Three and Out: Is Chargers' Mathews an RB2 again?

{eot} Staff
11/21/2013 3:59:49 PM
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Each week, Fantasy Editor Scott Cullen and NFL Editor Ben Fisher discuss three hot fantasy football topics.

In light of their big games in Week 11, which perpetual QB2 are you more confident can keep up their strong play, Ben Roethlisberger or Carson Palmer?

Cullen: I definitely prefer Roethlisberger. Not that he doesn't have issues, but when Big Ben goes off, he has some huge games – over 350 yards four times this season and he has thrown for four touchdowns in two of the last three weeks. He also has a decent number of options, with WR Jerricho Cotchery, TE Heath Miller and RB Le'Veon Bell playing strong complementary roles in the passing game behind No. 1 receiver Antonio Brown. As for Palmer, he's been better the last three weeks – with two TD passes in each of the last three games – but how much of that has to do with playing Atlanta, Houston and Jacksonville? With more interceptions than touchdown passes, I don't trust Palmer yet.

Fisher: Since their Week 5 bye, when the Steelers finally starting winning more games than they were losing, Roethlisberger has had two huge weeks, and four very mediocre ones. Palmer meanwhile is farther down in total points among QBs this season but could be considered the more consistent of the two lately. The difference in their low level performances is negligible but Roethlisberger has more of a penchant for breakout weeks. Plus the Steelers have an easier remaining schedule; I'm going with Big Ben.

Has Ryan Mathews worked his way back to RB2 status with his play of late?

Cullen: Yes, Mathews is okay to consider as RB2. He's not as consistent as Danny Woodhead, but Mathews has put up double-digit fantasy points in four of the last five games, that's good enough for a second running back. You just have to know there will be a week in which he comes up way short of expectations because that's what he does.

Fisher: Mathews has put up RB2 or better performances in a little over half his games this year. The other games he was a fantasy team killer. But he's been playing much better of late with four of his last five outings decent ones. I like him as an RB2 because his play has justified at worst a full workload moving forward which should cut out the truly terrible statlines, and at best more red zone and third down opportunities which should lead to more touchdowns and catches.

Can Harry Douglas continue to play at a WR2 level the rest of the season?

Cullen: Douglas' value is tied so closely to the health of Roddy White. So long as White is working his way back and not at 100%, then Douglas will get the looks necessary to put up good numbers – like the 535 receiving yards he has over the last five weeks – but if White is ever healthy enough to be Matt Ryan's top target, then I could see Douglas' value declining. So far this season, betting against White has been the successful course of action.

Fisher: With the Falcons leaning more heavily on pass than run, and Roddy White still garnering the attention of opposing defence's top cornerback, I think Douglas is worth 80 yards per week moving forward, maybe more if Atlanta continues to struggle (garbage yards in catch-up mode). That alone nearly makes him worth a start as a WR2; if he can find the end zone more often – he only has two touchdowns since filling in as a starter – his spot would be more secure.

Ryan Mathews (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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