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Player Spotlight: Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers (1 Viewer)

Jason Wood

Zoo York
2013 Player Spotlight Series

One of Footballguys best assets is our message board community. The Shark Pool is, in our view, the best place on the internet to discuss, debate and analyze all things fantasy football. In what's become an annual tradition, the Player Spotlight series is a key part of the preseason efforts. As many of you know, we consider the Player Spotlight threads the permanent record for analyzing the fantasy prospects of the player in question. This year, we plan to publish more than 140 offensive spotlights covering the vast majority of expected skill position starters.

As always we will post a list of players to be discussed each week. Those threads will remain open for the entire preseason, and should be a central point to discuss expectations for the player in question.

Thread Topic: Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers

Player Page Link: Ryan Mathews Player Page

Each article will include:

  • Detailed viewpoint from a Footballguys staff member
  • Links to thoughtful viewpoints from around the Web
  • FBG Projections
The Rules

In order for this thread to provide maximum value, we ask that you follow a few simple guidelines:

  • Focus commentary on the player (or players) in question, and your expectations for said player (or players)
  • Back up your expectations in whatever manner you deem appropriate; avoid posts that simply say "I hate him" or "He's the best"
  • Avoid redundancies or things like "good posting" ... this should be about incremental analysis or debate
While not a requirement, we strongly encourage you to provide your own projections for the player (players):

Projections should include:

  • For QBs: Attempts, Completions, Passing Yards, Passing TDs, Ints, Rush Attempts, Rush Yards, Rush TDs
  • For RBs: Rushes, Rushing Yards, Rush TDs, Receptions, Receiving Yards, Receiving TDs
  • For WRs & TEs: Receptions, Receiving Yards, Receiving TDs
 

Carthac

Footballguy
- Frequently injured, by what appears to be non-major collisions

- Stated he needs to avoid contact and stop going for extra yards

- The regime that drafted and invested a large amount of time into him is gone

- Was available last season, and lost his starting role for several games to Jackie Battle O_O

- Team is looking fairly poor, so they will often times be behind, limiting his number of rushing attempts

- He had a 3.84 YPC average over 184 rushing attempts last year

Given now that we have 3 years of tape on him, I feel what we have seen of Mathews is what were going to get, and it does not look good

 

Beerguzzler

Footballguy
14 carries

3 injuries

1.0 disappointments per ownership
This cuts deeply :topcat:

I've had high hopes for this punk ### for years now, to be constantly disappointed. His only hope for the season is a new blocking scheme combined with 4 new starters on the O line. Neither will help though if he gets broken again.

I will say that I am excited to see him run behind Fluker. He's gonna make some massive run lanes this season.

 

Donsmith753

Footballguy
I moved him from my last dynasty roster a few months ago having drafted him in the second round as a rookie.

He just doesn't seem to have it. That said I wouldn't be surprised if he has a few productive seasons down the road, most likely on his second team.

 

FF Ninja

Footballguy
The short term memory affliction of so many fantasy footballers makes for at least one or two bargains each year. Quotes like "he just doesn't seem to have it" are hilarious. He's just one season removed from finishing #7 despite only playing 14 games, not being the goal line back, and not playing third downs. But people can only remember back about 8 months for some reason.

I'm sure as this thread wears on people will balk and cry about Woodhead's presence. "OMG, Mathews is going to lose third downs!" How can he lose something he never had? He was catching over 3.5 receptions per game without third down duties in 2011. In a 16 game slate, that would be 57 receptions. Should the new staff decide to keep their playmaker on the field for third downs this year, then that's just bonus. Right now, I'd be very content with 50-60 receptions, but I guess people are just looking for reasons to downgrade Mathews. Other than his receiving game, Woodhead offers very little as a rusher. He was the least elusive running back last year, so I wouldn't worry about him stealing meaningful carries from Mathews.

But let's talk about this disastrous 2012 season that was apparently Mathews' one and only season in the NFL. In that season, the Chargers' offensive line kept their trend of getting worse each year, finishing the season near the bottom of most rankings. The WR unit lost its only viable threat in Vincent Jackson and finished the year with Floyd as the leading receiver with 56/814/5. Gates hobbled through 15 games and recorded his worst season since his rookie year. Rivers watched his YPA decrease from 8.7 in 2010 to 7.9 in 2011 to a mere 6.8 in 2012. His worst finish in his career. Norv's offense went from 1st in yards, 2nd in points in 2010 to 5th/6th in 2011 to 31st/20th in 2012. As such, he was finally fired.

So as you can see, 2012 was a cluster **** for the entire team. No running back is going to thrive on an offense that has collapsed. But people can't look past the end-of-year numbers because actual analysis might be asking a bit too much. And the injuries just make piling on Mathews the low hanging fruit of the fantasy football world. Yes, let's insert clever jokes about him having more injuries than carries or a quip about injuring his cervix in a sad attempt to gain favor in the eyes of other low hanging fruit seekers.

Anyway, if we actually take a look, we'd see that Mathews clearly has NFL talent. The year after Tomlinson rushed for a measly 3.3 ypc, behind the same poor line, Mathews was able to find 4.3 ypc. Incidentally, Tomlinson was able to put up 4.2 ypc the next year behind a better line in New York. Mathews improved upon his rookie year for a very impressive 4.9 ypc behind a still deteriorating offensive line in 2011. On top of that, he averaged 9.1 yards per reception on 50 receptions. Making his exclusion in the 2 minute drill and third downs even more confusing.

For 2013, the Chargers have cleaned the slate with a new regime. Offensive head coach Mike McCoy has shown an ability to adapt his offense to his players rather than try to force his players into a specific scheme. His OC, Ken Whisenhunt, has displayed similar adaptability as he has headed run-heavy and pass-heavy offenses. Additionally, the Chargers will have an improved WR corps with a full offseason with Danario Alexander, a healthy Vincent Brown (missed all of last season), and talented rookie Keenan Allen. By all accounts, Rivers has looked sharp this offseason. Should they rekindle even 80% of what he was in 2010, this could be a top 10 offense considering it was borderline top 5 on what was a down year for him. He's only 31 years old which is still in the prime for QBs. Finally, they did upgrade the line. They drafted Fluker (RT) in the first round of the draft (considered a better run blocker than pass blocker) and signed Starks to play LT. Starks is no stud, but he's definitely better than what they had last year.

While I often advise people to ignore offseason fluff, the new regime has specifically called Mathews a bellcow back, but speaking stronger than words would be the lack of notable additions at his position. As previously mentioned, Woodhead is not much of a rusher. Ronnie Brown (31) had more receptions than rushes last year. And LeRon McClain has not recorded over 46 carries since 2008. Given Mathews injury history I am surprised they didn't bring in anyone else. I certainly couldn't have faulted them if they did. But the fact that they didn't should be telling to anyone who is actually listening. Mathews has some of the least competition for carries out of any starting RB in the NFL right now.

Given that McCoy/Whisenhunt could go any direction with this offense, I'll just have to guess at their likely RB usage. The median number of running back rushes last year in the NFL was 371. Should Mathews stay healthy I can't see him getting less than 60% of the carries. He'll definitely be more productive per carry than any of the other RBs. Given his effectiveness in the passing game, they'd be silly not to utilize him even if they don't use him on third downs. Not only was he productive when he caught the ball, but he caught 85% of his targets in 2011. So I'm going to predict 225 rushes and 50 receptions this year, but I wouldn't be surprised if he earns more carries or some 3rd down time. He's a willing and able blocker.

Of course there's the ever popular injury topic. I think he had a High Ankle Sprain in week 2 of his rookie year which lingered and hurt his production when he came back early from it. He missed one meaningful game in 2011 and was held out of a meaningless week 17 game. Then in 2012 he broke a clavicle in the preseason which cost him 2 games and didn't miss any time until he broke the other clavicle in week 15. Clavicle injuries are pretty freakish to me. Adrian Peterson had one in college. High Ankle Sprains happen to everyone. It's not like he's been afflicted with them all the time. All in all, I think the hysteria surrounding his injuries is quite overblown, but I'll be happy to scoop him up in the 4th round if you guys want to freak out about it. At his current ADP of RB25 (5.04 in a 12-team) he's an absolute steal.

225 x 4.5 = 1013 yds 8 TD, 50 rec x 8 ypr = 400 yds 2 TD

 

Bayhawks

Footballguy
The short term memory affliction of so many fantasy footballers makes for at least one or two bargains each year. Quotes like "he just doesn't seem to have it" are hilarious. He's just one season removed from finishing #7 despite only playing 14 games, not being the goal line back, and not playing third downs. But people can only remember back about 8 months for some reason.

I'm sure as this thread wears on people will balk and cry about Woodhead's presence. "OMG, Mathews is going to lose third downs!" How can he lose something he never had? He was catching over 3.5 receptions per game without third down duties in 2011. In a 16 game slate, that would be 57 receptions. Should the new staff decide to keep their playmaker on the field for third downs this year, then that's just bonus. Right now, I'd be very content with 50-60 receptions, but I guess people are just looking for reasons to downgrade Mathews. Other than his receiving game, Woodhead offers very little as a rusher. He was the least elusive running back last year, so I wouldn't worry about him stealing meaningful carries from Mathews.

But let's talk about this disastrous 2012 season that was apparently Mathews' one and only season in the NFL. In that season, the Chargers' offensive line kept their trend of getting worse each year, finishing the season near the bottom of most rankings. The WR unit lost its only viable threat in Vincent Jackson and finished the year with Floyd as the leading receiver with 56/814/5. Gates hobbled through 15 games and recorded his worst season since his rookie year. Rivers watched his YPA decrease from 8.7 in 2010 to 7.9 in 2011 to a mere 6.8 in 2012. His worst finish in his career. Norv's offense went from 1st in yards, 2nd in points in 2010 to 5th/6th in 2011 to 31st/20th in 2012. As such, he was finally fired.

