Hey, remember that cuddly Ryan Mathews optimism we poisoned you with earlier this week? Yeah, he still hates you. And us. He hates all of us, for Mathews is the keeper of our hope, the builder of our optimism, and the destroyer of our ambition.
Say, maybe we’re taking this fantasy football deal a little too seriously? Nah. Moving on then.
The initial timetable for Mathews’ recovery from a broken clavicle was four-to-six weeks, and he suffered the injury on the first play in the first offensive series for the Chargers in their first preseason game. I’m straining to resist the impulsive urge to say something about Mathews being as brittle as a wet paper bag covering a sheet of glass that’s being transported in a styrofoam truck, because that’s an arbitrary, irrational thought.
So in news that should be surprising to no one, Mathews is still expected to miss the first week of the season, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. I’ve owned Mathews in the past, and I don’t this year (yet). But if I did, this would be an accurate reflection of my mental state right now.
Maybe you are the proud owner of Mathews, and your anger-twitch reflex has just been escalated because you paid his still high early fourth-round price simply because you had to, and there was little choice. While Mathews dropped due to his injury and the fear of further injury even once he returns after possibly missing up to three games, in most standard 10- or 12-team leagues there’s a Homer-on-a-skateboard style cliff tumble after the Chargers RB comes off the board.
Typically, Mathews has marked the end of the third RB tier, and then you’re into the likes of Frank Gore and the four-headed monstrosity in San Francisco, Trent Richardson and his two knee surgeries, and then potentially effective but still lesser backs in poor and/or platoon situations like Reggie Bush, Ahmad Bradshaw, Willis McGahee, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
Or maybe you drafted Mathews, and then immediately fortified your roster with one of those names. Well done, sir. If not, you should cancel all plans for the afternoon to address this situation post haste.
Even with the need to handcuff someone — anyone — to Mathews, it’s highly unlikely that either of his primary backups were drafted in your league, unless it’s exceptionally deep. That’s partly because they both suck, but also because it’s a little difficult to determine who’s set to receive the bulk of the carries with Mathews out.
The most likely option is Ronnie Brown, whom the Union-Tribune also pegged as Mathews’ immediate backup. But his time in that position could be fleeting since he’s only averaged an even three yards per carry over 30 preseason attempts. The majority of those yards (16) came during San Diego’s second preseason game against Dallas, and even then Brown still only averaged 2.7 yards per carry.
Sadly, will likely retain the temporary job by default, since the others behind him have matched his suck. Curtis Brinkley has had 3.1 yards per carry, and many of his touches on the ground have come against second teamers. Lastly, La’Ron McClain is also at an even 3.0.
If you can, just stay the hell away from the Chargers’ backfield until Mathews returns, and don’t start any of these turds. While Brown et al will redefine awful, it’s not all their fault, as the Chargers are quickly discovering that with Vincent Jackson gone along with the deep threat he presents, eight-man fronts aren’t fun.