Looking to go shopping for a running back? Trying to find someone that may be frustrating their owner and could be had cheap? Let’s take a look at an option or two:
Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers
Many fantasy owners used an early draft choice on Ryan Mathews, despite knowing he was going to miss a handful of weeks. It seemed like a safe bet, assuming you could get a late round option to help fill the void (like Kevin Smith). However, through two weeks of action Mathews has far from produced with 105 rushing yards and 7 receptions for 53 yards.
Having lost a fumble in Week 3, it appears that the Chargers have lost faith in their star running back. He didn’t even start the Chargers’ Week 4 game, taking a backseat to Jackie Battle.
However, before you use that as a reason to run the other way, keep in mind that Battle managed just 39 yards on 15 carries (2.6 yards per carry). Yes, he did score twice (one rushing and one receiving), but the team needs to get more production through their ground game. With Mathews averaging 4.4 yards on his 25 carries thus far, it is easy to imagine things transitioning back to him very quickly.
Obviously, having fumbled 11 times over his first 28 games, he needs to prove that he can hold onto the football. While Battle is going to remain in the mix, things should slowly move into Mathews favor. If you can cash in on a frustrated owner, I wouldn’t hesitate.
Ryan Williams – Arizona Cardinals
With Beanie Wells on the IR and out for a few weeks, everyone expected Williams to step up and emerge as the start running back. However, after breaking out in Week 3 (83 yards on 13 carries), he was dreadful against the Dolphins in Week 4. Getting 13 carries again, this time he could only muster 26 yards.
Before we get too upset, keep in mind that the Dolphins are actually allowing the fewest rushing yards in the league (56.8). Over the next few weeks, things should get significantly better:
- Week 5 – St. Louis Rams – 135.2 yards/game
- Week 6 – Buffalo Bills – 137.0 yards/game
It could just be a two week emergence, with the Vikings and 49ers the next two weeks, but if you need a short-term fill-in he is worth trying to grab on the cheap.