Aug 7, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews (24) runs the ball during the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Football 2014: San Diego Chargers RB Rundown

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The Chargers are calling their backfield the “three-headed monster”  which is enough to terrify any fantasy football owner into running for the hills and staying far away from the Bolts’ backfield.  However, I think there is some real value to be had if you can target these players as value options since the timeshare situation is sure to scare some owners away.

How the carries and catches are divided between Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead, and offseason acquisition Donald Brown will determine who emerges as a fantasy factor, but I think all three could be legitimate plays at flex positions as we get into them midseason bye weeks.  Each of the three have their own strengths, and all could easily have value since the Chargers offense utilizes running backs as receivers and if fairly run-focused as well.

Here is what I think you should expect from the Chargers RB as the season gets underway. The rankings included are based on my top 80 RB which came out last week and which will be updated later this week.


Ryan Mathews

RB, San Diego Chargers

Coach Mike McCoy called Mathews the “bellcow” of the Chargers attack.  He’s seen as the primary rusher on the team and should get most of the goal line carries.  He’s not as involved in the passing game, but in non-PPR leagues he’s still definitely a RB2. In PPR leagues, I’d drop him down a few slots, but still keep him as a fringe RB2 with upside.  If you can get him near the 20th back off the board, you’re getting nice value for a back that rushed for 1,255 yards last season with seven total TD’s and six 100+ yard games.

Danny Woodhead

RB, San Diego Chargers

Woodhead came to San Diego last offseason after several successful seasons in New England and stepped right into Coach McCoy’s passing game as the primary target out of the backfield.  He had 76 catches last season and had over 1,000 total yards to go with eight total TD’s.  In PPR leagues, he’s a legitimate flex play almost every week, while in non-PPR he’s still a very nice depth option because he is a regular red zone target.  His role may be slightly reduced with the addition of Brown, but he’s expected to stay the team’s primary third-down back.  

Donald Brown

RB, San Diego Chargers

Brown had a nice season last year in Indianapolis before signing a three-year deal with San Diego this offseason.  Of the three backs, Brown is slated for the fewest carries and catches, so he has the least value. However, the Bolts did sign him for over 10 million total, so they plan on using him as more than just a backup.  Brown is an intriguing late-round pick since his role is such a question mark.  Ryan Mathews has a history of injuries, and if Brown takes over his role, he’ll have instant RB2 potential, so he’s worth rostering in most formats going into the season to see how the “three-headed monster” attack plays out.  

This post is part of a series detailing the backfield situation for each NFL team from a fantasy football perspective. Check out my top 80 rankings and click here for the full series.


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Tags: 2014 Fantasy Football Danny Woodhead Donald Brown Fantasy Football Preview Fantasy Football RB RB Rankings RB Rundown Ryan Mathews San Diego Chargers

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