2014 Fantasy Football Deep Sleeper: Rishard Matthews

By Bill Pivetz
Rishard Matthews
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins needed a few games to fall a certain way to become the second AFC Wild Card team. Miami finished 8-8 and tied for second in the AFC East. There were some bright spots for this team. Charles Clay filled in quite nicely for the injured Dustin KellerBrian Hartline and Mike Wallace finished the season tied for 26th in fantasy points among wide receivers.

However, the running game struggled throughout the season. Neither Lamar Miller nor Daniel Thomas cracked the top 35 of running backs, but the Dolphins were able to compete with the best of them throughout the 2013 season.

Leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft, there have been rumors that the Dolphins plan on trading Wallace. This is surprising because the Dolphins and Wallace agreed to a five-year, $60 million deal. If they can, the Dolphins will be alright with their current group of receivers.

Along with Hartline and Clay, the Dolphins have a 24-year-old wide receiver with a lot of upside — Rishard Matthews. The former seventh-round pick was the No. 4 receiver on the Miami team. That was until he had a huge breakout game in Week 10 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In that game, Matthews hauled in 11 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns.

Matthews finished the 2013 season as the 74th-best wide receiver. He caught 41 passes for 448 yards and two scores. When Brandon Gibson went down in Week 11, Matthews’ roles increased greatly. In the months of November and December, Matthews caught 20 passes for a first down, making him Ryan Tannehill‘s most reliable receiver down the stretch.

Realistically, the Dolphins will have a hard time dumping Wallace and his guaranteed $15 million, bumping Matthews down to No. 3 on the depth chart, which may not be a bad thing. He will be the perfect option as the slot receiver, racking up receptions and yards.

Entering the 2014 fantasy football season, some owners may select Matthews in the 12th or 13th round and others may pass on him completely. He can succeed as the No. 3 option for Tannehill. Other teams are able to function with three reliable receivers in the passing game, so why not the Dolphins? Tannehill finished as the 16th-ranked fantasy quarterback.

Matthews is entering his third season and will be a nice sleeper to add to your fantasy roster in 2014.

Bill Pivetz is a fantasy sports writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @Mr_Piv1127.

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