Ryan Mathews will open the season as the starter for the Eagles this season, and he might end up getting a ton of work given their quarterback situation, with Chase Daniel and rookie Carson Wentz in the top two spots on the depth chart. DeMarco Murray was traded to the Titans, which leaves Mathews as the starter, and he played well in 2015 in limited work. He had 107 carries for 539 yards and six touchdowns and 20 catches for 146 yards and one touchdown. As usual, he dealt with injuries, including groin surgery after the season, but he's expected to be fine for training camp. He's dealt with a litany of injuries during his career, but in 2013 when he appeared in 16 games he had 1,255 rushing yards and six touchdowns and 26 catches for 189 yards and one touchdown. That's what he's capable of if he starts and plays a full season, which makes him intriguing as a Fantasy option this year. Along with that, new Eagles coach Doug Pederson worked under Andy Reid in Kansas City, and that duo had a good history with running backs. Injuries are always a concern, but Mathews should have a fine season when healthy, and is worth targeting as a No. 2 running back in rounds 4 or 5.
Mathews gained 77 yards and scored a touchdown on 22 carries but was not targeted in the passing game in Sunday's 29-10 victory over the Browns. So far so good for Mathews in his role as the unquestioned bell-cow back, as he ran hard and decisively throughout the day and escaped injury-free. He had to work for everything he got Sunday, as his game-long rush went for only seven yards. However, it was certainly an encouraging start for a revamped Eagles offense, as Mathews proved capable of serving as a perfect complement to rookie quarterback Carson Wentz and helped keep the Browns defense honest. He should be primed for abundant opportunity in 2016 provided his health remains intact.
Mathews carried three times for 31 yards in Saturday's preseason win over the Colts. While Darren Sproles is on hand to contribute on passing downs and Kenjon Barner (who is currently listed as the Eagles' No. 3 RB) has had a good summer, Mathews is on track to head the Eagles' backfield out of the gate this season, something that should remain stable, provided the 28-year-old can avoid the injury bug. Draftee Wendell Smallwood is also in the mix, but he's been slowed by injuries and doesn't appear to represent much of a short-term threat to Mathews' workload.
Mathews ran the ball five times for 18 yards during Thursday's preseason win over the Steelers. Mathews had less carries than both Byron Marshall (eight) and Kenjon Barner (six) as the Eagles don't need to risk the health of their projected starting running back. Mathews' value in PPR formats figures to be reduced due to Darren Sproles' role on passing downs, who didn't carry the ball Thursday but recorded three receptions for eight yards. Fellow running back Kenjon Barner also impressed against Pittsburgh with six carries for 41 yards and a touchdown, but he shouldn't cut into too many of Mathews' touches by the time the regular season rolls around, given he remains healthy.
Mathews (ankle) had two carries for 15 yards and a touchdown in Thursday's preseason opener against Tampa Bay. Mathews made the most of his brief appearance, running through would-be tacklers on a couple of tough runs up the middle. He showed no lingering signs of the ankle injury that cause him to miss some practice time, and seems to be locked in as the Eagles' lead back. However, Darren Sproles figures to get most of the passing-down work, and Mathews' durability has always been an issue.
Mathews (ankle) appeared to be a full practice participant Sunday, philly.com reports. More importantly perhaps, is that the report notes that Mathews took his place with the the Eagles' first-team offense Sunday. Since being activated from the team's non-football injury list and returning to practice Friday, Mathews has reportedly looked sharp. "He just looks explosive out there," offensive coordinator Frank Reich noted after seeing Mathews work. "He looked explosive, he looked quick, he was seeing things. And I know it was a toned-down practice with no pads, but we're still playing fast. He looks good. He's an explosive, physical runner." As long as Mathews remains healthy, it sounds like the Eagles would like to get him plenty of work, with Reich stating that "we want to get (Mathews) as many touches as we can." In the mix for complementary work in the Eagles' 2016 backfield are veteran change-of-pace man Darren Sproles, Kenjon Barner and rookie Wendell Smallwood, who is dealing with a quad issue.
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|9||11/06||@New York Giants||5||11.00|
|12||11/29||Green Bay Packers||2||9.00|
|16||12/23||New York Giants||5||11.00|
|3 Year Avg||155||708||5||18||135||1||119|