Fantasy Football 2013: Give San Diego Chargers Ryan Mathews One Last Chance

By Jim Heath
Ryan Mathews
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Has there been a more frustrating and disappointing Fantasy Football running back the last few seasons than San Diego Charger Ryan Mathews? Let’s be honest, you’ve invested top-10 caliber draft picks only to be rewarded with 1700 combined yards and seven touchdowns in two seasons.

With that said, the last thing you want to read is any fantasy advice that points you in Mathew’s direction, right? Touché – I completely understand.

However, if you will lend me but a brief moment of your busy schedule, it may be worth your time. Before beginning, I must preface everything I say with a disclaimer. In no way am I advocating a coming-out party for Mathews, I understand your patience are far too gone for that sort of nonsense.

Instead, this is the story of a new head coach and how previously ineffective athletes (Mathews) could benefit from the new coach’s system.

Before becoming the head coach of the Chargers, Mike McCoy was the offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos. As the Broncos OC, McCoy was asked to plan offenses that had three different quarterbacks – Kyle Orton followed by Tim Tebow and later Peyton Manning. Each quarterback had completely different skill sets and styles. Yet, under McCoy, the three experienced arguably their greatest individual seasons statistically.

And the corner stone for the success of the quarterback in McCoy’s offense was the running game. In his time as the Broncos OC, McCoy was responsible for teams with top-10 rushing attempts each season including 2011 when the Broncos were number one in rushing attempts and rushing yardage.

Simply put, McCoy’s system leans heavily on a run game. Now holding the reigns in San Diego, McCoy’s go-to guy has to be Mathews.

And let’s be honest, Mathews has no choice but to step up to the proverbial plate. He is the incumbent workhorse in a new offensive system that requires the run for success. Failure simply cannot be an option.

Even better news than a new system, Mathews has soured basically every prognosticator in all of fantasy world, so his stock is rock bottom. In fact, number 24 is the 24th ranked running back in most preseason player rankings.

What does that mean for you? Simple — he is low risk. He is a late-round pick that has upside. (Wait, did I just go on public record saying Mathews has upside?).

Draft him late and you may benefit from his new role in a new system. And if he trips and falls in the perfect running back situation, take self satisfaction in knowing you can drop him instead of feeling obligated to hold him this season as you only invested a late pick in 2013 not a top 10.

Jim Heath is a Fantasy Football writer for Follow him on Twitter @jim_heath, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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