So as you can see, 2012 was a cluster **** for the entire team. No running back is going to thrive on an offense that has collapsed. But people can't look past the end-of-year numbers because actual analysis might be asking a bit too much. And the injuries just make piling on Mathews the low hanging fruit of the fantasy football world. Yes, let's insert clever jokes about him having more injuries than carries or a quip about injuring his cervix in a sad attempt to gain favor in the eyes of other low hanging fruit seekers.

Anyway, if we actually take a look, we'd see that Mathews clearly has NFL talent. The year after Tomlinson rushed for a measly 3.3 ypc, behind the same poor line, Mathews was able to find 4.3 ypc. Incidentally, Tomlinson was able to put up 4.2 ypc the next year behind a better line in New York. Mathews improved upon his rookie year for a very impressive 4.9 ypc behind a still deteriorating offensive line in 2011. On top of that, he averaged 9.1 yards per reception on 50 receptions. Making his exclusion in the 2 minute drill and third downs even more confusing.

For 2013, the Chargers have cleaned the slate with a new regime. Offensive head coach Mike McCoy has shown an ability to adapt his offense to his players rather than try to force his players into a specific scheme. His OC, Ken Whisenhunt, has displayed similar adaptability as he has headed run-heavy and pass-heavy offenses. Additionally, the Chargers will have an improved WR corps with a full offseason with Danario Alexander, a healthy Vincent Brown (missed all of last season), and talented rookie Keenan Allen. By all accounts, Rivers has looked sharp this offseason. Should they rekindle even 80% of what he was in 2010, this could be a top 10 offense considering it was borderline top 5 on what was a down year for him. He's only 31 years old which is still in the prime for QBs. Finally, they did upgrade the line. They drafted Fluker (RT) in the first round of the draft (considered a better run blocker than pass blocker) and signed Starks to play LT. Starks is no stud, but he's definitely better than what they had last year.

While I often advise people to ignore offseason fluff, the new regime has specifically called Mathews a bellcow back, but speaking stronger than words would be the lack of notable additions at his position. As previously mentioned, Woodhead is not much of a rusher. Ronnie Brown (31) had more receptions than rushes last year. And LeRon McClain has not recorded over 46 carries since 2008. Given Mathews injury history I am surprised they didn't bring in anyone else. I certainly couldn't have faulted them if they did. But the fact that they didn't should be telling to anyone who is actually listening. Mathews has some of the least competition for carries out of any starting RB in the NFL right now.

Given that McCoy/Whisenhunt could go any direction with this offense, I'll just have to guess at their likely RB usage. The median number of running back rushes last year in the NFL was 371. Should Mathews stay healthy I can't see him getting less than 60% of the carries. He'll definitely be more productive per carry than any of the other RBs. Given his effectiveness in the passing game, they'd be silly not to utilize him even if they don't use him on third downs. Not only was he productive when he caught the ball, but he caught 85% of his targets in 2011. So I'm going to predict 225 rushes and 50 receptions this year, but I wouldn't be surprised if he earns more carries or some 3rd down time. He's a willing and able blocker.

Of course there's the ever popular injury topic. I think he had a High Ankle Sprain in week 2 of his rookie year which lingered and hurt his production when he came back early from it. He missed one meaningful game in 2011 and was held out of a meaningless week 17 game. Then in 2012 he broke a clavicle in the preseason which cost him 2 games and didn't miss any time until he broke the other clavicle in week 15. Clavicle injuries are pretty freakish to me. Adrian Peterson had one in college. High Ankle Sprains happen to everyone. It's not like he's been afflicted with them all the time. All in all, I think the hysteria surrounding his injuries is quite overblown, but I'll be happy to scoop him up in the 4th round if you guys want to freak out about it. At his current ADP of RB25 (5.04 in a 12-team) he's an absolute steal.

225 x 4.5 = 1013 yds 8 TD, 50 rec x 8 ypr = 400 yds 2 TD
:goodposting:

I think this projection is pretty good. Mathews has the potential to be a mid-round steal at RB this year, perfect for those FF drafters who miss out on the early, stud RBs and/or go WR/WR or big QB early.

My projected carries are a little higher, but I have 1 fewer TD projected, so the end totals are close.

250 carries @ 4.3 YPC=1075 yards, 45 receptions @ 7 YPR=315 yards, 9 total TD

 

ldizzle

Footballguy
The short term memory affliction of so many fantasy footballers makes for at least one or two bargains each year. Quotes like "he just doesn't seem to have it" are hilarious. He's just one season removed from finishing #7 despite only playing 14 games, not being the goal line back, and not playing third downs. But people can only remember back about 8 months for some reason.

I'm sure as this thread wears on people will balk and cry about Woodhead's presence. "OMG, Mathews is going to lose third downs!" How can he lose something he never had? He was catching over 3.5 receptions per game without third down duties in 2011. In a 16 game slate, that would be 57 receptions. Should the new staff decide to keep their playmaker on the field for third downs this year, then that's just bonus. Right now, I'd be very content with 50-60 receptions, but I guess people are just looking for reasons to downgrade Mathews. Other than his receiving game, Woodhead offers very little as a rusher. He was the least elusive running back last year, so I wouldn't worry about him stealing meaningful carries from Mathews.

But let's talk about this disastrous 2012 season that was apparently Mathews' one and only season in the NFL. In that season, the Chargers' offensive line kept their trend of getting worse each year, finishing the season near the bottom of most rankings. The WR unit lost its only viable threat in Vincent Jackson and finished the year with Floyd as the leading receiver with 56/814/5. Gates hobbled through 15 games and recorded his worst season since his rookie year. Rivers watched his YPA decrease from 8.7 in 2010 to 7.9 in 2011 to a mere 6.8 in 2012. His worst finish in his career. Norv's offense went from 1st in yards, 2nd in points in 2010 to 5th/6th in 2011 to 31st/20th in 2012. As such, he was finally fired.

So as you can see, 2012 was a cluster **** for the entire team. No running back is going to thrive on an offense that has collapsed. But people can't look past the end-of-year numbers because actual analysis might be asking a bit too much. And the injuries just make piling on Mathews the low hanging fruit of the fantasy football world. Yes, let's insert clever jokes about him having more injuries than carries or a quip about injuring his cervix in a sad attempt to gain favor in the eyes of other low hanging fruit seekers.

Anyway, if we actually take a look, we'd see that Mathews clearly has NFL talent. The year after Tomlinson rushed for a measly 3.3 ypc, behind the same poor line, Mathews was able to find 4.3 ypc. Incidentally, Tomlinson was able to put up 4.2 ypc the next year behind a better line in New York. Mathews improved upon his rookie year for a very impressive 4.9 ypc behind a still deteriorating offensive line in 2011. On top of that, he averaged 9.1 yards per reception on 50 receptions. Making his exclusion in the 2 minute drill and third downs even more confusing.

For 2013, the Chargers have cleaned the slate with a new regime. Offensive head coach Mike McCoy has shown an ability to adapt his offense to his players rather than try to force his players into a specific scheme. His OC, Ken Whisenhunt, has displayed similar adaptability as he has headed run-heavy and pass-heavy offenses. Additionally, the Chargers will have an improved WR corps with a full offseason with Danario Alexander, a healthy Vincent Brown (missed all of last season), and talented rookie Keenan Allen. By all accounts, Rivers has looked sharp this offseason. Should they rekindle even 80% of what he was in 2010, this could be a top 10 offense considering it was borderline top 5 on what was a down year for him. He's only 31 years old which is still in the prime for QBs. Finally, they did upgrade the line. They drafted Fluker (RT) in the first round of the draft (considered a better run blocker than pass blocker) and signed Starks to play LT. Starks is no stud, but he's definitely better than what they had last year.

While I often advise people to ignore offseason fluff, the new regime has specifically called Mathews a bellcow back, but speaking stronger than words would be the lack of notable additions at his position. As previously mentioned, Woodhead is not much of a rusher. Ronnie Brown (31) had more receptions than rushes last year. And LeRon McClain has not recorded over 46 carries since 2008. Given Mathews injury history I am surprised they didn't bring in anyone else. I certainly couldn't have faulted them if they did. But the fact that they didn't should be telling to anyone who is actually listening. Mathews has some of the least competition for carries out of any starting RB in the NFL right now.

Given that McCoy/Whisenhunt could go any direction with this offense, I'll just have to guess at their likely RB usage. The median number of running back rushes last year in the NFL was 371. Should Mathews stay healthy I can't see him getting less than 60% of the carries. He'll definitely be more productive per carry than any of the other RBs. Given his effectiveness in the passing game, they'd be silly not to utilize him even if they don't use him on third downs. Not only was he productive when he caught the ball, but he caught 85% of his targets in 2011. So I'm going to predict 225 rushes and 50 receptions this year, but I wouldn't be surprised if he earns more carries or some 3rd down time. He's a willing and able blocker.

Of course there's the ever popular injury topic. I think he had a High Ankle Sprain in week 2 of his rookie year which lingered and hurt his production when he came back early from it. He missed one meaningful game in 2011 and was held out of a meaningless week 17 game. Then in 2012 he broke a clavicle in the preseason which cost him 2 games and didn't miss any time until he broke the other clavicle in week 15. Clavicle injuries are pretty freakish to me. Adrian Peterson had one in college. High Ankle Sprains happen to everyone. It's not like he's been afflicted with them all the time. All in all, I think the hysteria surrounding his injuries is quite overblown, but I'll be happy to scoop him up in the 4th round if you guys want to freak out about it. At his current ADP of RB25 (5.04 in a 12-team) he's an absolute steal.

