It’s amazing how perspective has changed from real football to fantasy football, but I suppose the point is the same. After letting LaDainian Tomlinson go and trading up to get a running back in the first round of the draft, the Chargers planned to turn their rushing attack over to fresh legs in 2010. San Diego targeted Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews as their man but the plan did not pan out.
Mathews hurt his ankle in week two and returned two weeks later as a complementary back. He shared carries with Mike Tolbert for about six weeks, hurt his ankle again, and missed three more games. Mathews split carries with Tolbert the last three weeks but became the feature back after Tolbert was knocked out for the season with a neck injury.
Mathews saw a season high 26 carries Sunday against Denver, rolling for 120 yards and three touchdowns. He caught three passes for 19 yards and seemed to making big play after big play for the Chargers. This was the first time all year Mathews got a full dose of carries and he pounded the pill at will.
Mike Tolbert will likely be back to share the load, but after an off-season to rest, Mathews should be a monster next year. Best part of all, after starting off the year with a fumbling problem (one in each of his first two games, three all year), Mathews didn’t fumble over the final month of the year. He has the makings of a great second running back to draft next season in fantasy football, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Chargers start running the ball more in the future. For another take, check out Adam Rank’s post at NFL.com.
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