Rishard Matthews was the star of Monday Night Football for the Miami Dolphins, catching 11 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns.
That’s right, the third-year receiver out of Nevada who had 10 receptions for 117 yards all season made a name for himself on a national stage, even if the Dolphins lost 22-19 to the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Now we must ask, can the kid keep it up? There’s no reason why not.
First of all, it’s not like this Dolphins team is loaded with options. The only real big name is Mike Wallace, who hasn’t really endeared himself with Dolphins fans or coaches in his first season with the team. The fact that Matthews is known as a guy with good hands who runs precise routs while not really being a burner is exactly what quarterback Ryan Tannehill needs.
The makeshift offensive line is giving him no time, forcing him to find quick options. Brandon Gibson’s out for the year, and it’s not like Brian Hartline, tight end Charles Clay or anyone else on the roster has become a go-to guy for Tannehill. Nobody on the team had even 500 yards or 40 catches on the season heading into Monday night.
The most important asset Matthews has is his ability to possess the ball. He now has 21 catches on just 30 targets on the season. That’s easily the best percentage on the team and something Tannehill seemed to notice as he continued to look Matthews’ way.
We obviously can’t expect this kind of production every week from Matthews, but the opportunities should be there. The third receiver spot is his alone with little competition in sight. A game this week against an awful San Diego Chargers secondary should provide him a chance to shine again. Fantasy playoff matchups against the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills, while not great, certainly could be worse.
If you’re looking for a solid WR3, Matthews might just fit the bill.