225 x 4.5 = 1013 yds 8 TD, 50 rec x 8 ypr = 400 yds 2 TD
:goodposting:

I think this projection is pretty good. Mathews has the potential to be a mid-round steal at RB this year, perfect for those FF drafters who miss out on the early, stud RBs and/or go WR/WR or big QB early.

My projected carries are a little higher, but I have 1 fewer TD projected, so the end totals are close.

250 carries @ 4.3 YPC=1075 yards, 45 receptions @ 7 YPR=315 yards, 9 total TD
I completely agree with both of you. his current ADP is around round 5 right now, which could be a steal. He broke both collar bones last year, which sucked but was a freak occurrence. Guys that are going before him have just as much risk/reward but he is going a full 2-3 rounds later. I just don't get it.

 

ol blues

Footballguy
Mathews is such a polarizing player that there rarely is any logical, dispassioned discussion of his skills and weaknesses. As a prior post notes Mathews had a very strong 2011 despite missing all or part of 4 games and his production so far surpassed his ADP that he was a huge bargain as roughly a 6th round mid level RB1. While I doubt he repeats that strong a performance anytime soon, he's a pretty easy mid round flier given the absence of quality depth behind him, the new coaching regime's track record of maximizing the success of its offensive players (adjust smoothly to Tebow as your QB in mid season and flawlessly integrate a weaker armed than normal Peyton Manning the next season: how do you do that?) and his reasonable skills despite all of the wailing. While I'm not that much of a Chargers optimist this season they have a number of pluses including an underrated defense and a strength of schedule that isn't all that daunting. Mathews likely will find his way on to a team or 2 of mine if he continues his trend of a falling ADP.

 

FF Ninja

Footballguy
I think this projection is pretty good. Mathews has the potential to be a mid-round steal at RB this year, perfect for those FF drafters who miss out on the early, stud RBs and/or go WR/WR or big QB early.

My projected carries are a little higher, but I have 1 fewer TD projected, so the end totals are close.

250 carries @ 4.3 YPC=1075 yards, 45 receptions @ 7 YPR=315 yards, 9 total TD
Yeah, my projection was very conservative. It was only ~60% of 371. I have no idea how they're going to actually run the offense this year, but I'll be shocked if a healthy Mathews gets less than 60% of the workload. If he plays 16 games, 225 carries would only be 14/gm, so 250 should be easily attainable.

 

greggorymac

Footballguy
Bayhawks said:
FF Ninja said:
The short term memory affliction of so many fantasy footballers makes for at least one or two bargains each year. Quotes like "he just doesn't seem to have it" are hilarious. He's just one season removed from finishing #7 despite only playing 14 games, not being the goal line back, and not playing third downs. But people can only remember back about 8 months for some reason.

I'm sure as this thread wears on people will balk and cry about Woodhead's presence. "OMG, Mathews is going to lose third downs!" How can he lose something he never had? He was catching over 3.5 receptions per game without third down duties in 2011. In a 16 game slate, that would be 57 receptions. Should the new staff decide to keep their playmaker on the field for third downs this year, then that's just bonus. Right now, I'd be very content with 50-60 receptions, but I guess people are just looking for reasons to downgrade Mathews. Other than his receiving game, Woodhead offers very little as a rusher. He was the least elusive running back last year, so I wouldn't worry about him stealing meaningful carries from Mathews.

But let's talk about this disastrous 2012 season that was apparently Mathews' one and only season in the NFL. In that season, the Chargers' offensive line kept their trend of getting worse each year, finishing the season near the bottom of most rankings. The WR unit lost its only viable threat in Vincent Jackson and finished the year with Floyd as the leading receiver with 56/814/5. Gates hobbled through 15 games and recorded his worst season since his rookie year. Rivers watched his YPA decrease from 8.7 in 2010 to 7.9 in 2011 to a mere 6.8 in 2012. His worst finish in his career. Norv's offense went from 1st in yards, 2nd in points in 2010 to 5th/6th in 2011 to 31st/20th in 2012. As such, he was finally fired.

So as you can see, 2012 was a cluster **** for the entire team. No running back is going to thrive on an offense that has collapsed. But people can't look past the end-of-year numbers because actual analysis might be asking a bit too much. And the injuries just make piling on Mathews the low hanging fruit of the fantasy football world. Yes, let's insert clever jokes about him having more injuries than carries or a quip about injuring his cervix in a sad attempt to gain favor in the eyes of other low hanging fruit seekers.

Anyway, if we actually take a look, we'd see that Mathews clearly has NFL talent. The year after Tomlinson rushed for a measly 3.3 ypc, behind the same poor line, Mathews was able to find 4.3 ypc. Incidentally, Tomlinson was able to put up 4.2 ypc the next year behind a better line in New York. Mathews improved upon his rookie year for a very impressive 4.9 ypc behind a still deteriorating offensive line in 2011. On top of that, he averaged 9.1 yards per reception on 50 receptions. Making his exclusion in the 2 minute drill and third downs even more confusing.

For 2013, the Chargers have cleaned the slate with a new regime. Offensive head coach Mike McCoy has shown an ability to adapt his offense to his players rather than try to force his players into a specific scheme. His OC, Ken Whisenhunt, has displayed similar adaptability as he has headed run-heavy and pass-heavy offenses. Additionally, the Chargers will have an improved WR corps with a full offseason with Danario Alexander, a healthy Vincent Brown (missed all of last season), and talented rookie Keenan Allen. By all accounts, Rivers has looked sharp this offseason. Should they rekindle even 80% of what he was in 2010, this could be a top 10 offense considering it was borderline top 5 on what was a down year for him. He's only 31 years old which is still in the prime for QBs. Finally, they did upgrade the line. They drafted Fluker (RT) in the first round of the draft (considered a better run blocker than pass blocker) and signed Starks to play LT. Starks is no stud, but he's definitely better than what they had last year.

While I often advise people to ignore offseason fluff, the new regime has specifically called Mathews a bellcow back, but speaking stronger than words would be the lack of notable additions at his position. As previously mentioned, Woodhead is not much of a rusher. Ronnie Brown (31) had more receptions than rushes last year. And LeRon McClain has not recorded over 46 carries since 2008. Given Mathews injury history I am surprised they didn't bring in anyone else. I certainly couldn't have faulted them if they did. But the fact that they didn't should be telling to anyone who is actually listening. Mathews has some of the least competition for carries out of any starting RB in the NFL right now.

Given that McCoy/Whisenhunt could go any direction with this offense, I'll just have to guess at their likely RB usage. The median number of running back rushes last year in the NFL was 371. Should Mathews stay healthy I can't see him getting less than 60% of the carries. He'll definitely be more productive per carry than any of the other RBs. Given his effectiveness in the passing game, they'd be silly not to utilize him even if they don't use him on third downs. Not only was he productive when he caught the ball, but he caught 85% of his targets in 2011. So I'm going to predict 225 rushes and 50 receptions this year, but I wouldn't be surprised if he earns more carries or some 3rd down time. He's a willing and able blocker.

Of course there's the ever popular injury topic. I think he had a High Ankle Sprain in week 2 of his rookie year which lingered and hurt his production when he came back early from it. He missed one meaningful game in 2011 and was held out of a meaningless week 17 game. Then in 2012 he broke a clavicle in the preseason which cost him 2 games and didn't miss any time until he broke the other clavicle in week 15. Clavicle injuries are pretty freakish to me. Adrian Peterson had one in college. High Ankle Sprains happen to everyone. It's not like he's been afflicted with them all the time. All in all, I think the hysteria surrounding his injuries is quite overblown, but I'll be happy to scoop him up in the 4th round if you guys want to freak out about it. At his current ADP of RB25 (5.04 in a 12-team) he's an absolute steal.

225 x 4.5 = 1013 yds 8 TD, 50 rec x 8 ypr = 400 yds 2 TD
:goodposting:

I think this projection is pretty good. Mathews has the potential to be a mid-round steal at RB this year, perfect for those FF drafters who miss out on the early, stud RBs and/or go WR/WR or big QB early.

My projected carries are a little higher, but I have 1 fewer TD projected, so the end totals are close.

250 carries @ 4.3 YPC=1075 yards, 45 receptions @ 7 YPR=315 yards, 9 total TD
I think both your rushing and TD projections are on target but don't you think Mathews will lose a considerable amount of receptions with Woodhead in town? He is a much better pass catching back.

 

FF Ninja

Footballguy
I think both your rushing and TD projections are on target but don't you think Mathews will lose a considerable amount of receptions with Woodhead in town? He is a much better pass catching back.
I think I addressed that question by saying that Mathews has never been the Chargers' third down back - the role I expect Woodhead to have the best chance of winning.

As for the bolded, what do you base that on? Mathews looked more than capable in 2011. I'm not saying there aren't better pass catching RBs out there, just that not many guys qualify as "much better" than Mathews.

 

greggorymac

Footballguy
I think both your rushing and TD projections are on target but don't you think Mathews will lose a considerable amount of receptions with Woodhead in town? He is a much better pass catching back.
I think I addressed that question by saying that Mathews has never been the Chargers' third down back - the role I expect Woodhead to have the best chance of winning.

As for the bolded, what do you base that on? Mathews looked more than capable in 2011. I'm not saying there aren't better pass catching RBs out there, just that not many guys qualify as "much better" than Mathews.
So you project Mathews having 50 receptions if he's relegated to 1st and 2nd downs?

 

johnadams

Footballguy
Mid five ADP on Mathews. I might actually jump in round three. Perfect scenario for a guy to outperform his ADP. Promising second year derailed by injury riddled third year. IMO, only real question is health. A healthy Mathews has legit top 10 upside. I think I'm a good enough drafter in the mid rounds to take a chance.

