Should I start Ryan Mathews this week?

This is a question being asked by thousands of fantasy football owners who aren’t sure if the Chargers’ Pro Bowl running back will be available Monday against Oakland. To answer your question, I have no idea, but I don’t think I would risk it.

Mathews, who broke his clavicle on his first carry of the preseason, still hasn’t been cleared for contact.

I know Mathews is optimistic that he’ll be ready by Monday night, but as a professional athlete, those are the kind of clichés he has to spew to the media. He admits that he’s unsure how his body will stand up to contact, and that should give fantasy owners enough pause to wait until he’s fully cleared before inserting him into their line-up, especially if his health questions haven’t been answered before Sunday morning.

You don’t want to have points sitting on your bench because you were waiting to see if Mathews is ready to play.

Witten will make the trip to New York

Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten will travel with the team to Wednesday night’s game against the New York Giants, but it’s still uncertain if he’ll be ready to play. Witten, who hasn’t missed a game since 2003, will have a CAT scan today to examine his lacerated spleen, an injury he suffered during the Cowboys’ preseason opener.

If you have Witten on your fantasy team, you should find out later today whether or not he’ll be ready to go based on the results of his CAT scan. I wouldn’t be surprised if they sat Witten no matter what just to give him another 11 days to rest, an extended down time provided by Dallas’ Wednesday night game this week, and the resulting unofficial half bye week.

Peterson will play a limited role in week 1

Fantasy owners of uber-talented Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson should probably leave him on their bench during Week 1. According to Vikings’ coach Leslie Frazier, even if Peterson plays in their season opener, it will be in a limited capacity.

“We recognize if he’s able to get in this first ball game, it’ll be with limited exposure. We’ll talk about it as the week goes on and see how he’s doing and if it’s even a valuable option to let him play.”

Depending on how he feels as the week progresses, his status for the Vikings’ first game might change. But as it stands, Peterson might be better off on your bench until it’s clear he can carry the load offensively.

Look out, here comes more hurt…

  • After missing the entire preseason, Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin (injured hamstring) should play tomorrow night against the Giants. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
  • Colts wide receiver Austin Collie (concussion) reportedly looks great and should be ready to start against the Bears. [Mike Chappell on Twitter]
  • Giants’ wide receiver Hakeem Nicks’ foot problems shouldn’t keep him out of tomorrow’s game against the Cowboys. []
  • Lions’ running back Kevin Smith returned to practice on Monday after spraining his ankle on August 25th. [The Detroit News]