Fantasy Football Archive

DolfansNYC Q&A: Rishard Matthews

Thursday, October 29th, 2015
Rishard_Matthews_DolfansNYC
Photo: Bryan Hoffman/DolfansNYC

Buried on the depth chart and limited to special teams for much of his first three NFL seasons, Dolphins wide receiver Rishard Matthews acknowledges he momentarily let his emotions get the best of him during the offseason, before a pivotal conversation with a team legend reversed his outlook.

“I talk to Rishard probably once a month … he’s my favorite receiver,” says recently-named Top 50 All-Time Dolphins player O.J. McDuffie. “The things he was going through off the field this year – about the trade talks, the wanting to get released thing – I just told him, ‘Stick to the grind. Continue doing what you’re doing and working hard.’ He came in to the OTAs, mini-camp and training camp with a whole new attitude, and he can’t be denied on the football field now.”

Matthews – who entered his fourth-year campaign as one of only two incumbent wideouts on Miami’s revamped receiving corps – cemented a starting role, separating himself from his peers by utilizing his size and strength as both a pass-catcher and blocker.

“I’m a bigger receiver, so I do more when it comes to coming out of breaks and I take pride in catching the ball over the middle,” he says. “If somebody tries to lay a big hit on me, it doesn’t really affect me. I try to make them feel it more than I feel it.”

Originally a seventh-round draft pick in 2012, Matthews showed flashes of his immense potential early in his career – hauling in 11 catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns in Week 10 of the 2013 season – setting the stage for his eye-opening start to 2015.

“I think people forget that this is my fourth year,” he says smiling. “I was here two years ago when (Brandon) Gibson went down and I contributed a lot. People are acting like it’s the first time I’ve made catches or done something. It’s good to still be here … (be) a part of this great organization, great people and great staff.”

The University of Nevada product has started all six games – already matching his total from his first 38 NFL appearances – and is on pace to not only shatter his career highs in nearly every statistical category, but rack up the fifth-most single-season receiving yards (1,168) and touchdowns (11) in franchise history.

DolfansNYC caught up with No. 18 to discuss his remarkable success, adjusting to fantasy football stardom, enjoying family life and more.

What do you feel have been the biggest keys to your breakout season?

“I would just say opportunity and consistency. I was just able to capitalize on my opportunity when DeVante (Parker) went down (with a foot injury). That’s really the reason I was able to make it hard for the coaches to put me back on the bench.

“When given the opportunity, I’ve taken advantage of it and just continued to be consistent from there. I think the coaches have just gained a lot of trust in me, and I’m going to try to continue to do that.”

Have you set out to accomplish any personal goals this season and beyond?

“I want to start every game, but (if not), play as much as I can and never miss a practice. I’ll just try to keep that (mindset) going in my career.”

How often do you hear fans say you’re on their fantasy teams?

“I’ve been hearing it a lot recently. The other day, I was actually walking in the mall and somebody said the same thing – ‘Oh, I’m starting you!’ It’s new, but I just say, ‘Don’t get mad if I don’t ever get you points.’”

Who were players you admired growing up and modeled your own game after?

“I wouldn’t say (he’s a player I) built my game around, but I really like Anquan Boldin. I think he’s kind of the same receiver as I am – I try to be like him, at least. He does a great job of breaking tackles and whatnot.”

What have been the biggest differences for you and the team since Dan Campbell took over as head coach?

“(He’s) just changing the culture up a little bit – just bringing the fun back to football. Not saying that it wasn’t fun before, but he’s just changing it up. We all understood what happened and with change, you have to make sure you get the attention of the team. He’s done a great job of that during practices and in the locker room.”

I’ve read he’s a big Metallica fan. Does he play any heavy metal music in the locker room?

(Laughs) “Is he? I could see it, now that you said that. That’s crazy though. I didn’t know that.”

What kind of music do you listen to before games?

“I like hip-hop. My favorite artist is Drake.”

What are some of your favorite off-the-field hobbies?

“I just had a son, so I hang out with my son and my dogs. I’m kind of a homebody, so I don’t do too much.”

Congratulations! How old is your son?

“Thank you. He’s seven weeks, so it’s a lot (of responsibility).”

It must be even tougher now to go on the road, but how much does it mean to you to have fan support across the country?

“It means a lot. I’ve seen it a lot. It shows us – and especially the new players who come (to the Dolphins) – that wherever we go, we have love everywhere. You have to be ready, embrace their presence and feed off of it.”

DolfansNYC Podcast, Episode 8: Michael Lombardi

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Acclaimed football analyst Michael Lombardi joins us to break down why he wasn’t high on the Dolphins prior to the beginning of the season; address the team’s biggest problem areas; and give his thoughts on Dolphins fans in New York.  A former NFL executive, Michael’s exceptional work can be found on the NFL Network, Showtime’s “Inside the NFL,” and NFL.com.

