Mathews out until Week 3?
Mathews went down with the injury after taking one handoff in a preseason game back on August 9th. The original timetable for his return was 4-6 weeks, and Week 3 would mark the sixth week since Mathews got hurt. The fact that the oft-injured and slow recovering running back will likely take the full six weeks to recover should not come as a surprise.
Head coach Norv Turner has stated that the Chargers will address Mathews' absence with a committee approach in their backfield, splitting carries between Ronnie Brown, Le'Ron McClain, and Curtis Brinkley.
Brown was brought in after a disappointing year with the Eagles' "Dream Team," during which he averaged only 3.2 yards on his mere 42 carries.
McClain has never averaged 4.0 yards per carry in his career, and got only 15 carries despite playing in all 16 games with the Chiefs last season. He has one season with more than 46 carries in his five year career, and will likely be nothing more than a power-run specialist.
Brinkley played for the Chargers last year, but carried the ball only 30 times and posted a weak 3.2 yards per carry.
Oddly enough, Turner didn't mention the recently acquired Jackie Battle, who did a solid job filling in at running back for the injury-stricken Chiefs last season, totaling 597 rushing yards on 4.0 yards per carry. Battle, however, is a straight-line runner who gets the yards that the defense gives him and nothing more.
Mathews will still be a good fantasy option this season, but he obviously shouldn't be taken in the first round, as he was expected to be before the injury. Also, anyone considering drafting him should be ready to deal with more injuries, as Mathews is often nagged by various bumps and bruises.
The Chargers' backfield is a situation to avoid in fantasy football until Mathews returns healthy. Even if you're planning on drafting Mathews, you should be looking for better options than any of the aforementioned runners to fill in for Mathews for the first two weeks.