Archive for the ‘Ryan Mathews’ Category

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The thing about the offseason is that it’s long. Too long. So painfully, horribly long.

So when they’re not lifting weights, running, or eating applies and doing whatever they need to do to maintain their status as finely tuned athletic machines, NFL players often appear in front of various cameras and recorders to say things. This practice is encouraged, because selfishly it gives guys like me something to do. Thanks.

But there’s an admitted contradiction that both us in the media and you guys — you fans — have and maintain: we want our athletes to be fun and very much the opposite of boring, but they can’t be too much fun, and too exciting, and too candid. In this sense, Ryan Mathews committed a sort of crime last week.

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In a beautifully poetic sense, this season has been circular for Ryan Mathews, and often frustrating, and seldom satisfying. It started with a broken right clavicle in the preseason during the first series in the Chargers’ first meaningless game, way back in those early sunny days of August.

Now, the circle is complete, as Mathews broke his left clavicle during a 31-7 loss to the Panthers today, ending his season. He is both circular and symmetrical now. And hated. Really, really hated.

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Owners of Chargers running back Ryan Mathews can start to worry about his chances of playing Sunday, after the third year back missed practice for the second consecutive day with a neck injury. Mathews suffered the injury after a helmet-to-helmet collision with Buccaneers linebacker Quincy Black last week. Black was hospitalized and later placed on injured reserve by Tampa Bay with a neck injury of his own.

The injury prone back hasn’t had a 100-yard game yet this season, after recording four last season alone. Mathews owners have been frustrated all season with his slow start – missed first two games due to injury – and his history of fumble problems – two lost on the year, seven lost in career – making him an early candidate for an early round bust.

If you need help at running back, you can go after Ronnie Brown (12 percent owned in Yahoo! / 7.8 percent owned in ESPN leagues) or Jackie Battle (12 percent owned in Yahoo! / 16.7 percent owned in ESPN leagues). Both will be in tough against a Broncos defense that allows 98.3 yards per game on the ground, good for 10th in the league.

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You’re a crazy adventurist. You enjoy sky diving, rock climbing, and drafting Ryan Mathews. So cray.

You embrace risk, and give it a smothering bear hug. Risk is your friend, because in your mind along with others who invite risk into their lives, those who abide by the status quo are just a bunch of miserable, filthy conformists. And fair enough, because despite his repeated injuries — including most recently a broken collarbone in the preseason that led to two missed games this year — Mathews still has tremendous upside, and since his stock took a hit due to said injury, he was available at the bargain value of a late third-round pick in many drafts.

Production hasn’t been Mathews’ problem, and surprisingly, neither has health. No, trust has been the issue at least partly, with two fumbles beginning the erosion of Norv Turner’s trust in him earlier this year, and giving Ronnie Brown and Jackie Battle more opportunities. Mathews owners are now left with an early-round investment in a player who’s still capable of producing early-round numbers, but his opportunities in scoring situations have decreased, and therefore so has his fantasy value.

For this week’s Five Questions I talked to Rotoworld‘s Adam Levitan, and starting with Mathews I asked him to assess several backfield issues around the league, looking at the fantasy impact and suggested direction. We also touched on Robert Griffin III and his recent step back in production, and the trade value of the Bears defense.

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That’s not entirely true. More than a few men have left San Diego pleased with the beach-side scenery, and the SoCal chillin’ city is warm all the time every time, has a world-famous zoo with really cool monkeys and tigers and lions and stuff, and it also hosts comic book heroes and the like for a massive nerd boy convention every year.

In so many ways, San Diego is a wondrous place where fantasies are born, live happily, and go out for hangover breakfasts together every morning. Just not football fantasies.

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For realz, if Ryan Mathews doesn’t resemble a capable NFL running back this week, you have my permission to gorge on the Sloppy Roethlisberger, and let it seep through your pores and drown your depression.

This week’s Sunday preview is slightly abbreviated due to an industry conference Friday in which pants were optional, and Thanksgiving here in the great nation of Canada, which is also the reason why content will be a little slower around these parts Monday. Chill, America, your Turkey day is coming in about six weeks, and it’s so much better because you get football, while up here we actually have to talk to our families and stuff.

So let’s venture into the darkness of Week 5.

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The quarter mark of the NFL season is a good check-point for fantasy owners. It’s a time to analyze your roster and cut bait with players who are dragging you down. Waiting until the mid-point of the season may cost you a playoff spot, so for those hanging around the middle of the pack or worse, it’s time to get aggressive and upgrade your roster.

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