Stay tuned for a quick edition “What’s Your Fantasy – Week 5″ at the conclusion of the interview.

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Music Credit: Solo D, “DolfansNYC Anthem”

DolfansNYC Podcast, Episode 7: Sam Madison

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Sam Madison, one of the greatest defensive players in team history, joins us to reflect on his Dolphins career; discuss the qualities that make a great NFL cornerback; and give his thoughts on playing and living in New York. A four-time Pro Bowl and three-time All-Pro selection with Miami, Madison also helped the Giants win Super Bowl XLII over the New England Patriots and currently works in broadcasting as a member of The Finsiders.

Stay tuned for “What’s Your Fantasy – Week 4″ at the conclusion of the interview.

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Music Credit: Solo D, “DolfansNYC Anthem”

What’s Your Fantasy – Week 3, 2011

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

We have too many great guests on the podcast this week – make sure to check back here and to subscribe on  iTunes – to record “What’s Your Fantasy,” so here are the players I recommend starting, benching and thinking about for Week 3.

You probably wish you'd started me in your fantasy league.

I’m Sorry… I’ll admit that I was completely wrong about Cam Newton, and in effect, Steve Smith.  I still have no idea how a quarterback who completed 42% of his passes against second-tier defenses in the preseason can up his completion percentage to 63% and throw for over 400 yards in two straight games, but consider Newton as a top-10 QB option for the rest of the year and obviously continue to ride Smith’s hot streak.

Players to Start:

Ryan Fitzpatrick is a borderline must-start against the New England Patriots, who’ve allowed opposing QBs to throw for nearly 400 yards and two TDs per game.  The Bills will almost surely be playing catch-up all game, which should allow Fitzy to continue posting great fantasy numbers.

Ben Tate has now put together back-to-back 100-yard rushing games, and faces New Orleans in what projects to be a shootout.  Arian Foster, who missed practice today, may still get some carries, but Tate is a rock-solid number two RB against a Saints defense that has given up 18 fantasy points per game to opposing RBs.

Mike Williams (Bucs) had just one catch for -4 yards last week.  It might be hard to trust him every week, but he’ll go up against a Falcons defense that was just shredded by Jeremy Maclin for 13 catches and 171 yards.  Start Williams as a number two WR and expect a nice bounce-back performance.

Players to Bench:

Joe Flacco struggled mightily against the Tennessee Titans, completing just 15-of-32 passes for 197 yards, one TD and two INTs.  While he has Ray Rice on potentially long screen plays, Flacco shouldn’t be in starting lineups against a Rams defense that has allowed less than 200 passing yards per game.

Felix Jones dislocated his shoulder last week, and even though he finished the game in a harness, there’s a good chance he won’t carry a full load against the Redskins.  He’s a poor flex option even if he ends up starting this week.

Reggie Wayne has retained much of his value despite Peyton Manning’s absence, but it’s very hard to trust him – or rather, Kerry Collins – against the Steelers.  Pittsburgh has allowed just 84 yards per game to opposing WRs, reducing Wayne to more of a flex option or third WR this week.

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DolfansNYC Podcast, Episode 3: What’s Your Fantasy – Week 2, 2011

Thursday, September 15th, 2011
Broncos fans want Tim Tebow after three whole quarters.

With Week Two of the NFL season on the horizon, it’s time for another edition of “What’s Your Fantasy,” where I break down the players to start, bench, and think about for your fantasy football lineup.  On the heels of a solid opening week, my recommendations include rolling with one of the most maligned quarterbacks in the league; sitting last week’s top wide receiver; and picking up a couple of newly-minted starters.

As always, we’ve got music and a touch of humor for your listening pleasure. Go Fins!

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Music Credit: Solo D, “DolfansNYC Anthem”

DolfansNYC Podcast, Episode 2: What’s Your Fantasy – Week 1, 2011

Thursday, September 8th, 2011
A Little fantasy sleeper.

We’re back with another fun season of “What’s Your Fantasy” (now via the podcast!), where I break down the players to start, bench, and think about for your lineup. My week one recommendations include playing a top-tier quarterback despite a tough match-up; benching last season’s receiving leader; and keeping a close eye on a Cleveland Browns backup (or two, if you count the bonus one on the right).

As always, we’ve got music and a touch of humor for your viewing listening pleasure. Go Fins!

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Music Credit: Solo D, “DolfansNYC Anthem”

What’s Your Fantasy? Week 8 (2010)

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

We were all set to bring you a video this week, but referee Gene Steratore ruled that he could not conclude we had gained possession of the camera and nullified the recording.

Officiating gaffes aside, I’m still here to bring you the players to start, bench, and think about for your lineup.  With six teams on byes and several key injuries, this is a week where playing the match-ups and scouring the waiver wire for hidden gems is as important as ever.  But first, as always, I need to make a quick apology for a bad call.

I’m Sorry…Matt Ryan had his best game of the year after I recommended benching him last week, but hey, my others picks turned out to be good calls for a change. 

