September 10, 2009

Your team is set and Week 1 is upon us. But are you ready to handle the aches and pains of the season? Here's a glimpse as to what you can expect.

Anquan Boldin: Questionable

The perpetually whiny, but always reliable Boldin has been dealing with a tweaked hamstring since Aug. 26. He missed the Cardinals' final two preseason games, and was a no-show on the practice field early in the week. KenWhisenhunt did say, "I know it's going to be tough to keep Anquan out of this game." Don't count on Boldin being 100 percent on Sunday.

Matt Schaub: Probable

Schaub moved forward in his recovery from a sprained ankle, which he suffered during the Texans' third preseason game, and the prognosis looks good for this weekend.

Kevin Walter: Questionable

Walter hasn't practiced since injuring his hamstring in late August, and if he's still unable to play Sunday, the mildly intriguing Andre Davis will run with the first team. If you'll remember in 2007, Davis filled in for an injured Johnson during a seven-game stretch, and put up 441 yards on 23 catches to go along with three touchdowns. If you were planning on slotting Walter into your WR3/Flex spot, you'd get no bad-mouthing from me if you made a last-minute decision to toss his replacement into the fray instead.

Matt Cassel: Questionable

Cassell has had a rough post-Patriots run, which has included a knee injury that rendered him inactive for 10 days. The good news is he participated in practice this week -- though on a limited basis -- and coach Todd Haley remains cautiously optimistic that he'll be ready for his debut. The bad news? His Chiefs play the Ravens this week.

Pierre Thomas: Questionable

As if a sprained MCL wasn't enough to worry about, it was revealed this week that Thomas suffered a laceration on his injured knee that required six stitches. As Thomas' starting the season in uniform looks to be in serious jeopardy, Mike Bell is becoming the obvious add (and start) if the "Unlucky Pierre" is unable to suit up in the extremely favorable matchup against the Lions.

Kyle Orton: Questionable

Although stitches still remain in Orton's finger from when his knuckle popped out of the skin, it appears the former Bear is set to play in the opener at Cincinnati. He was a full participant in practice on Wednesday, and looked good throwing "accurate short passes" and "handing off with his right hand." Still, with limited time practicing with his receivers, and even less time being a competent fantasy QB, I'd be cautious in playing him.

Bernard Berrian: Questionable

Berrian missed most of the preseason with a pulled hamstring and has yet to catch even a semi-meaningful pass from Brett Favre. He was limited at Wednesday's practice and admitted that his timing with Favre could be an issue. When asked if pairing the two together might result in a career season for the speedy wideout, he responded by saying "It could, but it could also backfire."

Alrighty then. So maybe they're not exactly the match made in heaven that Viking owners were hoping for, but his services should still be available when the Vikings take the field against the Browns this weekend. I'd play it cautiously here and keep him off the field until he and Favre can work out their issues.

Jonathan Stewart: Probable

Stewart first began experiencing discomfort in his Achilles late last season, and he sat out all of Carolina's offseason workouts. He finally returned to action on Wednesday for practice and is now being listed as probable for the Panthers opener against Philadelphia.

There may be some owners taking this as a sign Stewart will automatically regain his 40-percent share of RB touches, which doesn't seem realistic for a guy who's participated in a merely nine practices over the last nine months. And DeAngelo Williams has made a case to receive at least 75 percent of Jake Delhomme's handoffs.

Marc Bulger: Probable

Bulger suffered a small fracture in the pinkie finger of his throwing hand in a freak center exchange accident with the newly signed Jason Brown three weeks ago. Details weren't released on the exact cause of the injury.

There's still pain in the pinkie, but Bulger's been throwing on the side and taking snaps out of the shotgun in preparation for the opener in Seattle. He still hasn't built up the nerve to get up close and personal with his new snapper, but all signs point to Bulger being on the field come Sunday.

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