After dissecting who you should be taking between Devonta Freeman and David Johnson last week, today we’ll continue with the running backs, addressing a decision owners are facing later in their draft, Ryan Mathews or Duke Johnson?
Both of these running backs are with the same teams they were in 2015 (Philadelphia for Mathews, Cleveland for Johnson), but both have new coaches coming to town. And from the public perception, one of them saw a big boost in value, while the other has a similar price to the one he did before 2015 fantasy drafts.
I’ll run through a variety of categories with the two below, and you’ll see why, in the end, Johnson makes for the better fantasy option in 2016.
Carry volume under their new coaches
On the surface, it seems as if Mathews is the clear-cut leader in volume, considering the exit of last year’s No. 1 back DeMarco Murray, clearing out 193 rushing attempts and 55 targets in the passing game. The downside for Mathews in this regard is the arrival of new head coach Doug Pederson in Philadelphia. Pederson might be a net positive for the team as a whole, but for fantasy purposes, you had to prefer Chip Kelly.