Fantasy Football Problems: Ryan Mathews vs Danny Woodhead




Columnist Kristina Bravo reviews the performances of Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead from last nights game, and takes a look at who you should start going forward.

Even after last night’s dominant performance from Ryan Mathews, (127 yards on 29 carries, 1 td) fantasy owners may still have some issues deciding between Mathews and Danny Woodhead.  Despite what looks like a lopsided, easy decision, there’s much more to consider than last night.  If this was purely a case of running back vs. running back, there would be no doubt.  Mathews gets the touches, the td’s, and the yards (and, let’s face it, has much better facial hair).  However Danny Woodhead as a receiver makes the choice much less clear.

With last night, Ryan Mathews made it above 1,000 yards rushing yards rushing, and added to his touchdowns this season with 5 coming from the ground and another 1 coming from a Philip Rivers pass.  He dwarves Danny Woodhead in the number of touches he gets a game as well.  While he has only lost 3 fumbles this year, many people do not realize the high level of inconsistency that Mathews owners have dealt with this season if they were just looking by the numbers.  Last night’s 127 yards on the ground ties his season best against the Dolphins, but he’s only gone above 100 yards in three other games.

His contribution as a receiver is also limited.  With only one TD in the air, Mathews is not a target Rivers uses often, even in check down situations.  He is 20 for 24 receiving, but only adds 157 yards this season in the air.

Woodhead, however, is the opposite of Mathews. With only 29 yards rushing on 9 carries and one reception for 13 yards last night, it was a rare off night for an otherwise consistent performer.  Woodhead receives the bulk of the short passes from Rivers, averaging 8.2 yards a reception and 3.9 a carry. He is by no means a stud, but he is a much more reliable player.  His 6 receptions for touchdowns and additional 2 on the ground make him the better target in the red zone.

Where does this leave them?  Well, in standard scoring Mathews is averaging 9.6 points a game with a season high 19 and low of 0.  Woodhead scores an average of 9.1 points a game with a high of 20 and a low of 1 point a game.  Eerily similar, is where they are.

So what should you do?  Consider your league.  If your scoring favors running backs, Mathews is the way to go.  If it favors receivers, Woodhead is your guy.  Both players are good options really; it’s just a matter of what you play and how you play.  If you like taking risks and going boom or bust, Mathews has potential.  The safe, steady, but less explosive route is Woodhead.  Go with your gut and reap the benefits.

Categories: Fantasy Football

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