29-Year-Old Running Back – Philadelphia Eagles
2016 Fantasy Football Outlook
Every football coach gets ornery when injuries and fumbles come about, and those have been the Mathews bugaboos since he turned pro in 2010. He's only made it through one full season, and he's put the...
Ryan Mathews Contract Information:
Mathews signed a three-year, $11.5 million deal with the Eagles that includes $5 million in guarantees in March of 2015.
Mathews' ankle stiffened during Sunday's game against the Steelers, explaining his light workload of just two carries, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
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|Rushing||Rush Distance||Big Rush Games||Receiving||Kick Ret||Punt Ret||Fumbles|
|2016 Proj||29||PHI||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|
|2016 Proj||29||PHI||Subscribe now to see our 2016 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 looked to have put his fragile ways behind him after he stayed healthy for a full season in 2013, but a Week 2 MCL sprain last year quickly quashed any such hopes. He played just six games, and his career with the Chargers ended on a sour note. Mathews showed excellent burst and speed when he entered the league, with enough strength and elusiveness to churn out extra yards, but those traits have become harder to spot in the wake of multiple lower-body injuries. Despite that, the Eagles moved quickly to sign him after they dealt LeSean McCoy, but Mathews was bumped out of the starting job when the team also signed DeMarco Murray. As Murray's backup, and with Darren Sproles on hand as well, Mathews figures to see a reduced workload, but fewer snaps does mean fewer chances to get hurt. Should Murray, also no stranger to the trainer's room, be sidelined, the Eagles' offensive line and Chip Kelly's system could make Mathews extremely productive, for as long as he stays in one piece.
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 3.8 to a solid 4.4, and he assumed a workhorse role for the Chargers – especially down the stretch, as he carried 24 or more times in each of the season's last four games. All the potential is there for a repeat or even improvement by Mathews in 2014, his age-28 season. He struggled through a high-ankle sprain in the playoffs, but that's all healed up, and he has no serious competition for carries. Danny Woodhead is a receiving specialist out of the backfield, ex-Colt Donald Brown has never proven to be a worthy starter, and sixth-round draft choice Marion Grice is smaller and significantly slower than Matthews. However, because of Woodhead's presence, Matthews' PPR value will continue to be limited; a 50-catch man three years ago, he had just 26 last season while Woodhead came in and caught 76 balls. Mathews has the look of a strong, physical runner with good speed, but his on-field performance has rarely lived up to the measurables, especially in terms of physicality and elusiveness. He recorded just 13 broken tackles all season; perhaps not coincidentally, he only broke five rushes for more than 20 yards. It's also no coincidence that he saw only seven touches at the goal line – and that's his career high. In short, he's not great at any part of the game, but he's good enough to be the Chargers' primary early-down back, and there's value there.
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.