NFL fantasy football: Ryan Mathews a big risk

Suffice it to say I was blown away with Dr. Neil Ghodadra’s (noted orthopedic surgeon, former team doctor for the Chicago White Sox and Bulls) take on Ryan Mathews’ injury. I don’t know if you can see the shock on my face in the video above (if you can get past my pasty white head) but when he told me it wouldn’t be until October that we’d see the ‘real’ Ryan Mathews I could hear the cries of fantasy owners echoing in the darkness (or the light of the stage).

Dr. Ghodadra says it takes the average NFL player 8.8 weeks to recover from a clavicle injury (and let’s face it, Mathews isn’t the healthiest guy in the world to begin with). The risk of re-injury if he comes back after just four weeks is incredibly great. Still want to draft him late 1st or early 2nd round?

My initial reaction was that Mathews becomes a 4th or 5th round pick and there’s been nothing to move me off of that. He’s always been injury-prone, yet I still expected this to be his breakout season. It still might be, but you’re not taking him early when it’s going to be a third of the way into your fantasy season before you can confidently put him in your lineup. Let someone else hear good things about his recovery and reach up to take him in the 2nd round. You be smarter and let him pass. If he’s still on the board in the 4th or 5th, and you already have a stud No. 1 RB you can take a chance on him, but going into the season with him as your No. 1 RB is an invitation for disaster (or a bottom-half finish in your fantasy league).

This is one of the main reasons why I go QB over RB in the first round – the injury risk for running backs is so much greater than they are for quarterbacks. Not that QBs don’t get hurt, but you have a much better chance navigating your way through a whole fantasy season hoping Drew Brees would stay upright than you would banking on having Arian Foster or Darren McFadden every week.

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