No getting around how good Ryan Mathews looks tonight. He's healthy, and his O-line is better this year than last.â Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) August 16, 2013
Mathews has recaptured his 2011 form, when he led all starting running backs in efficiency at 5.7 yards per touch. Against the Chicago Bears on Thursday night, Mathews was decisive, quick through the hole, kept his legs churning and consistently fought for extra yards. In short, it was the opposite of the tentative form he showed last season after missing most of August and September with a broken collarbone.
"The way that (he) ran the ball was outstanding," McCoy said, via U-T San Diego. "We ran the ball efficiently tonight. I think the way he's running the football (is) what we're looking for in our back."
McCoy made it clear that "the future is now" for the former first-round draft pick, and Mathews does seem to be playing with the sense of urgency of a player who understands he's running out of chances.
With health as the obvious caveat, we'll pass along the same fantasy football advice we gave on Darren McFadden a week ago: The sleeper is dead. Take advantage of the recency effect to grab a talented but disfavored player like Ryan Mathews if he drops to bargain status in your upcoming draft.