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Fantasy Football: Start or sit Ryan Mathews against the Chicago Bears?


One of the weirdest off-season acquisition stories in 2015, Mathews agreed to a contract to be the Eagles’ lead back, then was superseded as DeMarco Murray became available and interested, and Mathews kept his word and agreed to stay with the Eagles. What came next was an awkward 1A/1B situation with neither back being able to be productive enough to be weekly fantasy football starters. Now Murray is gone, and the load will fall to Ryan Mathews as long as he can handle it.

Last week, Mathews got the ball 22 times and rushed for uninspiring 3.5 yards per carry. He ended up with 77 yards and a score, which means for fantasy football purposes, he was well worth your time. While his yards per carry was iffy, the fact that he was given plenty of opportunities to score from inside the ten, including a goal-line carry that led to his touchdown, is very inspiring.

That means that Mathews will be not only the #1 running back by volume but also the goal-line back (considering the size of his fellow Eagles running backs, this makes sense).The Eagles are going to continue to feed him the rock, with Sproles rotating in on passing downs. In this era of running back by committee, this is exactly the type of situation you are looking for out of your second running back.


The Eagles are going to continue to feed him the rock, with Sproles rotating in on passing downs. In this era of running back by committee, this is exactly the type of situation you are looking for out of your second running back.

There isn’t much about this week’s game script that suggests that Mathews will miss out to Sproles, as it is unlikely that the Eagles will be behind so much that they need to lean on Carson Wentz to throw the ball a ton. They take on an extremely iffy Bears run defense that was victimized by Lamar Miller last week.Mathews himself is not an extremely inspiring auction, but his volume against a terrible Bears defense brings him into juicy matchup territory. A player that was drafted to be a sometimes flex, sometimes RB2, Mathews graduates to high-end RB2 this week. He’ll easily surpass double digit fantasy points in standard scoring, but won’t get any bonuses for catches in PPR.

Mathews himself is not an incredibly exciting auction, but his volume against a terrible Bears defense brings him into juicy matchup territory. A player that was drafted to be a sometimes flex, at times RB2, Mathews graduates to high-end RB2 this week. He’ll easily surpass double-digit fantasy points in standard scoring but won’t get any bonuses for catches in PPR.

While Mathews’ fragility makes him a non-amazing option on a season-long basis, he should be used weekly. Throughout the last two seasons, he never really got the volume for him to be a weekly fantasy starter, but both years where he has gotten more than 200 carries he’s rushed for more than 1,000 yards.  This means that on a per-game basis, Mathews should be in your lineup. This year he can get the bulk of the carries as well as the goal-line work. As long as he’s on the field with decent matchups, he should be in your lineup.


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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]