In a Raiders live chat on Tuesday, Steve Corkran of the Contra Costa Times kinda bummed me out. This was his reaction when asked if Darren McFadden (foot sprain) would be available for the Week 9 match-up with Denver:
He's a toss-up at this point. My guess is, the Raiders will hold him out and hope he's ready for the Chargers game on the 10th.
Unpleasant assessment, obviously. Michael Bush should be an excellent start if McFadden can't go (and maybe even if he can). This is clearly a situation where the end-of-week practice reports will be key. No need to set your lineups today. McFadden was a no-go in Wednesday's session, which is no great surprise.
• Peyton Hillis "will practice to some degree" on Wednesday afternoon, according to the Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot. Hillis is dealing with a hamstring issue and Montario Hardesty is sidelined by a calf injury, so it's possible that Chris Ogbonnaya will get a bunch of low-yield touches for this miserable offense in the Houston game.
• Willis McGahee reportedly practiced on Wednesday, only a week after having surgery on his dominant hand. He's threatening to play in Week 9, though I can't say I'd trust him. As with most other injury situations, you really need to get the Friday post-practice report here, perhaps waiting until Sunday morning to make the start/sit call. I'll be forced to toss McGahee into my position ranks this week, but I'm not doing it with any enthusiasm.
• Andre Johnson was given the day off on Wednesday, and the Houston Chronicle's John McClain has tweeted that AJ is definitely at risk of missing a fifth straight game. Don't put yourself in a position where you need Johnson to play this weekend. Drag him to a flex spot, make sure you have a solid Plan B on your roster.
• Kevin Kolb is considered day-to-day at the moment, due to a case of turf toe. This week's match-up is tremendous (St. Louis), but realistically, you can't trust a damaged version of Kolb. He's looking like a game-time decision. John Skelton should not be in anyone's fantasy plans, except in deep two-QB leagues.
• Fred Davis owners appear to have dodged a bullet, as the Washington tight end has already shed his walking boot. "I'm good," said Fred. He's the only Washington skill player worth considering as a fantasy starter right now, which you probably knew already.
• Here's Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, discussing the Chargers backfield situation in Week 9:
Mike Tolbert, who tested his hamstring extensively at Arrowhead Stadium before Monday night's game, is expected to return.
The status of Ryan Mathews, who injured his groin and left Monday's game in the fourth quarter, and Curtis Brinkley, who suffered a concussion near the end of the game, won't be known until later in the week. It is feared that Mathews will miss his first game of the season.
The Mathews story isn't really much of a surprise, because injuries have dogged that player for the past 5-6 years. It's a shame that Brinkley might be sidelined, because he flashed some talent on Monday night. If you've got Tolbert on your roster, be prepared to deploy him this week. He's the last Kool-Aid Man standing in the San Diego backfield. We could see some of this in Week 9...
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