Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ryan Mathews Loses Job?

Today was a tough day for Ryan Mathews' owners as Jackie Battle (who started ahead of him in Week 4) was moved ahead of Mathews and was listed as the San Diego's first-team RB on the Chargers' official website.

Ryan Mathews was moved down to the RB2 on the Chargers' depth chart, but what does that mean going forward?

I wrote a little about the Chargers RBs in my Week 4 Breakouts and Breakdowns earlier this week, but after the depth chart change, I felt it was necessary to elaborate on my thoughts earlier in the week.

Let's get something straight first, Ryan Mathews is by far the most talented RB on the Chargers' roster. There is a reason he was selected as the 12th pick in the 2010 NFL draft. Let's look at their stats:

In 2011, Mathews rushed 222 times for 1091 yards (4.9 yards/carry) and 6 TD, while catching 50 passes for 455 yards. By comparison, from 2008-2011, Jackie Battle has rushed 190 times for 715 yards (3.8 yards/carry) and 4 TDs in 4 NFL seasons.

The difference in talent and ability is stark. There is no denying that. I expect both to have a big role this week against the terrible Saints defense. Based on the talent, I went as far as to rank Mathews 7th at RB but still ranked Battle 24th at RB. I don't think the change in "starter" means that much. Mathews was benched to send a message because of his fumbling issues. He carried the ball 16 times in Week 4 without any fumbles and is earning back the trust of his coaches.

Here is some further evidence that the depth chart switch doesn't mean much. As written on Rotoworld:
  • According to the Chargers, Jackie Battle vaulted Ryan Mathews on the team's official depth chart because "he just started last week, so that's why he's there."
Therefore, I'm not worried about Mathews going forward. Even if he doesn't start this week, I expect him to be a lot more productive than Jackie Battle (as he was last week) and to earn back the starter's role very soon. In my opinion, Mathews is the best buy low in all of fantasy football right now. I even traded for him in a the FreeRotoAdvice twitter follower's league.

Start Mathews this week, you won't be disappointed!

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