Ryan Mathews Likely To Handle Third Down Duties For Chargers
As I always say, it's never too early to talk fantasy football. I start thinking up my draft strategy while the NFL Playoffs are still going on. So, as far as fantasy implications, this is good news for Mathews' outlook. He made vast improvements last year, and coming into only his third year, it's reasonable to expect a significant pick up in production. The departure of Mike Tolbert is huge for Mathews' fantasy potential. He had a modest 1091 yards last season, but sharing the backfield with Tolbert limited him to 222 carries. Expect that number to go way up. If he can continue to manage 4.9 yards per tote, you're looking at a stud fantasy running back. I'll never draft him, because I despise the Chargers, but I expect him to be on the low end of the elite backs (production wise - I don't think he's all that great a player) and think he could be a good value late in the first round.
However, it seems to me like good fantasy running backs are becoming more plentiful. This is something I'm going to look into as my draft approaches. But just keep in mind that if you pass on Mathews in the first round and grab, let's say, Andre Johnson, you could get a guy like Darren McFadden in the second round and not experience too bad of a drop off at the running back position.