 

Carthac

Footballguy
Mid five ADP on Mathews. I might actually jump in round three. Perfect scenario for a guy to outperform his ADP. Promising second year derailed by injury riddled third year. IMO, only real question is health. A healthy Mathews has legit top 10 upside. I think I'm a good enough drafter in the mid rounds to take a chance.
Round 3 would just be absurd. You cant draft him over Bush, V Jackson, Gronk, Cobb, Cruz

 

Bayhawks

Footballguy
Bayhawks said:
FF Ninja said:
The short term memory affliction of so many fantasy footballers makes for at least one or two bargains each year. Quotes like "he just doesn't seem to have it" are hilarious. He's just one season removed from finishing #7 despite only playing 14 games, not being the goal line back, and not playing third downs. But people can only remember back about 8 months for some reason.

I'm sure as this thread wears on people will balk and cry about Woodhead's presence. "OMG, Mathews is going to lose third downs!" How can he lose something he never had? He was catching over 3.5 receptions per game without third down duties in 2011. In a 16 game slate, that would be 57 receptions. Should the new staff decide to keep their playmaker on the field for third downs this year, then that's just bonus. Right now, I'd be very content with 50-60 receptions, but I guess people are just looking for reasons to downgrade Mathews. Other than his receiving game, Woodhead offers very little as a rusher. He was the least elusive running back last year, so I wouldn't worry about him stealing meaningful carries from Mathews.

But let's talk about this disastrous 2012 season that was apparently Mathews' one and only season in the NFL. In that season, the Chargers' offensive line kept their trend of getting worse each year, finishing the season near the bottom of most rankings. The WR unit lost its only viable threat in Vincent Jackson and finished the year with Floyd as the leading receiver with 56/814/5. Gates hobbled through 15 games and recorded his worst season since his rookie year. Rivers watched his YPA decrease from 8.7 in 2010 to 7.9 in 2011 to a mere 6.8 in 2012. His worst finish in his career. Norv's offense went from 1st in yards, 2nd in points in 2010 to 5th/6th in 2011 to 31st/20th in 2012. As such, he was finally fired.

So as you can see, 2012 was a cluster **** for the entire team. No running back is going to thrive on an offense that has collapsed. But people can't look past the end-of-year numbers because actual analysis might be asking a bit too much. And the injuries just make piling on Mathews the low hanging fruit of the fantasy football world. Yes, let's insert clever jokes about him having more injuries than carries or a quip about injuring his cervix in a sad attempt to gain favor in the eyes of other low hanging fruit seekers.

Anyway, if we actually take a look, we'd see that Mathews clearly has NFL talent. The year after Tomlinson rushed for a measly 3.3 ypc, behind the same poor line, Mathews was able to find 4.3 ypc. Incidentally, Tomlinson was able to put up 4.2 ypc the next year behind a better line in New York. Mathews improved upon his rookie year for a very impressive 4.9 ypc behind a still deteriorating offensive line in 2011. On top of that, he averaged 9.1 yards per reception on 50 receptions. Making his exclusion in the 2 minute drill and third downs even more confusing.

For 2013, the Chargers have cleaned the slate with a new regime. Offensive head coach Mike McCoy has shown an ability to adapt his offense to his players rather than try to force his players into a specific scheme. His OC, Ken Whisenhunt, has displayed similar adaptability as he has headed run-heavy and pass-heavy offenses. Additionally, the Chargers will have an improved WR corps with a full offseason with Danario Alexander, a healthy Vincent Brown (missed all of last season), and talented rookie Keenan Allen. By all accounts, Rivers has looked sharp this offseason. Should they rekindle even 80% of what he was in 2010, this could be a top 10 offense considering it was borderline top 5 on what was a down year for him. He's only 31 years old which is still in the prime for QBs. Finally, they did upgrade the line. They drafted Fluker (RT) in the first round of the draft (considered a better run blocker than pass blocker) and signed Starks to play LT. Starks is no stud, but he's definitely better than what they had last year.

While I often advise people to ignore offseason fluff, the new regime has specifically called Mathews a bellcow back, but speaking stronger than words would be the lack of notable additions at his position. As previously mentioned, Woodhead is not much of a rusher. Ronnie Brown (31) had more receptions than rushes last year. And LeRon McClain has not recorded over 46 carries since 2008. Given Mathews injury history I am surprised they didn't bring in anyone else. I certainly couldn't have faulted them if they did. But the fact that they didn't should be telling to anyone who is actually listening. Mathews has some of the least competition for carries out of any starting RB in the NFL right now.

Given that McCoy/Whisenhunt could go any direction with this offense, I'll just have to guess at their likely RB usage. The median number of running back rushes last year in the NFL was 371. Should Mathews stay healthy I can't see him getting less than 60% of the carries. He'll definitely be more productive per carry than any of the other RBs. Given his effectiveness in the passing game, they'd be silly not to utilize him even if they don't use him on third downs. Not only was he productive when he caught the ball, but he caught 85% of his targets in 2011. So I'm going to predict 225 rushes and 50 receptions this year, but I wouldn't be surprised if he earns more carries or some 3rd down time. He's a willing and able blocker.

Of course there's the ever popular injury topic. I think he had a High Ankle Sprain in week 2 of his rookie year which lingered and hurt his production when he came back early from it. He missed one meaningful game in 2011 and was held out of a meaningless week 17 game. Then in 2012 he broke a clavicle in the preseason which cost him 2 games and didn't miss any time until he broke the other clavicle in week 15. Clavicle injuries are pretty freakish to me. Adrian Peterson had one in college. High Ankle Sprains happen to everyone. It's not like he's been afflicted with them all the time. All in all, I think the hysteria surrounding his injuries is quite overblown, but I'll be happy to scoop him up in the 4th round if you guys want to freak out about it. At his current ADP of RB25 (5.04 in a 12-team) he's an absolute steal.

225 x 4.5 = 1013 yds 8 TD, 50 rec x 8 ypr = 400 yds 2 TD
:goodposting:

I think this projection is pretty good. Mathews has the potential to be a mid-round steal at RB this year, perfect for those FF drafters who miss out on the early, stud RBs and/or go WR/WR or big QB early.

My projected carries are a little higher, but I have 1 fewer TD projected, so the end totals are close.

250 carries @ 4.3 YPC=1075 yards, 45 receptions @ 7 YPR=315 yards, 9 total TD
I think both your rushing and TD projections are on target but don't you think Mathews will lose a considerable amount of receptions with Woodhead in town? He is a much better pass catching back.
Woodhead only had 40 receptions in 2012 (his career high), so I don't know that is is a "much" better pass catcher. Plus, he's not going to take the 1st/2nd down plays from Mathews. If he is going to take a considerable amount of receptions from anyone, it will be Ronnie Brown, IMO.

Mathews had 39 catches in 2012, despite missing 4 games, so 45 receptions is a slight down-tick in catches/game (assuming he plays 16 games).

 
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Bayhawks

Footballguy
I think both your rushing and TD projections are on target but don't you think Mathews will lose a considerable amount of receptions with Woodhead in town? He is a much better pass catching back.
I think I addressed that question by saying that Mathews has never been the Chargers' third down back - the role I expect Woodhead to have the best chance of winning.

As for the bolded, what do you base that on? Mathews looked more than capable in 2011. I'm not saying there aren't better pass catching RBs out there, just that not many guys qualify as "much better" than Mathews.
So you project Mathews having 50 receptions if he's relegated to 1st and 2nd downs?
in 2012, Mathews had 39 catches. He was targeted on 2 passes, all season, on 3rd downs. He has already been relegated to 1st/2nd downs. When you consider that those 39 catches came in just 12 games, projecting 45 or 50 catches for 2013 doesn't seem like any kind of stretch.

 
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FF Ninja

Footballguy
I think both your rushing and TD projections are on target but don't you think Mathews will lose a considerable amount of receptions with Woodhead in town? He is a much better pass catching back.
I think I addressed that question by saying that Mathews has never been the Chargers' third down back - the role I expect Woodhead to have the best chance of winning.

As for the bolded, what do you base that on? Mathews looked more than capable in 2011. I'm not saying there aren't better pass catching RBs out there, just that not many guys qualify as "much better" than Mathews.
So you project Mathews having 50 receptions if he's relegated to 1st and 2nd downs?
Did you even read my original post?

FF Ninja said:
I'm sure as this thread wears on people will balk and cry about Woodhead's presence. "OMG, Mathews is going to lose third downs!" How can he lose something he never had? He was catching over 3.5 receptions per game without third down duties in 2011. In a 16 game slate, that would be 57 receptions. Should the new staff decide to keep their playmaker on the field for third downs this year, then that's just bonus.
 

FF Ninja

Footballguy
Mid five ADP on Mathews. I might actually jump in round three. Perfect scenario for a guy to outperform his ADP. Promising second year derailed by injury riddled third year. IMO, only real question is health. A healthy Mathews has legit top 10 upside. I think I'm a good enough drafter in the mid rounds to take a chance.
Round 3 would just be absurd. You cant draft him over Bush, V Jackson, Gronk, Cobb, Cruz
It only feels absurd because you're used to seeing him in the 5th. He's got more pedigree and body of work than David Wilson and Lamar Miller, but they're going in the 3rd. To me it is much more absurd that he's going in the 5th than it is to consider taking him in the 3rd. If I had been living in a cave since the season ended and you told me that SD had drafted a RT, signed a LT, fired Norv, hired McCoy, drafted no rookie RBs, and the most significant RB on the roster behind Mathews was Woodhead, I'd have guessed that Mathews was going at a 3rd round price price due to injury risk discount.

That being said, if I were to draft today, I feel confident enough that I can wait until the 4th for him that I'd do it. But I'd gladly take him at 4.01.

