Steal Ryan Mathews September 4, 2012  |  C.D. Carter

You have 24 hours – 48, maybe – to break into the vault of your league mate’s insecurities and pry away Chargers running back Ryan Mathews.

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.”

Jene Bramel, who plays a doctor on Twitter and in a professional practice, wrote Monday that there’s “no evidence” Mathews will return in the next two weeks, “but we’re clearly getting close.”

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.


36 Responses

  1. Randy says:

    Would you trade Steven Jackson straight up for Matthews?

    My other RB’s are McCoy and DMC.

  2. Jimmy says:

    R Matthews just released for Ridley. We are only allowed to carry three rbs. I have K Smith, McFadden and Sproles. Dump Smith for Matthews?

  3. Adam R says:

    Im thinking of offering J.Charles, E.Decker,Mikel LeShoure for Matthews, Steve Johnson & Ryan Williams….Would you? I have LMcCoy and D.Martin as my starters with K.Smith and Hillis and Dwyer on bench…for my RBs

    • C.D. Carter says:

      I’d hate to part with Decker. He’s going to be Peyton’s favorite target — just give it time. I’d trade Charles straight up for Mathews.

    • Adam R says:

      OK, Im gonna hold, my trades ae based on rankings etc., so it makes it much more difficult to get one to work. I would trade Jamaal straight up for Matthews if it would get approved. So you know what they say…sometimes the best trades are the ones you dont make…I will sit tight this week. Thx!!!

  4. Go Ducks says:

    I got Matthews…..but had to give up Garcon. Too much?

    • C.D. Carter says:

      No, I think you got the better end of that deal, even if Mathews doesn’t return until Week 3 or 4. Just don’t panic if he’s not cleared for contact this week. It’ll come.

  5. george says:

    Would you trade Sproles and Ridley away for Matthews and Kendall Hunter?

  6. cr says:

    would you trade murray away for matthews?

  7. Rob says:

    I also have D Bryant & K Britt

  8. hooplehead says:

    Mathews owner just offered me a trade for Reggie Bush and Nate Washington. Should I accept?
    My other RBs are F. Jackson, P. Hillis, D. Williams, and R. Jennings. Other WRs are Julio Jones, Cruz, Decker, and Torrey Smith.

  9. Miles says:

    Should I try to trade Stevie Johnson for Mathews? Is that a low-ball?

    • C.D. Carter says:

      That’s not a low-ball at all. I think it’s fair, but you need to make the move now. Reports on Mathews are getting more positive by the hour…

  10. C.D. Carter says:

    If Cruz is your best remaining WR, then no. But if you can stay afloat at WR, then yeah, deal AJ for Mathews.

  11. Rob says:

    Would u trade Andre Johnson 4 Mathews? I got AJ in the 3rd round( auto draft, I missed the first six rds…. Damn traffic..). I got McCoy & Cruz as my first 2 picks. Sproles is my other RB. It’s a 10 team league,ppr

  12. Train says:

    Do you recommend a similar strategy for other injured RBs like TRich or Mendenhall? I think Mendy’s value is dirt cheap right now, but I’m not sure if he gets a full load anytime soon. Still, I’m thinking about offering Benson or DBrown for Mendy & Cutler. Advice? Thanks.

    • Denny says:

      I’d invest in Dwyer, if you really must have stock in the Steelers backfield. Mendenhall might return, but remember, he tore his ACL in January. He won’t be ready for a full load for a good long while. I’d say hold tight on Benson and Brown. You might end up pretty smitten with one of them.

  13. emceeperiod says:

    Sweet. Trade sent. Thanks guys.

  14. emceeperiod says:

    Or maybe offer Welker/Spiller for Mathews/Britt?

  15. emceeperiod says:

    Would you do Welker for Mathews straight up in PPR? Or should I try an AJ Green/Spiller offer first?

  16. iMP says:

    How much value would you put on getting Mathews as an RB3 for a 3WR PPR team with Foster and Murray? I could package Hillis with Young (WR4) or Bowe (WR3), but it feels a little risky to give up WR depth in the lucky scenario I don’t really need him as a starter.

    • Denny Carter says:

      With Foster and Murray, you’re not exactly fiending for elite RBs. If the owner bites on HIllis and Young, go with it. If not, let it be.

  17. Colin says:

    would Sproles in a 0.5 ppr be too rich an offer? i also have D-Will, Decker, Wayne as possible/reasonable chips.

    • C.D. Carter says:

      I’d try D-Willy and Wayne for Mathews. If not, maybe Sproles for Mathews straight up. More risk than I’d like, but probably worth it in the long run.

  18. C.D. Carter says:

    That’s great. Be patient and run with Mathews as soon as he’s healthy.

  19. trick dad says:

    thanks for the tip…just got mathews for bowe and spiller

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