2010 Fantasy Player Profile: Ryan Mathews
The question now is, just how much will Mathews be used, and what kind of fantasy production can we expect?
One look at the facts actually suggest Mathews has the potential to be a fantasy (and real-life) stud immediately out of the gates for the Chargers.
While San Diego does have a strong passing attack, there’s no way Norv Turner and co. are walking into 2010 thinking they can duplicate what they did in 2009 by running a pass-heavy offense. They need balance, and by drafting Mathews early, they displayed their commitment to the ground game, as well as their commitment to replacing the departed LaDainian Tomlinson with a long-term feature back.
And that’s exactly what Mathews is.
Unlike his current back-up, Darren Sproles, Mathews is the total package. He has the size, strength, and vision to take a ponding and make magic happen in between the tackles, while also possessing the speed, acceleration, and agility to bounce outside, and be a home run threat.
He’s not necessarily the play-maker Sproles can be, but he’s the better complete back, and still does bring that flashy play-making ability to the table, both as a runner and a receiver.
However, that doesn’t mean Mathews is going to jump into the same role the LT had when he was a rookie. The Chargers have already been up-front with the fact that Mathews is their starter and will get the majority of the carries, but he’s also unlikely to top 300 carries in his first year.
It’s being viewed more along the lines that Mathews will get somewhere between 220-260 carries, will be the goal-line back, and will handle the carries when the Chargers are trying to run out the clock. This still leaves carries give the rush attack a nice balance, giving Sproles somewhere between 75-120 carries, which enables the entire offense to remain unpredictable and fresh.
Mathews enters his first year with a shaky offensive line, but also comes in with better speed and agility than LaDainian Tomlinson left with, giving him a better chance for success. This fact, along with his pre-determind role in the offense, suggests he should be the top rookie back in fantasy football in 2010.
2010 Projected Stats: 245 att, 1,105 yds, 9 TD, 34 rec, 311 yds, 3 TD