 

Carthac

Footballguy
Mid five ADP on Mathews. I might actually jump in round three. Perfect scenario for a guy to outperform his ADP. Promising second year derailed by injury riddled third year. IMO, only real question is health. A healthy Mathews has legit top 10 upside. I think I'm a good enough drafter in the mid rounds to take a chance.
Round 3 would just be absurd. You cant draft him over Bush, V Jackson, Gronk, Cobb, Cruz
It only feels absurd because you're used to seeing him in the 5th. He's got more pedigree and body of work than David Wilson and Lamar Miller, but they're going in the 3rd. To me it is much more absurd that he's going in the 5th than it is to consider taking him in the 3rd. If I had been living in a cave since the season ended and you told me that SD had drafted a RT, signed a LT, fired Norv, hired McCoy, drafted no rookie RBs, and the most significant RB on the roster behind Mathews was Woodhead, I'd have guessed that Mathews was going at a 3rd round price price due to injury risk discount.

That being said, if I were to draft today, I feel confident enough that I can wait until the 4th for him that I'd do it. But I'd gladly take him at 4.01.
But you are making an argument for huge upside when there is strong proven talent in the 3rd that is much safer. I can kind of understand a 5th rouhd pick, but i'm even scared of that given the other options around him.

You don't draft a guys upside in that appropriate round. If a player has low RB1 talent but has not exhibited that production yet, you draft him in later rounds hoping he can react that production. To draft him in the third because he has low RB1 upside would be ludicrious

 

Shutout

Footballguy
I have been so busy lately I didn't get a chance to put this together so I'll give the cliff note's version:

"Buy Ryan Matthews Right Now"

After studying this one for a while now, I am every bit as excited about adding him to my dynasty teams in ppr as I was Dez Bryant last year. His time is coming.

 

butcher boy

Footballguy
Injury has as much to do with propensity to injury as it does the type of injuries a player has received and whether or not that type is likely to recur. Look at McFadden and how people a few years ago were saying his injuries weren't recurring. Some dudes are just more brittle than others.

Ryan Mathews has proven to be about as soft a player as I've ever seen. He's taken himself out of games at an absurd rate, and now he's saying he wants to avoid contact. I'm pretty confident in labeling this guy an injury risk.

That said, I don't like ANY of the RBs going at his current ADP. It's amazing comparing the RBs from rounds 4-5 last year and RBs at the same ADP this year. I will most likely already have 2-3 RBs by the time Mathews ADP comes up and I'll most likely be looking at WR or QB around then.

 
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PhantomJB

Footballguy
In projecting Ryan Mathews for 2013 it is instructive to review his historical performance, for which we have three years' worth of solid data.

38 Games Played

14.8 rush att / game

4.4 ypc

0.36 TD's / game

2.9 recpts / game

7.7 yds / recpt

0.0 TD's receiving

Over 16 games this projects out to:

Rushing: 237 carries / 1,042 yards / 6 TD's

Receiving: 46 recpts / 357 yards / 0 TD's

His role in 2013 should be similar to what he had in the past (starter, primarily 2-down back but majority of carries). With the addition of Woodhead to the SD offense, it is likely Mathews will not be the 3rd down back again this year.

For upside potential, whereas in the past Mathews was victim of a fair amount of goal line TD vulturing from guys like Tolbert and Jackie Battle, this year he may get the chance to earn more GL looks if Battle is not re-signed. In addition, the O-line appears to have improved (couldn't have gotten much worse than 2012) and all the WR's should be healthy.

As far as downside risks, he has yet to play 16 games in a season so the injury risk is very real.

If Mathews breaks his injury trend and plays all 16 games I would project:

240 carries / 1,056 yards / 7 TD (would revise TD's downward if Battle re-signed)

40 receptions / 308 yards / 1 TD (slightly lower recpts due to Woodead's presence)

There appears some value in his current FF Calc ADP of RB27 (late 5th) since it appears many drafters are punishing him too much for his past injuries and for being disappointed he isn't the second coming of LT. However, I personally would not draft him higher than RB23 (late 4th).

 
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Just Win Baby

Footballguy
In projecting Ryan Mathews for 2013 it is instructive to review his historical performance, for which we have three years' worth of solid data.

38 Games Played

14.8 rush att / game

4.4 ypc

0.36 TD's / game

2.9 recpts / game

7.7 yds / recpt

0.0 TD's receiving

Over 16 games this projects out to:

Rushing: 237 carries / 1,042 yards / 6 TD's

Receiving: 46 recpts / 357 yards / 0 TD's

His role in 2013 should be similar to what he had in the past (starter, primarily 2-down back but majority of carries). With the addition of Woodhead to the SD offense, it is likely Mathews will not be the 3rd down back again this year.

For upside potential, whereas in the past Mathews was victim of a fair amount of goal line TD vulturing from guys like Tolbert and Jackie Battle, this year he may get the chance to earn more GL looks if Battle is not re-signed. In addition, the O-line appears to have improved (couldn't have gotten much worse than 2012) and all the WR's should be healthy.

As far as downside risks, he has yet to play 16 games in a season so the injury risk is very real.

If Mathews breaks his injury trend and plays all 16 games I would project:

240 carries / 1,056 yards / 7 TD (would revise TD's downward if Battle re-signed)

40 receptions / 308 yards / 1 TD (slightly lower recpts due to Woodead's presence)

There appears some value in his current FF Calc ADP of RB27 (late 5th) since it appears many drafters are punishing him too much for his past injuries and for being disappointed he isn't the second coming of LT. However, I personally would not draft him higher than RB23 (late 4th).
:goodposting:

 

FF Ninja

Footballguy
Mid five ADP on Mathews. I might actually jump in round three. Perfect scenario for a guy to outperform his ADP. Promising second year derailed by injury riddled third year. IMO, only real question is health. A healthy Mathews has legit top 10 upside. I think I'm a good enough drafter in the mid rounds to take a chance.
Round 3 would just be absurd. You cant draft him over Bush, V Jackson, Gronk, Cobb, Cruz
It only feels absurd because you're used to seeing him in the 5th. He's got more pedigree and body of work than David Wilson and Lamar Miller, but they're going in the 3rd. To me it is much more absurd that he's going in the 5th than it is to consider taking him in the 3rd. If I had been living in a cave since the season ended and you told me that SD had drafted a RT, signed a LT, fired Norv, hired McCoy, drafted no rookie RBs, and the most significant RB on the roster behind Mathews was Woodhead, I'd have guessed that Mathews was going at a 3rd round price price due to injury risk discount.

That being said, if I were to draft today, I feel confident enough that I can wait until the 4th for him that I'd do it. But I'd gladly take him at 4.01.
But you are making an argument for huge upside when there is strong proven talent in the 3rd that is much safer. I can kind of understand a 5th rouhd pick, but i'm even scared of that given the other options around him.

You don't draft a guys upside in that appropriate round. If a player has low RB1 talent but has not exhibited that production yet, you draft him in later rounds hoping he can react that production. To draft him in the third because he has low RB1 upside would be ludicrious
What is this strong proven talent that is much safer? Reggie Bush - the only guy I like on that list. Cruz - slot receiver still overrated from his fluke plays in his breakout year. Cobb - overrated and not safe. Gronk - I like Gronk but calling him safe is a joke. VJax - relying on Freeman, no thanks. But these are mostly WRs. They won't help you if you want your RB2 in this round.

The point I was making is that Mathews is actually more proven than the other running backs taken in round 3. It is no accident that you only listed one RB. The reality is that if you want a solid RB2, you have to start taking risks in the third round. Right now Miller (RB21) and Wilson (RB20) have not proven anything. Mathews is just one season removed from finishing RB7 on just 14 games. So you aren't drafting him at his upside in the 3rd round. He has 1st round upside, thus taking him in the third round would not be ludicrous at all. I will of course be happy to land him in the 4th or 5th round, but a strong case can be made for taking him in the 3rd.

FWIW, he finished RB30 last year in just 12 games and with only 1 TD in what was an absolute disaster of a season in SD. He got hurt pretty early in week 15, so if you just look at weeks 3-14, Mathews was RB21. I honestly can't imagine him finishing worse than RB20 if he plays 16 games this year and if he doesn't play all 16, you'll probably get low end RB1/high end RB2 ppg numbers from him while healthy. And if you wait until his ADP to snag him (RB25) then you've probably got a pretty good RB to tandem with him.

 

We Tigers

Footballguy
He is definitely worth a small reach in the 4th, and is one of the better choices for a team that takes Graham, Rodgers, etc. and still needs an RB with upside. I'm a fan for this season.

 

johnadams

Footballguy
To me, the cliff at RB is between CJ and MJD. Once CJ is off the board at RB14, it's extremely speculative. Here are the guys between MJD and Mathews, in order:

Round 2 ADP:

MJD: 28 yrs old, coming off major injury, terrible offense. Best finish: RB3 in 2012

RBush: 28 yrs old, only two seasons with a full 16 games played, in 7 seasons, has never finished higher than RB13 in non PPR. Best Finish: RB13 in 2011

Gore: 30 yrs old, dwindling carries per game, 3 seasons in 8 with a full 16 games played. Most recent top 10 finish: RB5 in 2009 with Rb 11 in 2012.

Round 3 ADP:

Murray: Has yet to play more than 13 games, coming off injury marred season.

Wilson: 2nd year player with upside, but has done very little as a pro (did not surpass 400 yfs last year).

Miller: I can write a long reason why I think he is overvalued, but for here, has done less than Wilson at the professional level.

McFadden: Has yet to play more than 13 games in five seasons coming off an even worse year than Mathews (3.3 ypc). Best Finish: RB6 in 2010

Round 4 ADP:

Sproles: 30 yrs old, coming off injury shortened season. Best finish: RB10 in 2011

Montee Ball: Rookie

Laveon Bell: Rookie

Round 5 ADP

Ivory: Coming off two consecutive 6 game seasons due to injuries.

