He is landing on a team that is replacing it’s legend at the position and he has Norv Turner’s run-first attack to his advantage. Not to mention, the guy led college football (FBS) in rushing last season while at Fresno State. He has the size and speed to be one of those rare feature backs that we see in the league these days.

Matthew's won't even have to win the position. The Chargers moved up in the NFL Draft to get him and they have to replace a future Hall of Fame running back in LaDainian Tomlinson. Ryan Mathews is the guy.

There is no reason to think that Mathews won’t get close to 300 touches. While Darren Sproles is still around to swipe some of those, Mathews is working hard on catching the ball.

Fresno State did not use Mathews as a receiving option much, but this is more of a reflection of their game than his ability. They just don’t throw to the backs often. Mathews is catching 50 balls a day after practice. Norv Turner has projected 250 rush and 40 catches in an interview.

Some things to consider:

The Chargers are dealing with a change at receiver with the whole Vincent Jackson thing. That can be good and bad as far as needing to run and the defense focusing on the run. There is also the holdout of tackle Marcus McNeil.


Bottom line:

The work is there for Mathews to take. He is going to be used. He is going to be a feature back who will give up some touches to a third down back, but not enough to stay away. At this time his average draft position lands at 2.09, with him going anywhere from the mid-first round to late third round. You could see his stock rise after a solid preseason debut of nine rushes for 50 yards and a couple receptions.

At the time of this capsule, Ryan Mathews ranks No. 9 on our Running Back Re-draft Rankings.