Ryan Mathews: Fantasy Football Injury Fallout

Kyle Terada USATODAY Sports

Kyle Terada USATODAY Sports

Death, taxes … and a Ryan Mathews injury.

The San Diego Chargers starting running back departed Sunday night’s (Monday morning’s) game against the Oakland Raiders in the first half after suffering a concussion and did not return to action as his Bolts were upset 27-17.

Concussions have been a focal point of training staffs everywhere, but players (Eddie Lacy, for example) have generally been cleared to play within 1-2 weeks of the incident. As of this moment in time, we are unsure of the time frame for Mathews, but we do know one thing: he’s injured … again.

Mathews has missed at least one quarter of the season twice in his three-year career, and the Chargers have more than capable back-up options in Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown. Speaking of reserve options, which one is the best bet to help your fantasy football team?

I’ve been pushing Woodhead for quite some time now because I loved his versatility and the upside in playing behind an injury prone back, and now he has a chance to flex his fantasy muscles. He leads all running backs in receptions (yes, that includes Darren Sproles) despite considerably less playing time, doing so with consistency (at least five catches in three straight).

Woodhead is the obvious addition in PPR leagues if you’re lucky enough to find him on the waiver wire, and in my opinion, he’s the better add in standard leagues. He had more carries than Brown last night and owns a career average of 4.7 YPC.

That being said, Brown has value too. I prefer Woodhead, but Brown figures to be on the field a great deal on first and second down, giving value to those in need of depth at the running back position. Considering that Woodhead averages less than five carries per game over his career, Brown is going to get his chances and should be the running back at the goal line.

Do I love a 31-year old back that has been on three different rosters in four year? No. But if the Chargers keep Mathews sidelined until the team’s Week 8 bye, Brown could have low-end RB2 value against the less than stellar defenses of the Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Always happy to provide fantasy answers @unSOPable23

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