According to espn.com (click here for the article):
“San Diego Chargers starting running back Ryan Mathews is expected to miss at least a month after breaking his collarbone in a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night.
Mathews was injured on his first carry of the preseason in the first quarter and did not return to the game. He is expected to have surgery Friday morning, and coach Norv Turner said he’ll be out four to six weeks.”
The Fantasy Fallout:
The problem with Mathews continues to be his ability to stay on the field. He missed 4 games in his rookie season and 2 in his sophomore campaign. While there’s a chance he is back for the opening week (he needs to come back at the 4 week mark to have a chance) it looks like he is going to miss a game or two right off the bat.
You also have to think that the Chargers could limit his touches, at least a little bit, in his first game or two in order to work him back into the offense as he will miss the majority of the preseason games.
Does this lead to a risk in taking Mathews in the first round and a drop in value? At this point it does, but it doesn’t eliminate his upside. Ronnie Brown (who figures to step into the starting role), Jackie Battle and Curtis Brinkley are behind him on the depth chart, so once healthy Mathews figures to step right back into the lead role and should still see the majority of the carries.
While I wouldn’t use my first round draft pick on him if you are drafting right now (though, you could certainly argue using the 11th or 12th pick), considering he seems likely to miss time early on, in the mid-second round I would still be willing to take the gamble. While I obviously would draft a top bench option, this does not appear to be a long-term injury and it has nothing to do with his legs. That means all of the optimism is still there, making him a dangerous running back and one that could emerge as an elite back this season.
Obviously, as the news changes we could easily bump him back into the first round if it appears he will be back for Week 1. Regardless, look to cash in on other people’s fears and get a first round talent in the second round if possible.
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