Start ‘Em: 

A sign that your fantasy defense is having a great day...
A sign that your fantasy defense is having a great day...

Matthew Stafford, QB Lions – Stafford is ready to go after a shoulder injury kept him sidelined for five games, and gets to face off against Redskins, who give up the seventh-most fantasy points to QBs and rank 31st in passing defense.  Yes, Washington had four interceptions last week, but what team hasn’t picked off Jay Cutler four times?

Beanie Wells, RB Cardinals – Tampa Bay has allowed at least 100 rushing yards and 16 fantasy points to running backs in five straight games.  With Tim Hightower (more like Fumble-tower, hey-yo!) in the doghouse, Wells is a must-start #2RB this week.

Pierre Garcon, WR Colts – Take out Week 4 against the Raiders, when TE Zach Miller caught 11 passes for 122 yards, and the Texans have allowed opposing WRs to gain over 200 yards, two TDs, and 31 fantasy points per gave.  With Austin Collie and Dallas Clark out this week, Garcon is a top-10 option (as is, Reggie Wayne, obviously).   

Others to start:  Jon Kitna, QB Cowboys (vs. Bills); Jamaal Charles, RB Chiefs (vs. Bills);  Santana Moss, WR Redskins (vs. Lions)

Bench ‘Em:

Vince Young, QB Titans-  Young should be back in the lineup after sitting out the last game with a knee injury, and does have the un-benchable Kenny Britt at his disposal.  But the Chargers have given up the fewest fantasy points to QBs this season, and held Tom Brady to only 159 yards and one TD last week, making Young a very mediocre play.

Cedric Benson, RB Bengals – Benson has scored single-digit fantasy points in four out of six games this season, and goes up against a Dolphins defense that held Rashard Mendenhall to just 37 yards on the ground.   Consider Benson as a low-end #2RB this week, as “The T.Ocho Show” will be airing in Miami.

Lee Evans, WR Bills – Evans is coming off a three-TD week and has 11 catches for 192 yards over the last two games…which means he’s well overdue for a one-catch stinker.  This is more of a gut-call, but start him at your own risk against a Chiefs defense that has surprisingly given up the seventh-fewest fantasy points to WRs.

Others to bench:  Sam Bradford, QB Rams (vs. Panthers); Michael Crabtree, WR 49ers (vs. Broncos)

Think About ‘Em:

Tarvaris Jackson, QB Vikings – No, I don’t actually think Brett Favre will sit in his rocking chair on any Sundays this season.  But even if the ancient one starts, Jackson could easily spell him at any time in the game and has top-tier talent around him.  If you’re in a bind, T-Jack is better bet than the likes of Troy Smith.

Donald Brown and Mike Hart, RB Colts – If Joseph Addai sits out against the Texans, Brown would be a solid #2RB and Hart could merit flex play consideration.  Houston has allowed at least one rushing TD in five straight games, and gave up 193 yards on the ground to the Chiefs in Week 7.

James Jones, WR Packers -  With Donald Driver still bothered by a quad injury, Jones caught four passes for 107 yards against the Vikings last week.  He’s a high-risk, high-reward #3WR against the Jets, who’ve given up the third-most fantasy points to WRs on the season but have Darrelle Revis back in the lineup.

That’s it for this week.  Remember to stop by Third and Long on 35th Street and 3rd Avenue on Sunday, as the Dolphins take on the Cincinnati Bengals in a must-win game.  Email your questions to dolfansnyc@gmail.com and all that good stuff.  Go Fins!

What’s Your Fantasy? Week 7 (2010)

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

“What’s Your Fantasy” is here to get you set for Week 7. As always, I break down the players to start, bench, and think about for your lineup. This week, I finally get to shave my beard (hoorah!), recommend playing a Steeler against the Dolphins (boooo!), and answer a question sent in by a loyal viewer. As always, we’ve got music and a touch of humor for your viewing pleasure. Go Fins!!

What’s Your Fantasy? Week 6 (2010)

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Your long-awaited fix of “What’s Your Fantasy” is here for Week 6.  As always, I break down the players to start, bench, and think about for your lineup.   This week, I explain why I’m rocking such an awesome beard, recommend playing any Titans on your roster, and advise benching two running backs facing tough match-ups.  As always, we’ve got music and a touch of humor for your viewing pleasure.  Go Fins!!

What’s Your Fantasy? Week 5 (2010)

Friday, October 8th, 2010

 

We’re going to pretend Monday night didn’t happen and move on with “What’s Your Fantasy” for Week 5.  As always, I break down the players to start, bench, and think about for your lineup.   This week, I recommend benching the league’s leading passer – the same guy who couldn’t beat out Rex Grossman for a starting job not too long ago, by the way — and picking up a must-own player in the aftermath of the Randy Moss trade.  As always, we’ve got music and a touch of humor for your viewing pleasure.  Go Fins!!

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