Bradshaw: One 16 game season in 6, though he's been more durable than I recall. Best Finish: RB10 in 2011

Mathews: 3 injury shortened season. Best finish, RB7 in 2011

Lacy: Rookie

Mendenhall: Coming off serious injury, new team, may not make final squad, let alone start.

My point isn't that these guys are garbage, just that there are question marks to every single player on this list and Mathews as at least answered one of the big ones, which is that he has the talent to finish in the top 10. He's definitely not in the tough guy mold like Bradshaw and Gore, who if they were normal people, would have missed a lot more games. And he's certainly an injury risk, but McFadden and Murray are at least equal in their risk. In my rankings, I have RBush at the top of this list followed by Wilson, then Mathews, then Murray. I may not draft that way as there is a lot to consider, but I have a third round grade on Mathews.

 

Instinctive

Footballguy
The injury prone myth is often a HUGE value causation factor. Every year we see guys who people think will always get hurt and the way they fall in drafts. Sometimes, a guy is just unlucky. This isn't a case of Andrew Bynum putting nearly 300 pounds and 7 feet onto his knees whenever he walks...these are RBs with stout frames and a ton of contact. All RBs get hurt...those that haven't been hurt simply haven't been hurt yet.

It's insane, to me, to think that because a guy was unlucky enough to break both clavicles in one year, he must have this terrible curse and propensity for injury. This year, guys like McFadden, Mathews, Nicks...all represent GREAT value at their ADP. People have so heavily weighed this fear that they are the opposite of superhuman as to push their ADP far below their situation + talent equations of risk and reward.

Mathews represents massive value this year, especially from the back of the first round where you can start with Graham/WR or Graham and a guy like Chris Johnson (also falling too far) or CJ/WR and easily make up the difference with guys like Mathews.

240 carries

1100 yards

50 receptions

400 yards

10 total TDs

Definitely a guy I want on my teams.

 

Instinctive

Footballguy
240 carries

1100 yards

50 receptions

400 yards

10 total TDs

Definitely a guy I want on my teams.
I'm just not seeing this. San Diego scored a total of 4 rush TD's last year and is ranked 32nd in O-line in 2013 by Rotoworld.
And this year has new starters, isn't as injured, and will likely improve.

I look at the Chargers 2012 like the Red Sox from Sept 2011-2012: A HORRIBLE run of bad luck. If you replayed those seasons again a bunch of times, my hypothesis is that the SD 2012 season is in the bottom 10% of all the outcomes you'd get for the Chargers if you replayed the same season 1000 times.

I think that with improvements, and projecting a 50th percentile expectation, 10 total TDs (a 7/3 or 8/2 split or rush:rec for him, IMO) is totally within reason.

We've got a major recency bias that we should be more aware of. So many things went wrong for that team last year that I think this expectation is really based more on reality than a projection based off of what they accomplished last season.

 

PhantomJB

Footballguy
Instinctive said:
PhantomJB said:
Instinctive said:
240 carries

1100 yards

50 receptions

400 yards

10 total TDs

Definitely a guy I want on my teams.
I'm just not seeing this. San Diego scored a total of 4 rush TD's last year and is ranked 32nd in O-line in 2013 by Rotoworld.
And this year has new starters, isn't as injured, and will likely improve.

I look at the Chargers 2012 like the Red Sox from Sept 2011-2012: A HORRIBLE run of bad luck. If you replayed those seasons again a bunch of times, my hypothesis is that the SD 2012 season is in the bottom 10% of all the outcomes you'd get for the Chargers if you replayed the same season 1000 times.

I think that with improvements, and projecting a 50th percentile expectation, 10 total TDs (a 7/3 or 8/2 split or rush:rec for him, IMO) is totally within reason.

We've got a major recency bias that we should be more aware of. So many things went wrong for that team last year that I think this expectation is really based more on reality than a projection based off of what they accomplished last season.
Projecting Mathews to score 4 more TD's than his previous career high seems a tad aggressive is all.

Just as a reality check here are some reasonably talented RB's that scored 10 or fewer TD's in 2012.

2012 TD's

Ray Rice 10 (9 rush + 1 rec)

F. Gore 9 (8/1)

CJ Spiller 8 (6/2)

R. Bush 8 (6/2)

CJ2K 6 (6/0)

SJax 4 (4/0)

As an aside, Danny Woodhead scored 7 TD's in 2012, which is one more than Mathews' career high. His cap on Mathews' upside is very real.

 

butcher boy

Footballguy
Instinctive said:
The injury prone myth is often a HUGE value causation factor. Every year we see guys who people think will always get hurt and the way they fall in drafts. Sometimes, a guy is just unlucky. This isn't a case of Andrew Bynum putting nearly 300 pounds and 7 feet onto his knees whenever he walks...these are RBs with stout frames and a ton of contact. All RBs get hurt...those that haven't been hurt simply haven't been hurt yet.

It's insane, to me, to think that because a guy was unlucky enough to break both clavicles in one year, he must have this terrible curse and propensity for injury. This year, guys like McFadden, Mathews, Nicks...all represent GREAT value at their ADP. People have so heavily weighed this fear that they are the opposite of superhuman as to push their ADP far below their situation + talent equations of risk and reward.

Mathews represents massive value this year, especially from the back of the first round where you can start with Graham/WR or Graham and a guy like Chris Johnson (also falling too far) or CJ/WR and easily make up the difference with guys like Mathews.

240 carries

1100 yards

50 receptions

400 yards

10 total TDs

Definitely a guy I want on my teams.
:lmao: You still going on about how injury history is a myth? I remember you saying this in the McFadden thread last year and look how that turned out.

Injury history is not a myth, it is a real thing. Some guys are more prone to injury than most for a number of reasons. Jene Bramel wrote a great article on this site pertaining to it. At this point, I think it's safe to say Mathews falls into this category. I do think that some players can shed the fragile tag, but I haven't seen any indication that Mathews has done this yet.

 

Instinctive

Footballguy
Instinctive said:
PhantomJB said:
Instinctive said:
240 carries

1100 yards

50 receptions

400 yards

10 total TDs

Definitely a guy I want on my teams.
I'm just not seeing this. San Diego scored a total of 4 rush TD's last year and is ranked 32nd in O-line in 2013 by Rotoworld.
And this year has new starters, isn't as injured, and will likely improve.

I look at the Chargers 2012 like the Red Sox from Sept 2011-2012: A HORRIBLE run of bad luck. If you replayed those seasons again a bunch of times, my hypothesis is that the SD 2012 season is in the bottom 10% of all the outcomes you'd get for the Chargers if you replayed the same season 1000 times.

I think that with improvements, and projecting a 50th percentile expectation, 10 total TDs (a 7/3 or 8/2 split or rush:rec for him, IMO) is totally within reason.

We've got a major recency bias that we should be more aware of. So many things went wrong for that team last year that I think this expectation is really based more on reality than a projection based off of what they accomplished last season.
Projecting Mathews to score 4 more TD's than his previous career high seems a tad aggressive is all.

Just as a reality check here are some reasonably talented RB's that scored 10 or fewer TD's in 2012.

2012 TD's

Ray Rice 10 (9 rush + 1 rec)

F. Gore 9 (8/1)

CJ Spiller 8 (6/2)

R. Bush 8 (6/2)

CJ2K 6 (6/0)

SJax 4 (4/0)

As an aside, Danny Woodhead scored 7 TD's in 2012, which is one more than Mathews' career high. His cap on Mathews' upside is very real.
TDs are fluky. I just don't see another goalline option and think he could score a few more. Not gonna argue about it :shrug:

Will cut you off on Woodhead though - Mathews has NEVER, in his career, had the 3rd down role. Or the goal line role (see: Mike Tolbert, Ronnie Brown for both in last couple years). Woodhead isn't going to take away 1/2 down work...he does almost nothing to affect Mathews by "taking away" or "capping" upside by having all the third down work because I'm already assuming Mathews isn't in on 3rd down.

Also, your point about Woodhead's TDs speaks not about Woodhead, but about how TDs are highly dependent upon the offense you play in. I think the Chargers offense scores a lot more this year, therefore I think Mathews scores more. NE scored 67 TDs (25 rushing) and San Diego scored 39 (4 rush). The SD OFFENSE only had 30, whereas the NE OFFENSE had 59 and led the NFL in points scored.

Of course Woodhead scored more...it had nothing to do with him being a major talent or a guy who is going to steal all the goal line stuff in SD though. Context matters.

 

Instinctive

Footballguy
:lmao: You still going on about how injury history is a myth?
injury history /= injury proneness (as a predictive measure)
:goodposting:

That's what I was going to say.

And maybe Mathews has terribly weak clavicles. It's possible. I'm betting against it. All RBs get hurt. Some are just lucky for a few years in a row, others are unlucky.

Had Peterson tore his ACL in year one or two, coming off all the college injuries, he'd have got the tag too. And people would have been wrong.

Maaaaaaybe it exists. But there's no way "injury proneness" exists to the extent that the majority of FF players seem to think it does. The tag is applied FAR more often than it should be.

 

butcher boy

Footballguy
:lmao: You still going on about how injury history is a myth?
injury history /= injury proneness (as a predictive measure)
:goodposting:

That's what I was going to say.

And maybe Mathews has terribly weak clavicles. It's possible. I'm betting against it. All RBs get hurt. Some are just lucky for a few years in a row, others are unlucky.

Had Peterson tore his ACL in year one or two, coming off all the college injuries, he'd have got the tag too. And people would have been wrong.

