By Eric Schmidt

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews has perplexed and frustrated fantasy football owners over the last few seasons. He entered the league two seasons ago with high expectations and has failed to deliver on the level of predictions surrounding him. I bought into the hype his rookie season and made a reach in order to grab him as he was advertised as the second coming of LaDainian Tomlinson. Now, Jackie Battle is complicating matters for Mathews in San Diego.

Battle scored two touchdowns last Sunday for the Chargers and actually had more carries in the game than Mathews. Now, according to the Chargers team website depth chart, Mathews has relegated his starting position to Battle.

It’s possible that Mathews is simply not in game shape after suffering a broken collarbone in the preseason. It’s also possible that the coaching staff is trying to send a message to Mathews.

Heading into this year’s fantasy drafts, I stayed away from Mathews, despite the talk from head coach Norv Turner heading into this season. I suggested that fantasy owners of Mathews pick up Battle on the waiver wire this week. It now appears that at least for the time being, Mathews might have to give way to the hot hand of Battle. That will prove to be the quandary facing Mathews owners this week when the Chargers face off against the New Orleans Saints and their 32nd ranked rushing defense.

The Chargers game is the Sunday night prime time game, which further complicates matters for owners who selected Mathews and might not have grabbed Battle off waivers. Fantasy owners are going to have to monitor the situation all this week and you’ll have to most likely make a decision by 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon as to whether or not risk a start by Mathews.

 

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