Along with his team, Ryan Mathews of the always underachieving San Diego Chargers has not lived up to his expectations yet again. Every year experts talk about all the talent that the Chargers have on both sides of the ball, but they under perform every season. Every year Mathews seems to be a guy most fantasy football gurus have in the top twenty for running backs. Most years, either injury or poor play has prevented Matthews from moving into the elite running back realm.

The fantasy football playoff push is right around the corner so if you have been hanging with Mathews this long obviously you will have him as an option in the playoffs. He has done very little fantasy wise this year, but that doesn’t mean he should be ignored going down the stretch. Relying on the former Fresno State Bulldog comes down to one thing – trust.

His statistics don’t look good. After missing the first two games of the season, the former first round pick has scored one touchdown and has only hit triple digits in combo yards twice. As a team the Chargers rank 26th in the league in rushing yards and are averaging just 3.8 yards per carry. That average is better than just three teams.

The schedule, however, looks like he could get a few things done over the final month and a half. Mathews will have tough sledding against the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense in Week 14, but if you are still alive in the playoffs in the final three weeks, Mathews has about as easy a road as possible. The Chargers play the Panthers, Jets and Raiders down the stretch. Out of that group, the best statistical rush defense is the Panthers at a less than intimidating ranking of 25th in the league.

The playoffs have been a different story, but historically the Chargers have come on late in the season. Usually it has been to try to make up for bad first halves, but in December or later since 2006 the Chargers are 26-4 in the regular season. They will need another Herculean effort down the stretch to get to the playoff, but head coach Norv Turner’s teams have done it in the past.

Chargers Remaining Schedule





Def Rush yrds per game Rushing TD’s Allowed
14 at Pittsburgh 93.1 8
15 Carolina 128.8 10
16 at New York Jets 137.7 12
17 Oakland 130.4 16

Motivation might be an issue however. The Chargers are all but out of the running for a playoff spot. With the Denver Broncos’ five game lead over the second place Chargers, the AFC West race is over. The Wild Card race doesn’t look good for the Bolts either. They are three games behind the Bengals and the Steelers. After losing to the Bengals, Turner’s team probably needs a win over the Steelers to stay in the playoff race. If they don’t come up with a win next week, the Chargers might be packing it in before Mathews has a chance to take advantage of their soft late schedule.

On paper Matthews looks like an intriguing play in the fantasy football playoffs. If he is on your roster it comes down two simple things: trusting Ryan Mathews and trusting the San Diego Chargers.

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Brian Jerzak

Brian covers basically all high school sports, but mainly football and wrestling in Minnesota where he has lived his entire life. Fed up with his day job he decided to try writing as a hobby over ten years ago and that hobby has turned into sort of a second career. He has been involved in some way with football since he was a water boy for his high school team when he was in elementary school and has been playing fantasy football since before he could vote.