Maaaaaaybe it exists. But there's no way "injury proneness" exists to the extent that the majority of FF players seem to think it does. The tag is applied FAR more often than it should be.
I'd apply it to maybe 3-4 current players right now, McFadden and Mathews included. That's not exactly applying it far too often.

The bottom line is that just because injuries can happen to anyone doesn't mean some players aren't built in ways, train in ways, or play in ways that make them more prone to get injured or be "unlucky".

 

Just Win Baby

Footballguy
Instinctive said:
PhantomJB said:
Instinctive said:
240 carries

1100 yards

50 receptions

400 yards

10 total TDs

Definitely a guy I want on my teams.
I'm just not seeing this. San Diego scored a total of 4 rush TD's last year and is ranked 32nd in O-line in 2013 by Rotoworld.
And this year has new starters, isn't as injured, and will likely improve.

I look at the Chargers 2012 like the Red Sox from Sept 2011-2012: A HORRIBLE run of bad luck. If you replayed those seasons again a bunch of times, my hypothesis is that the SD 2012 season is in the bottom 10% of all the outcomes you'd get for the Chargers if you replayed the same season 1000 times.

I think that with improvements, and projecting a 50th percentile expectation, 10 total TDs (a 7/3 or 8/2 split or rush:rec for him, IMO) is totally within reason.

We've got a major recency bias that we should be more aware of. So many things went wrong for that team last year that I think this expectation is really based more on reality than a projection based off of what they accomplished last season.
Projecting Mathews to score 4 more TD's than his previous career high seems a tad aggressive is all.

Just as a reality check here are some reasonably talented RB's that scored 10 or fewer TD's in 2012.

2012 TD's

Ray Rice 10 (9 rush + 1 rec)

F. Gore 9 (8/1)

CJ Spiller 8 (6/2)

R. Bush 8 (6/2)

CJ2K 6 (6/0)

SJax 4 (4/0)

As an aside, Danny Woodhead scored 7 TD's in 2012, which is one more than Mathews' career high. His cap on Mathews' upside is very real.
Mathews had 7 TDs in 2010, and on just 180 touches. You seem to be saying his career high is 6.

 

SaintsInDome2006

Footballguy
FF Ninja said:
The short term memory affliction of so many fantasy footballers makes for at least one or two bargains each year. Quotes like "he just doesn't seem to have it" are hilarious. He's just one season removed from finishing #7 despite only playing 14 games, not being the goal line back, and not playing third downs. But people can only remember back about 8 months for some reason.

I'm sure as this thread wears on people will balk and cry about Woodhead's presence. "OMG, Mathews is going to lose third downs!" How can he lose something he never had? He was catching over 3.5 receptions per game without third down duties in 2011. In a 16 game slate, that would be 57 receptions. Should the new staff decide to keep their playmaker on the field for third downs this year, then that's just bonus. Right now, I'd be very content with 50-60 receptions, but I guess people are just looking for reasons to downgrade Mathews. Other than his receiving game, Woodhead offers very little as a rusher. He was the least elusive running back last year, so I wouldn't worry about him stealing meaningful carries from Mathews.

But let's talk about this disastrous 2012 season that was apparently Mathews' one and only season in the NFL. In that season, the Chargers' offensive line kept their trend of getting worse each year, finishing the season near the bottom of most rankings. The WR unit lost its only viable threat in Vincent Jackson and finished the year with Floyd as the leading receiver with 56/814/5. Gates hobbled through 15 games and recorded his worst season since his rookie year. Rivers watched his YPA decrease from 8.7 in 2010 to 7.9 in 2011 to a mere 6.8 in 2012. His worst finish in his career. Norv's offense went from 1st in yards, 2nd in points in 2010 to 5th/6th in 2011 to 31st/20th in 2012. As such, he was finally fired.

So as you can see, 2012 was a cluster **** for the entire team. No running back is going to thrive on an offense that has collapsed. But people can't look past the end-of-year numbers because actual analysis might be asking a bit too much. And the injuries just make piling on Mathews the low hanging fruit of the fantasy football world. Yes, let's insert clever jokes about him having more injuries than carries or a quip about injuring his cervix in a sad attempt to gain favor in the eyes of other low hanging fruit seekers.

Anyway, if we actually take a look, we'd see that Mathews clearly has NFL talent. The year after Tomlinson rushed for a measly 3.3 ypc, behind the same poor line, Mathews was able to find 4.3 ypc. Incidentally, Tomlinson was able to put up 4.2 ypc the next year behind a better line in New York. Mathews improved upon his rookie year for a very impressive 4.9 ypc behind a still deteriorating offensive line in 2011. On top of that, he averaged 9.1 yards per reception on 50 receptions. Making his exclusion in the 2 minute drill and third downs even more confusing.

For 2013, the Chargers have cleaned the slate with a new regime. Offensive head coach Mike McCoy has shown an ability to adapt his offense to his players rather than try to force his players into a specific scheme. His OC, Ken Whisenhunt, has displayed similar adaptability as he has headed run-heavy and pass-heavy offenses. Additionally, the Chargers will have an improved WR corps with a full offseason with Danario Alexander, a healthy Vincent Brown (missed all of last season), and talented rookie Keenan Allen. By all accounts, Rivers has looked sharp this offseason. Should they rekindle even 80% of what he was in 2010, this could be a top 10 offense considering it was borderline top 5 on what was a down year for him. He's only 31 years old which is still in the prime for QBs. Finally, they did upgrade the line. They drafted Fluker (RT) in the first round of the draft (considered a better run blocker than pass blocker) and signed Starks to play LT. Starks is no stud, but he's definitely better than what they had last year.

While I often advise people to ignore offseason fluff, the new regime has specifically called Mathews a bellcow back, but speaking stronger than words would be the lack of notable additions at his position. As previously mentioned, Woodhead is not much of a rusher. Ronnie Brown (31) had more receptions than rushes last year. And LeRon McClain has not recorded over 46 carries since 2008. Given Mathews injury history I am surprised they didn't bring in anyone else. I certainly couldn't have faulted them if they did. But the fact that they didn't should be telling to anyone who is actually listening. Mathews has some of the least competition for carries out of any starting RB in the NFL right now.

Given that McCoy/Whisenhunt could go any direction with this offense, I'll just have to guess at their likely RB usage. The median number of running back rushes last year in the NFL was 371. Should Mathews stay healthy I can't see him getting less than 60% of the carries. He'll definitely be more productive per carry than any of the other RBs. Given his effectiveness in the passing game, they'd be silly not to utilize him even if they don't use him on third downs. Not only was he productive when he caught the ball, but he caught 85% of his targets in 2011. So I'm going to predict 225 rushes and 50 receptions this year, but I wouldn't be surprised if he earns more carries or some 3rd down time. He's a willing and able blocker.

Of course there's the ever popular injury topic. I think he had a High Ankle Sprain in week 2 of his rookie year which lingered and hurt his production when he came back early from it. He missed one meaningful game in 2011 and was held out of a meaningless week 17 game. Then in 2012 he broke a clavicle in the preseason which cost him 2 games and didn't miss any time until he broke the other clavicle in week 15. Clavicle injuries are pretty freakish to me. Adrian Peterson had one in college. High Ankle Sprains happen to everyone. It's not like he's been afflicted with them all the time. All in all, I think the hysteria surrounding his injuries is quite overblown, but I'll be happy to scoop him up in the 4th round if you guys want to freak out about it. At his current ADP of RB25 (5.04 in a 12-team) he's an absolute steal.

225 x 4.5 = 1013 yds 8 TD, 50 rec x 8 ypr = 400 yds 2 TD
About this...

Other than his receiving game, Woodhead offers very little as a rusher. He was the least elusive running back last year, so I wouldn't worry about him stealing meaningful carries from Mathews.
Do you feel confident on this?

Lower division but he did finish with the most yards rushing in NCAA all-division history when his college career was done. The only guy with more all-purpose yards in NCAA history was a guy named Brian Westbrook.

His YPC were down last year but career it's 4.8. His YPR went up to 11.2 which is excellent for a RB and careers is 10.8, also excellent. I think Mathews better watch out he doesn't get outhustled out of touches by the end of the year or even sooner.

And I think the info on McCoy saying he will be encouraging quick releases and checkdowns only suggests more Danny Woodhead, not less.

 
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amicsta

Footballguy
Mathews has never recorded a receiving td in his career, so im leery of putting one for him in my projection. That being said, i think im more pro-mathews than i thought:

240 carries/4.4ypc/1056 yd/ 8 td

40 rec/7 ypr7/280 yd/0 td

Total: 1336 yd, 8 td

I have him at about rb 25 for now. Still think other guys around him (miller, wilson, bell, vereen, etc) have more upside, so idk if he ends up on any of my teams. Hes not the bust i wouldve thought though. Nice guy to grab if you go upside down

 

FF Ninja

Footballguy
Mathews had 7 TDs in 2010, and on just 180 touches. You seem to be saying his career high is 6.
You are correct. He had 6 TD's on 261 touches during his otherwise career year in 2011. Thanks for pointing this out.
That was with a goal line vulture. As a team, the Chargers RBs scored 18 and 15 rushing touchdowns in 2010 and 2011. Mathews only got 13 of those 33. Who is going to be the goal line vulture this year? Mathews could easily hit double digits if he gets all the goal line looks.

 

TheDirtyWord

Footballguy
Sometimes I’ll come into a PS thread and understand the player pretty well in terms of my own opinion. Other times, I’m not so sure and need to digest others viewpoints to help form my own. Mathews fell into the latter category.

