Week Seventeen Analysis:
In each of Ryan Mathews' last three games, he's scored, notched at least 28 touches, and racked up at least 119 combo yards. Overall, he's now scored and/or topped 90 combo yards in nine of his last 10 outings, so he's become a remarkably safe play with strong upside. Mathews totaled 65 combo yards and a score in his first meeting with the Chiefs this year, and over their last two games, Kansas City has allowed averages of 197 combo yards and two touchdowns to the middling backfields of Oakland and Indianapolis.
Week Sixteen Analysis:
Ryan Mathews and I go way back, and I've pulled no punches over the years. However, there's no room for grudges when fantasy championships are on the line, and Mathews gets my full endorsement here. Since Week 6, he leads the entire NFL with five 100-yard rushing performances. Moreover, he's now scored in three of his last four games, while racking up 32 and 30 touches in the last two weeks. In Oakland's last three games—and allow me to reiterate, three games—they've given up 10 touchdowns and an average of 203 combo yards per game to the position.
Week Fifteen Analysis:
Only Washington has allowed more than the 18 touchdowns Denver has surrendered to opposing backs, and one of those scores came to Mathews in the teams' first meeting. Three more of those touchdowns came just last week, yet somehow Denver is the league's sixth-best rushing yardage defense and still hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher. Ryan Mathews has now scored and/or topped 90 combo yards in eight of his last 10 games, including five straight, but it's probably touchdown or bust this week. The matchup says touchdown. Mathews' history says bust. I'm just glad I don't have to make this lineup decision in any of my leagues.
Week Twelve Analysis:
Don't look now, but Ryan Mathews is actually playing really well. He's scored and/or topped 100 rushing yards in four of his last five games, while averaging 5.2 yards per carry over that span. Much of that production has come against soft opponents, so a trip to Arrowhead will be a good litmus test. The Chiefs' top-tier fantasy run defense has actually shown some cracks the last two weeks, allowing opposing backs to average 198 combo yards and a touchdown per game. However, both those games were on the road, and Kansas City hasn't allowed a single back to score or top 55 rushing yards in five home games.
Week Eleven Analysis:
While his usage has been all over the board, Ryan Mathews has somehow found a way to score and/or top 100 rushing yards in three of his last four games. He's averaged a healthy 4.8 yards per carry over that span, and he has a nice opportunity to stay hot against Miami. Cincinnati's two-man attack and to a trio of Tampa Bay backups have each posted at least 170 combo yards against the Dolphins their last two games. Furthermore, only one team has allowed more than the 12 touchdowns Miami has surrendered to the position.
Week Nine Analysis:
After going 19 consecutive games without reaching the century mark, Ryan Mathews has come out of nowhere to do it in back-to-back outings. His last game also saw him score his first rushing touchdown in his last 16 contests, so even though Danny Woodhead is stealing carries and monopolizing the passing game production, Mathews comes out of his bye with some nice momentum. He'll have an excellent chance to keep it going this week against a 29th-ranked Washington run defense that's given up 10 touchdowns to the position in seven games. That includes multiple touchdowns in three straight, so get Mathews back in your lineups.
Week Seven Analysis:
Just when his career was ready to flat-line, Ryan Mathews showed signs of life against the Colts. His 102 rushing yards marked his first trip over the century mark in his last 20 games, and his 22 carries were a season-high. This week he has a great opportunity for an encore, as he squares off against a 31st-ranked Jacksonville run defense that's giving up a touchdown per game to opposing backs. Knowshon Moreno just lit up the Jags for over 100 combo yards and three touchdowns, which begs the question: Can the sun possibly shine on Ryan Mathews' ass two weeks in a row?
Last year Ryan Mathews scored one touchdown and broke two clavicles. Naturally. There's a gifted running back somewhere inside him, but he's neither durable nor tough, and questions have begun to surface about his desire, effort and confidence. Mathews has missed four, two and four games in his three seasons, and last year he posted a career-low 3.8 yards per carry. San Diego brought in Danny Woodhead this offseason, which presents new head coach Mike McCoy with an interesting decision: the ultra-talented underachiever, or the exact opposite, "Rudy" Woodhead? I can safely say that Woodhead will be the third down back, and although the starting gig is still Mathews' to lose, history suggests that he'll fail to step up and embrace it.