27-Year-Old Running Back – San Diego Chargers
2014 Fantasy Football Outlook
Mathews' injury-prone ways, especially in 2012, made him a draft-day value in 2013, as he delivered the best season of his career thanks to staying healthy for all 16 games. His YPC bounced back from ...
Ryan Mathews Contract Information:
Signed a five-year, $25.65 million deal that includes $15.08 million guaranteed with the Chargers in August of 2010.
An early MCL sprain and a late ankle injury limited Mathews to only six games in 2014, and he finished the year with 74 carries for 330 yards and three touchdowns to go along with nine receptions for 69 yards.
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|Rushing||Rush Distance||Big Rush Games||Receiving||Kick Ret||Punt Ret||Fumbles|
|2014 Proj||27||SD||Subscribe now to see our 2013 projections for Ryan Mathews|
Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
|Fantasy Points Per Game||Rushing Stats||Red Zone Runs||Receiving Stats||Red Zone Targets|
|2014 Proj||27||SD||Subscribe now to see our 2014 projections for Ryan Mathews|
Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
|Snap Count||Rushing||Rush Distance||Receiving||Fumbles||Kick Ret||Punt Ret||Red Zone Runs||Red Zone Targets|
A blank stat line is used above whenever a player was not on the field for any plays in the game that week.
Ryan Mathews: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Mathews had more broken collarbones (2) last year than touchdowns (1) or 100-yard games (0). The injuries book-ended his awful campaign as he missed the first two and last two games of the season. Mathews also missed six games during his first two years in the league and was limited or removed from numerous others due to a variety of nagging leg injuries. Perhaps it's actually a good sign his lower body went through last season relatively unscathed. When he was on the field, Mathews was largely ineffective – he averaged a career-low 3.8 YPC, saw his YPT drop from 7.7 to 4.5 and spent some time on the bench because of costly fumbles. A new coaching staff this season should give him a fresh start, but in terms of red-zone play calling, it's hard for a running back to do better than Norv Turner. There's still a lot to like about Mathews, however. He has good vision, balance and burst, and at 6-0, 218, he's built for goal-line work. He's also just two seasons removed from a 1,500-yard-from-scrimmage campaign in only 14 games.
Mathews followed up his disastrous rookie season with a much better sophomore campaign, albeit a frustrating one at times, as he continued to deal with nagging injuries. Despite missing two games and finishing with 532 snaps (18 other backs had more), Mathews’ 1,546 yards from scrimmage was the fifth most in football, his 3.2 YPC after contact was the fourth highest and his 50 receptions tied him for seventh among all backs. He was also effective near the goal line in limited opportunities, converting 4-of-5 attempts for scores, while Mike Tolbert went just 5-for-18 there. San Diego let Tolbert leave via free agency and didn’t address the RB position until round seven of the draft, so the team is clearly turning full-time duties over to Mathews. Coach Norv Turner has plenty of faults, but he consistently produces big seasons from his lead backs, and San Diego is a perennial leader in goal-line opportunities, so this is an ideal situation. Mathews has the physical skills to take full advantage, with terrific vision and sneaky speed, but there’s reason for skepticism because of past health issues. Moreover, Mathews’ five fumbles tied for the most among running backs, despite a modest 222 carries.
Mathews’ rookie season was nothing short of disastrous, especially to those who spent an early fantasy pick on him. A high-ankle sprain suffered in Week 2 cost him a game, but worse, he returned too soon, and the injury limited him for the remainder of the season. He went 0-for-5 at the goal line and also fumbled a whopping five times, losing three, on just 158 carries. As a result, Mike Tolbert ended the year as San Diego’s most valuable fantasy back. Mathews did show flashes of his ability, however, highlighted by a 120-yard, three-TD performance in Week 17, and the Chargers still consider him their franchise back. San Diego is consistently among the league-leaders in providing scoring opportunities at the goal line, and coach Norv Turner has traditionally preferred a lead ball carrier. There’s top-five upside here if Mathews seizes the opportunity.
Mathews racked up 1,808 rushing yards (6.6 YPC) with 19 touchdowns during his junior year at Fresno State, and the Chargers felt compelled to trade up to select him. He’s not a burner and is unlikely to be a tackle-breaking machine at the NFL level, but Mathews is capable of carrying a full workload and should easily churn out high yardage totals despite not being an exceptional athlete. He didn’t pass block much in college, and he wasn’t used as a receiver often, but Fresno State’s scheme is similar to San Diego’s, so the transition should be relatively easy. Few rookies have ever been put in a position to succeed as quickly out of the gate as Mathews, who inherits a role that produced an incredible 28 goal-line rushing attempts last season — the second-most in the league since 2004 (which also happened to go to San Diego’s lead back). Coach Norv Turner already stated a desired goal of getting Mathews 290 touches, so he'll have plenty of oppourtunities to succeed. The Chargers don’t view Darren Sproles as anything more than a third-down back, so Mathews will see a lot of work on 1st and 2nd down. Not only does Mathews have a high ceiling as lead back in one of the NFL’s best offenses, but as crazy as it sounds, thanks to his role he’s also one of the safer picks, even as a rookie.