I have to admit, I really had to go back to review Mathews career thus far because the perception of him has gotten so bad. It’s tough to believe that at this time last year, he was a consensus 1st round pick and people were thinking he was the next great NFL RB. Strong and powerful, he had the speed to outrun defenders and the build to bowl them over not to mention very solid pass catching ability out of the backfield. Now you can get him Round 5 without much of a fight. What I find interesting about his situation is that he is to the 2012 draft season what CJ Spiller is to the 2013 draft season. Both were 1st half of 1st round picks in their respective drafts...both came into the NFL and proceeded to perform below rookie year expectations. Now, consider Matthews & Spiller’s per game numbers in their respective Year 2 breakout seasons.

Mathews
110.4 YFS/game
.43 TD’s/game


Spiller
106.4 YFS/game
.5 TD’s/game


To discuss Mathews now…it’s as if he’s become a bit of a pariah. Look in the Spotlight thread of last year and some pretty big things were being predicted for him. I know you can’t wipe the stink of 2012 off a guy and completely throw it out the window, but there are some factors – obvious and not so obvious which should be considered when evaluating his 2013 prospects.

  1. The collarbones – was it bad luck that he broke each one or indicative to a degree of a body composition/structure that made him more prone to such injuries? I don’t think anyone could tell you for sure one way or the other but these weren’t nagging injuries that Mathews simply couldn’t play through. These were legit injuries. It was commendable that he came back in the timeframe he did from the first one.
  2. The fumble – In his first game back against the Falcons, he fumbled inside the 5. From that point forward, he became persona non grata from insider the 10. Turner only gave him 1 more carry inside the 10 the entire season. The previous year, Mathews had 10 carries inside the 10.
  3. Turner – Coming into 2012 season, Turner was living on borrowed time himself. Many thought he should have been gone from the SD sideline already. This is pure conjecture, because any of us know very little about the behind the scenes goings on here, but with a young RB who was coming into the 2012 season off a solid Year 2 breakout, could Turner have exercised a bit more patience with Mathews? You could argue that Mathews had the rug pulled out from under him a bit.
  4. 3rd down – I’ve seen upwards in this thread the discussion about how Mathews was a non-factor on 3rd downs in 2013 with only 5 touches. But in his breakout season in 2012, he only had 15 touches on 3rd down. Even if Mathews is deemed to be primarily a two down RB, he can still be a significant producer. And with his receiving skills, he could still make an impact.
  5. O-Line – you could make a valid argument that the starting tackles in SD in 2012 were not NFL caliber. Now they have lost perhaps their best O-Lineman in 2012 (Louis Vasquez), but they have taken steps to improve the line. Is it better…? Can’t be much worse.
The thing with Mathews in the FF Community was that in 2012, he was a high profile bust. In 2011, this was a guy you grabbed in the middle of Round 4 and you got RB1 production so he was a pleasant FF value superstar. In 2010, his rookie year, he was drafted in the mid-high 2nd round. He underperformed and dealt with some injuries but on a per game basis, produced at a decent level. The thread here is that so far in his NFL career, he’s disappointed with high expectations and outperformed when expectations were lower. Is this to say he’ll outperform expectations this year? No…but what he does have going for him is:

  1. Passing offense probably needs to be toned down in terms of reliance on Philip Rivers. Last two seasons have seen an average of 589.5 dropbacks by SD QB’s. That’s a number I see going down.
  2. Even with the acquisition of Danny Woodhead, Mathews appears to be in drivers seat to be the #1 RB in SD with a significant workload expectation.
  3. Even if he’s not the Chargers 3rd down guy, with the Chargers expected to dial down their downfield centric passing game, Mathews versatility and receiving prowess could be utilized to an even greater degree.
  4. A clean slate – this might be the most important thing Mathews has going for him. Obviously Mathews is talented but with a prior coaching regime…those are a group of people who have expectations as well and it became clear as the 2012 season went on that there was some level of dissatisfaction with Mathews. Pre-conceived notions of Mathews are out the window…but it is up to Mathews to step up to the opportunity.
At the end of the day – Mathews is back to being a high upside pick with not too much risk associated with him at his current draft position. I do expect him to climb though as draft season wears on if only because people will start to grasp his situation, see the upside and understand that he shouldn’t be going after unprovens like Chris Ivory and Montee Ball. And with his career on the line, I think Mathews returns to a form closer to his 2011 performance.

Prediction: 242 Rushes 1095 Rushing Yards 7 TD’s 54 Receptions 398 Receiving Yards 1 TD.

 

butcher boy

Footballguy
Is there any truth to the NFL.com story that The Chargers tried to lure Tomlinson out of retirement for 10-12 touches a game? I just saw mention of it in some FBG staff comments about Mathews and when I looked it up, the articles are from May.

 

Just Win Baby

Footballguy
Everyone knows the San Diego OL was awful last season, but they may not recognize how bad it was down the stretch and how that affected Mathews.

Mathews missed the first 2 games last season, but in his first 7 games (weeks 3-10), he had 112/475 rushing (4.24 ypc) and 26/167 receiving (6.42 ypr). That is 19.7 touches per game and a 16 game pace of 1467 YFS. That was #12 in touches and #13 in YFS among all NFL RBs in that span, despite the fact that he was returning from injury, the lousy OL play, and the Chargers overreacting and misusing him after his first game fumble. Not great by any means, but not disastrous either.

Then, in his last 5 games (weeks 11-15), he had 72/232 rushing (3.22 ypc) and 13/85 receiving (6.54 ypr). His touches dropped about 15% and his 16 game pace for YFS dropped to just 1014. During those 5 games:

- Starting LG Tyronne Greene missed all but 40 snaps.

- Starting RT Jeromey Clary missed 2 entire games and played just 2 snaps in another game.

- Starting LT Michael Harris missed 1 entire game and played just 20 snaps in another game.

In the first 10 weeks, Greene and Clary had played all but one snap between them, and Harris had played full time LT except for the 4 games Gaither played. So they were a bad OL to begin with, and they fell apart down the stretch. This obviously hurt Mathews' production before he ultimately got hurt again.

Entering this season, the Chargers have added Fluker and Starks and lost Vasquez, and it seems reasonable to think the OL will be healthier. That should help Mathews.

 
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amicsta

Footballguy
Everyone knows the San Diego OL was awful last season, but they may not recognize how bad it was down the stretch and how that affected Mathews.

Mathews missed the first 2 games last season, but in his first 7 games (weeks 3-10), he had 112/475 rushing (4.24 ypc) and 26/167 receiving (6.42 ypr). That is 19.7 touches per game and a 16 game pace of 1467 YFS. That was #12 in touches and #13 in YFS among all NFL RBs in that span, despite the fact that he was returning from injury, the lousy OL play, and the Chargers overreacting and misusing him after his first game fumble and the lousy OL play. Not great by any means, but not disastrous either.

Then, in his last 5 games (weeks 11-15), he had 72/232 rushing (3.22 ypc) and 13/85 receiving (6.54 ypr). His touches dropped about 15% and his 16 game pace for YFS dropped to just 1014. During those 5 games:

- Starting LG Tyronne Greene missed all but 40 snaps.

- Starting RT Jeromey Clary missed 2 entire games and played just 2 snaps in another game.

- Starting LT Michael Harris missed 1 entire game and played just 20 snaps in another game.

In the first 10 weeks, Greene and Clary had played all but one snap between them, and Harris had played full time LT except for the 4 games Gaither played. So they were a bad OL to begin with, and they fell apart down the stretch. This obviously hurt Mathews' production before he ultimately got hurt again.

Entering this season, the Chargers have added Fluker and Starks and lost Vasquez, and it seems reasonable to think the OL will be healthier. That should help Mathews.
:goodposting: Terrific insight to this. I think what we're seeing in this thread is that Mathews' talent that made him the 12th overall pick is still present. If his offensive line, and the offense overall, can improve, it would seem that Mathews has steal written all over him. It should also be noted the Mike McCoy tends to get the best out of what he has in terms of personel. There's a lot to like here.

 

Instinctive

Footballguy
Everyone knows the San Diego OL was awful last season, but they may not recognize how bad it was down the stretch and how that affected Mathews.

Mathews missed the first 2 games last season, but in his first 7 games (weeks 3-10), he had 112/475 rushing (4.24 ypc) and 26/167 receiving (6.42 ypr). That is 19.7 touches per game and a 16 game pace of 1467 YFS. That was #12 in touches and #13 in YFS among all NFL RBs in that span, despite the fact that he was returning from injury, the lousy OL play, and the Chargers overreacting and misusing him after his first game fumble and the lousy OL play. Not great by any means, but not disastrous either.

Then, in his last 5 games (weeks 11-15), he had 72/232 rushing (3.22 ypc) and 13/85 receiving (6.54 ypr). His touches dropped about 15% and his 16 game pace for YFS dropped to just 1014. During those 5 games:

- Starting LG Tyronne Greene missed all but 40 snaps.

- Starting RT Jeromey Clary missed 2 entire games and played just 2 snaps in another game.

- Starting LT Michael Harris missed 1 entire game and played just 20 snaps in another game.

In the first 10 weeks, Greene and Clary had played all but one snap between them, and Harris had played full time LT except for the 4 games Gaither played. So they were a bad OL to begin with, and they fell apart down the stretch. This obviously hurt Mathews' production before he ultimately got hurt again.

Entering this season, the Chargers have added Fluker and Starks and lost Vasquez, and it seems reasonable to think the OL will be healthier. That should help Mathews.
:goodposting: Terrific insight to this. I think what we're seeing in this thread is that Mathews' talent that made him the 12th overall pick is still present. If his offensive line, and the offense overall, can improve, it would seem that Mathews has steal written all over him. It should also be noted the Mike McCoy tends to get the best out of what he has in terms of personel. There's a lot to like here.
Most importantly, neither the offense nor the offensive line has to improve a ton for Mathews to see a real positive gain on his production.

With just small improvements, he can see a fairly large delta in production.

 

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