Ryan Mathews on the mend (Getty Images)
Ryan Mathews (clavicle) appears cleared for contact. Practicing in helmet and shoulder pads for first time since Aug. 10 surgery.
That's straight from Michael Gehlken, Chargers beat writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune (and 2009 Friends & Family League champ. And two-time F&F runner-up. Dude can play some fake football).
Mathews has clearly taken a huge step in his return from the billionth injury of his three-year pro career. He was officially limited in Thursday's practice. A broken collarbone seems like a particularly serious issue for a running back, since these guys spend their afternoons delivering and absorbing hits, leading with their shoulders. We've yet to hear if Mathews will actually get the green light for Week 2.
San Diego's running game was embarrassingly ineffective in the opener, with Mathews sidelined (20 carries, 32 yards), so his services are desperately needed.
• Carolina's Steve Smith is dealing with knee soreness, unable to put in full practices, and yet his head coach doesn't seem at all worried about his availability on Sunday. The Panthers face New Orleans in Week 2, a match-up with ridiculous shootout potential, so you'll want to keep Smith active as long as he's upright on gameday. I'm starting Brandon LaFell in a pair of leagues, too.
• Adrian Peterson has suggested that he's operating at roughly 95 percent capacity right now. There's soreness in his surgical miracle of a knee, but nothing unexpected or alarming.
Even if he were being carried around by Kevin Williams, the way Hodor carries Bran, I would still probably start AP in Week 2 at Indianapolis.
"I'm feeling good. Should be good to go next week," [Garcon] said. "We'll get it checked on, I'll be ready back for St. Louis."
...so perhaps we have some misdirection here from his head coach. Aldrick Robinson is a receiver of interest if Garcon is sidelined.
• DeSean Jackson (hamstring) and Jeremy Maclin (hip) both sat on Thursday, but Eagles head coach Andy Reid doesn't sound panicky:
"I think we're going to be OK," Reid said after practice Thursday. "They're getting better, so I think we'll be alright. I'm not too worried about it right now."
Philly has a degree-of-difficulty match-up ahead against the Ravens, plus a struggling QB and a leaky O-line. Plenty of reasons to be concerned here. I'm surprised anyone took the under on this week's Vick question.
• John Skelton (ankle) hasn't practiced this week and isn't expected to be ready for this weekend's loss at New England. Kevin Kolb has a shot at some garbage time stats, I suppose, so I'll look the other way if you feel the need to add him in a (deep) two-QB league. I will not officially endorse him, however.
• It sounds like Jake Locker (shoulder) owners have nothing to worry about leading up to Week 2, except for the obvious problem: Jake Locker is your fantasy quarterback. Yikes. THERE WERE BETTER OPTIONS.
No, really, he's fine. Seriously fine. (In a deep league, on someone else's team). Completely fine.
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