By Rich Winter
As an Oakland Raider fan it's hard for me to even talk about the San Diego Chargers without bringing up the 'Holy Roller' or at least attempting to look objectively at that Charger squad to see if there is any Fantasy Value on that team.
Yes, the Raiders are going to sweep those Chargers this year, like we always do, but I do think Ryan Matthews could do some damage in Fantasy Football this season.
Matthews has been banged up a bit during his career and always seems to be a dicey pick on draft night.
That said, Matthews stayed healthy all of last season, played all 16 games, and seems to have gotten his body right to play in this NFL.
Let's take a peek at the stats:
2013 - 285 carries (4.4 avg.), 1255 yards with 6 td's, receiving 26 catches, 189 yards and 1 td.
With Chadron State alum Danny Woodhead being one of the best 3rd-down backs in the NFL, Matthews won't get you a ton of yards through the air, but he seems to have found a home in that backfield, and I'm guessing 1300 yards and 9 td's is not out of the question.
What the experts are saying:
CBS - Dave Richard - 15th
CBS - Jeremy Eisenberg - 21st
Yahoo - 16th
ESPN - 15th
NFL.com - 21st
Rich Winter - 12th
Analysis: Again, you have experts that are all over the place on this one. Part of that is the east-coast bias that exists out there where these writers don't stay up late enough to watch late football games on Sunday and Monday night. I watch the Chargers pretty regularly thanks to my good buddy White Mamba, and I gotta say, I think Matthews is borderline top ten in terms of running backs where you don't give points for receptions.
I think the Charger front office has always held back with this kid because of his previous injuries. I think they've seen him take on a healthy work load last season and keep his yards per carry average up. That to me suggests he'll get the rock a little more this season.
Projections: 1300 yards rushing, 9 td's, 220 yards receiving 2 td's.
Still, that leaves him on the outside, just outside, the top ten and looking in.
With so many prognosticators ranking him as low as the 20's and you're one of those guys/girls that likes to load up on running backs, you might be able to get Matthews as you're No. 3 RB.
How nice would it be to flip-flop Matthews into and out of your lineup based on matchups?
I'd like that a lot.
Too many Charger dorks in my league for that to happen though, so if I want him, I'll have to reach early to get him.
And I might just do that!
And Charger Nation, for God sakes, change the fight song, please!
How you doin, White Mamba?