Ryan Mathews has the chance to start for the Eagles this season, and he could be a great Fantasy option if he opens Week 1 at No. 1 on the depth chart. DeMarco Murray was traded to the Titans, which should give Mathews the inside track to start, 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. Keep an eye on Mathews during training camp, but if he starts for the Eagles he would be considered a solid No. 2 running back worth drafting in Round 5 in the majority of leagues.
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.
Mathews participated in a few team drills on Friday and was removed from the NFI list, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Although he did take the practice field for the first time this training camp, Mathews was limited in his participation and left practice early. He'll continue to nurse a sore ankle, and should see an increase in reps next week.
Mathews (ankle) continues to miss practice, NJ.com reports. To date, Mathews has missed all of six of the Eagles' full team practices in training camp, but on the plus side, coach Doug Pederson indicated Sunday that he hoped to have Mathews back by the end of this week. With Wendell Smallwood now dealing with a quad injury, Kenjon Barner and Darren Sproles are seeing the bulk of the team's practice reps at running back, with undrafted rookies Byron Marshall and Cedric O'Neal also seeing some extra reps.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|9||11/06||@New York Giants||26||20.38|
|12||11/29||Green Bay Packers||11||15.33|
|16||12/23||New York Giants||26||20.38|
|3 Year Avg||155||708||5||18||135||1||119|