Norv Turner sees Ryan Mathews as his workhorse back

When asked how many carries he thought rookie RB Ryan Mathews would have this season, Chargers head coach Norv Turner had this to say: (SignonSanDiego.com)

“That is so hard to say, because there are games that come up like the Tennessee game and the Denver game (last season) where you run the ball 40 times. I’d like every game to be that way. Unfortunately, it’s not. But I would expect Ryan to have 250 carries and 40 catches, something like that. That’s obviously saying Darren is going to have the same role he’s had.”

As a reference, LaDainian Tomlinson carried the ball 223 times for 730 yards and 12 TD, and caught 20 passes for 154 yards. LT2 is a very good pass-catcher, but Sproles took over most of those duties in recent years, so I’m not sure how Mathews gets to 40 catches this season. The carries I can see — Tomlinson missed a couple of games and would have carried the ball about 255-260 times had he stayed healthy.

If Mathews gets that kind of work and takes over the goal-line duties, I can see a 1,000-yard season and double-digit TDs in 2010. If we project 1,100 total yards, with 10 TD and 15 catches, that puts him at 185 fantasy points (in a PPR league). Last season, those were RB20 numbers, so Mathews should go somewhere in the middle of the fourth round, along with Jerome Harrison, Ronnie Brown and Knowshon Moreno.

Man, I have to get used to spelling “Mathews” with one “t.” Sigh.

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