Fantasy Football Championship Week: The Rise of Ryan Mathews

By Dan Freeman
Ryan Mathews
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Mathews has been one of the most heavily scrutinized players in fantasy football for the past few years. Constant injuries and underachievement have caused the many fantasy owners who fell in love with him to fall right out of it and then some. Indeed, Mathews is hated in many fantasy circles and it’s not without cause. He’s spent half of his professional career nursing injuries on the sidelines and been mostly ineffective when actually healthy. Many held faith and waited patiently for a breakout that never came, eventually leaving them completely sour and resentful.

All the turned backs have made it impossible for people to see that the tide is turning and Mathews is finally starting to come alive. He’s rushed for over 1000 yards and his workload is only getting bigger. After splitting carries with Danny Woodhead for most of the season he’s now dominating snaps and taking over the San Diego Chargers‘ backfield. He’s been given 29 carries in each of his last two games, rushing for over 100 yards and a touchdown in both of them. Whether you hate him or not you have to give credit where credit is due. He’s finally looking like the running back we’ve been waiting for him to become.

This week he has a dream matchup at home against the Oakland Raiders, who gave up just a tad more to Jamaal Charles than they had planned to last week. Charles ran his way into the record books, abusing the lowly Raiders for over 200 total yards and five touchdowns. Mathews isn’t Charles but who knows what he might be able to do with a few screen passes in this one?

I know someone like Mathews is difficult to trust because of his history but you can’t ignore the facts and the upside he possesses this week. He’s getting it done and should be in all lineups.

Dan Freeman is a Fantasy football writer for Follow him on Twitter @DanFreeman88.

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