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Is Ryan Mathews Being Drafted Too Early?

Ryan Lester@LestersLegendsSenior Writer IJuly 10, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Running back Ryan Mathews of Fresno State runs during the NFL Scouting Combine presented by Under Armour at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
Scott Boehm/Getty Images

I like Ryan Mathews this year. I think the rookie running back landed in the perfect home with San Diego.

With their strong passing game, he should have plenty of running lanes to get the job done. I just think fantasy owners may be falling a little too hard for the rookie.

Mock Draft Central has Mathews with an ADP of 16 (11th running back off the board). I know he ran for 1,808 yards and 19 TDs last year for Fresno State, but doesn’t that seem a bit high? We are talking about a pass-first team with another capable running back in Darren Sproles.

Yet, Mathews is going before running backs like Cedric Benson, Ryan Grant, Chris Wells, Pierre Thomas, Jonathan Stewart, Knowshon Moreno, and LeSean McCoy among others.

In a pass happy league, he’s also going before Reggie Wayne, Calvin Johnson, Miles Austin, Brandon Marshall, Roddy White, DeSean Jackson, Greg Jennings, Marques Colston, and others; ahead of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Tony Romo, and Matt Schaub.

I think the hype machine went too far this time. Granted, he does have some nice match-ups against the Chiefs twice, the Seahawks, Raiders twice, Rams, and Colts, that is not enough to warrant a selection over some of the most proven fantasy football players in the league.

What if he struggles to pick up blitz packages? What if he doesn’t adjust to the speed of the game? What if the Chargers defense struggles leading to more high-scoring games. When the Chargers are passing heavily, Sproles is more likely to be active.

Keeper leagues are a different story, but in standard leagues I prefer him in the late second or early third round.

Prediction: 1,200 total yards, eight touchdowns

When are you looking to take Mathews in your fantasy drafts?

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