Steal Ryan Mathews
September 4, 2012 | C.D. Carter
Mathews, who broke his collarbone on his first carry of the preseason three weeks ago, is healing on schedule, and although he’s guaranteed to miss Week 1, you should negotiate with his owner right this minute and see if someone’s shortsightedness can be your fantasy boon.
I mean it. Get the hell out of here. But come back and read the rest.
Mathews, who was dead set on returning to face the Raiders on Opening Day, was reportedly running routes and catching passes on the sidelines of Chargers practice Monday. He hasn’t yet been cleared for contact, and might not in the days leading to the Chargers’ first game.
“Everything is good,” Mathews told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “I have full motion in my arm and everything. I have no pain or anything, so it’s good.”
Probably these practice reports will only be more positive in the coming days, so if you haven’t already tried to lure your league’s Mathews owner into trading the every-down, pass-catching back, do it now. Your window could already be shut.
In case you want to negotiate like the lives of hostages depend on it, here are some runners I’d swap for Mathews (most of these being initial low-ball offers, and all contingent on your running back depth): Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller, Ahmad Bradshaw, Shonn Greene, Cedric Benson, Kevin Smith, Willis McGahee, Trent Richardson, DeAngelo Williams, Michael Turner, and Rashad Jennings. Most of these guys you’ll have to pair with a top-25 wide receiver or a top-10 tight end. But you should be willing to sacrifice any of those currently healthy runners for Mathews, immediately. If pressed, I might even relinquish Jamaal Charles for Mathews today, although I’d probably need a deal sweetener.
With the return of the newly-bearded Maurice Jones-Drew to Jacksonville, Jennings no longer has the gleam of an every-down runner with minimal mileage on his tires. He was far more scrumptious trade bait three days ago. Believe it or not though, not everyone scours the intertubes for fantasy news 12 hours a day, so take advantage.
Capitalize on the fear, panic, and ignorance of your local Mathews owner. It’s cynical, yes, and you’re a bastard for trying, but damn, by late September, you’ll have an elite running back. For many of you, that means rolling every week with the downright evil pairings of Mathews with Lesean McCoy, Ray Rice, Darren McFadden, or Arian Foster. If your league’s Mathews owner has done their homework, well, your negotiations are dead before they begin. Poor hostages.
Mathews owners, on the flip side, shouldn’t axe trade offers the minute they reach their inboxes. The proposal, most likely, will be a low-ball slap in your digital face. Counter with something that tests the other party’s desperation to take Mathews off your hands. You could cash in big time if the owner is foaming at the mouth to secure Mathews before Week 1. See if you can screw the screwer. Let him or her think they’ve won while you trot away with the loot. This nasty little game goes both ways.
For anyone convinced that Mathews has never been seen in the same room with Mr. Glass, and that he’s sure to miss another two or three or eight games, I refer you to Fantasy Douche’s explanation of how recency bias is messing with your head.
Any fantasy footballer still questioning Mathews’s fantasy prospects, remember that Norv Turner’s primary runners have been in the top-five in touches 11 times in the 1990s and 2000s. Mike Tolbert is rolling his rotund derriere around Carolina now, meaning Mathews will get goal line carries.
And lest we forget, Mathews finished 2011 with three late season 100-yard rushing performances in his infuriating timeshare with Tolbert. It might be another week or two – or three, possibly – but Mathews will resume his role as an unquestioned elite fantasy option.
Now go steal him.