After being assigned duties to cover slot receivers in Week 5, Mathieu has been credited with three passes defensed and an interception in two games to jump-start what was a dormant fantasy season. In addition, the six tackles he recorded was his highest total since Week 1, making this easily his most productive game of the campaign. He'll struggle to match the career-high five picks he recorded last year, but at least he's trending in the right direction, making him a player worth adding if he's on the waiver wire.
Mathieu will cover the slot Thursday in San Francisco, FOX Sports 910's Mike Jurecki reports.
With Tyvon Branch (groin) placed on injured reserve due to a sports hernia, Mathieu will move back to the hybrid slot/safety role he occupied with great success last season. He hasn't been as impactful working strictly as a safety, recording only 15 tackles and a forced fumble in four games. He had 89 tackles, five interceptions, a forced fumble and 17 passes defensed in 14 games last season. This puts the Honey Badger firmly back on the IDP radar.
Just under eight months removed from surgery to repair a torn ACL, Mathieu is reportedly still experiencing soreness in his knee, which is likely the reason for his limited practice sessions on Wednesday and Thursday. However, the soreness isn't preventing him playing. Rather, it's just restricting him to the free safety position until he recovers his ability to line up all over the field, as seen during his All-Pro 2015 campaign.
Officially listed as the No. 1 free safety on the depth chart, Mathieu lined up primarily in the slot during his outstanding 2015 campaign that was cut short by a torn ACL on Dec. 20. As he gets his legs under him in the early going, he's clearly playing a more traditional role, which has so far equated to nine tackles but no other counting stats. Mathieu likely requires additional game action to feel comfortable in his old role, but for the time being, IDP owners may want to look elsewhere for assistance.
Despite tallying seven solo tackles in Week 1, Mathieu wasn't his typical self as he continues to work out the kinks with his surgically repaired right knee. Working in a deep center field role for the time being, his presence as a run-stuffer may have to wait a few more weeks.
|8||10/30/16||@ CAR||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 9|
|11||11/20/16||@ MIN||1:00 pm|
|12||11/27/16||@ ATL||1:00 pm|
|14||12/11/16||@ MIA||1:00 pm|
|16||12/24/16||@ SEA||4:25 pm|
|17||1/1/17||@ LAR||4:25 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
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