San Diego running back Ryan Mathews was a bust in his rookie season, by just about any measure. His setup was fantastic with the Chargers, as the presumptive featured back in a high-yield offense. But fumbles were an early issue, then health was a problem, and then Mike Tolbert became an immovable object.
Mathews didn't top 100 rushing yards until Week 17, when he faced Denver's miserable run defense and Tolbert was sidelined.
If you're avoiding Mathews in fantasy leagues this year, I get it. There's little to be said in his defense, except to remind you that this is the NFL, where players routinely re-write the scouting reports (see the McFadden files for supporting evidence). If you're among those who need to see a make-good performance from Mathews before ever investing again, you'll enjoy this report from the San Diego Union-Tribune:
It's been a rough couple days for Mathews, who was unable to finish Wednesday's conditioning test, prompting incessant teasing (and some incredulity) from teammates.
"My cardio is real good; I don't get tired," Mathews said. "It's the speed work. I haven't been doing much speed work like that. There's a couple things I probably should have done differently in the offseason, conditioning my legs."
Mathews showed up to some of this spring's Philip Rivers-organized workouts, including the week in June that players considered to be like a minicamp. But he had to pull out of what many Chargers described as fairly easy conditioning drills on the first day of camp.
Once more, just because it's not something you'd expect to see from a second-year player in Mathews' position:
"There's a couple things I probably should have done differently in the offseason."
Hmm. And now he's reportedly dealing with a toe injury. Definitely not the best way to shed a bust label, or to claim a featured role, or to improve one's fantasy value. I've been looking for almost any reason to feel bullish about Mathews again. Couldn't find one today; I'll try again tomorrow.
Photo via US Presswire