Yesterday it was reported that San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews is confident he’ll return from his broken clavicle in time for Week 1. At the time, I scoffed (I scoff an awful lot, I think it’s a medical condition), because every player thinks their injury is healing ahead of schedule. It’s an industry standard.

I guess I should get my scoffing condition looked at by a physician, because Mathews has a reason to be optimistic, and therefore so do you if you’ve taken a risk on him. He’s been cleared by team doctors to start upper-body exercises on his left side.

“He was using a lot of big words, but he said everything is going good. He said just be patient with it. …

It’s right where I thought it would be. In two weeks, a bone is not going to be completely healed. But knowing my body, I think it’s going right where it’s supposed to be and it’s going faster than normal.”

A healthy Mathews could be an excellent asset to fantasy owners (he rushed for 1,091 yards in 14 games last year), especially since his lingering injury concerns could translate to great value and cause him to fall as far as the fourth round depending on how many teams are in your league (his current ESPN average draft position is 37th overall).

Unfortunately, staying healthy isn’t something that Mathews is particularly good at, as he hasn’t played a full season in his young NFL career, missing four games as a rookie and two more as a sophomore. This, coupled with his current injury, should still scare fantasy owners away from investing too highly.

If he’s there mid-to-late in the third round, take him. Otherwise, let his inevitable trip(s) to the trainer’s room be someone else’s headache.