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Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Updated: September 4, 5:24 PM ET
Week 17 inactives

By Tristan H. Cockcroft
ESPN.com

Welcome to Week 17 of the 2012 NFL season. Here we'll be posting "live" updates and analysis as NFL teams release their inactive lists. Refresh often for the latest information!

For a complete list of Week 17 NFL inactives, click here.

Ruled out before Sunday: WR Davone Bess (back), RB Delone Carter (ankle), TE Scott Chandler (knee), WR Early Doucet (concussion), TE Dustin Keller (ankle), LB Colin McCarthy (concussion), QB Colt McCoy (right shoulder), S William Moore (hamstring), K Mike Nugent (right calf), QB Carson Palmer (ribs), DT Jay Ratliff (groin), RB Trent Richardson (ankle), RB James Starks (knee), RB Pierre Thomas (knee, IR), WR Mike Wallace (hip, IR), QB Brandon Weeden (right shoulder), S Charles Woodson (collarbone).

Top players we're watching

Early games (1 p.m. ET)

WR Donnie Avery (shoulder, questionable): active WR Anquan Boldin (shoulder, questionable): inactive RB Matt Forte (ankle, probable): active RB Chris Johnson (ankle, questionable): active QB Greg McElroy (abdomen, doubtful): inactive WR Hakeem Nicks (knee, questionable): active RB Montell Owens (knee): inactive TE Brandon Pettigrew (ankle, doubtful): active RB Jonathan Stewart (ankle, questionable): inactive WR Roddy White (knee, questionable): active WR Kendall Wright (rib, questionable): active

Late games (4:25 p.m. ET)

WR Randall Cobb (ankle, questionable): inactive TE Vernon Davis (concussion, questionable): active TE Rob Gronkowski (forearm, questionable): active TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle, questionable): active WR Brandon Lloyd (knee, questionable): active WR Dexter McCluster (illness, questionable): active TE Tony Moeaki (head, questionable): active WR Wes Welker (ankle, questionable): active

Updates/analysis (most recent first)

DeMarco Murray active (7:05 p.m. ET): ESPN 980 AM in Washington, D.C. reports that RB DeMarco Murray (foot, probable) is active for the Dallas Cowboys. Murray practiced fully this week, but the Cowboys might take some of the focus off him considering the matchup against a Redskins defense stronger against the run than the pass. He's healthy enough to slot in as an RB2, but we ranked him 16th among running backs accounting for the matchup.

Dez Bryant active (7:05 p.m. ET): ESPN 980 AM in Washington, D.C. reports that WR Dez Bryant (finger, probable) is active for the Dallas Cowboys. Bryant practiced fully this week, and it's all hands on deck for the Cowboys in a must-win game besides. He's going up against a Redskins team that afforded him 24 fantasy points in Week 12, so it's understandable that we'd rank him our No. 3 wide receiver for Week 17.

Robert Griffin III active (7:05 p.m. ET): ESPN 980 AM in Washington, D.C. reports that QB Robert Griffin III (knee, probable) is active for the Washington Redskins. Griffin's knee might not be fully 100 percent yet, as his two-carry, 13-fantasy-point Week 16 hinted, but he's only getting closer and he did put in a full week of practice. This is a must-win game for the Redskins, so he'll be plenty motivated. Griffin is our No. 5 quarterback for Week 17.

Steven Jackson active (3:09 p.m. ET): The St. Louis Rams' official Twitter feed reports that RB Steven Jackson (foot, probable) is active. Will this be Jackson's final game for the Rams? Time will tell, but his matchup is a mediocre one at best. He's our No. 22 running back for Week 17.

Alex Green active (3:08 p.m. ET): The Green Bay Packers' official Twitter feed reports that RB Alex Green (concussion, probable) is active. He'll return to cut into Ryan Grant's workload, but after Grant's explosive Week 16 Green shouldn't be expected to be the team's leader in carries. We rank Green 38th for Week 17, putting him beneath the flex-play class.

Ronnie Brown active (3:07 p.m. ET): The San Diego Chargers' official Twitter feed reports that RB Ronnie Brown (hamstring, questionable) is active. Brown will remain involved in the Chargers' running back-by-committee, and his active status detracts slightly from Jackie Battle's favorable matchup against the Raiders. Battle is our No. 26 running back for Week 17, Brown is 46th.

Justin Smith inactive (3:05 p.m. ET): The San Francisco 49ers' official Twitter feed reports that DT Justin Smith (elbow, doubtful) is inactive. He's sitting for the second consecutive week, a strategy that makes sense considering Smith is critical to the 49ers' hopes during the postseason. We'd say his absence was a plus for the Cardinals' offense, but you shouldn't want Bryan Hoyer or his receivers in the fantasy playoffs anyway. All it does is leave Smith's IDP owners scrambling for a fill-in.

Vernon Davis active (3:05 p.m. ET): The San Francisco 49ers' official Twitter feed reports that TE Vernon Davis (concussion, questionable) is active. Davis could be limited in snap count this week as there were rumblings he might sit, so expect to see more of Delanie Walker, his backup, this week. Davis' active status, however, clouds the target breakdown between these two tight ends, making neither a premium starter for our purposes.

Adrian Peterson active (3:02 p.m. ET): The Minnesota Vikings' official Twitter feed reports that RB Adrian Peterson (abdomen, probable) is active. Peterson has the rushing record within his sights, so there was no reason to worry that he might sit. Highly motivated -- the Vikings are also fighting for their playoff lives -- Peterson will be the focal point of the Vikings offense and understandably is our No. 1 running back for Week 17.

Tony Moeaki active (3:00 p.m. ET): The Kansas City Chiefs' official Twitter feed reports that TE Tony Moeaki (head, questionable) is active. He was a limited practice participant on Friday after missing the better part of two weeks, so Moeaki might be on some sort of snap count today. He's a weak fantasy option facing the Broncos' solid D.

Dexter McCluster active (3:00 p.m. ET): The Kansas City Chiefs' official Twitter feed reports that WR Dexter McCluster (illness, questionable) is active. McCluster's illness was a bit of a worry, but he's about the only worthwhile piece they have in the passing game. He's still hail-mary fantasy material, however, considering he has a poor matchup against the Broncos.

Randall Cobb inactive (2:58 p.m. ET): The Green Bay Packers' official Twitter feed reports that WR Randall Cobb (ankle, questionable) is inactive. It's a big loss for fantasy owners, but on the bright side, it leads to a little more clairity among the Packers' wide receivers, with Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings and James Jones now splitting the bulk of the targets three ways instead of four. With the No. 2 seed and with it a first-round bye on the line for the Packers, all three wide receivers should be motivated and therefore worthy fantasy options. We ranked them 29th, 28th and 15th respectively.

Wes Welker active (2:57 p.m. ET): The New England Patriots' official Twitter feed reports that WR Wes Welker (ankle, questionable) is active. Predictably. Welker has played despite questionable tags for the majority of the season, his fantasy production never suffering. He's our No. 8 wide receiver for Week 17, as he faces his former team.

Rob Gronkowski active (2:57 p.m. ET): The New England Patriots' official Twitter feed reports that TE Rob Gronkowski (forearm, questionable) is active. Gronkowski got in a week's worth of limited practices, and this is an important game for the Patriots to win, because it could earn them a first-round bye (if they get some help), which increased his prospects of playing. You can be sure Bill Belichick will have his eye on the Texans score, however, and if the Texans do win, locking the Patriots into the three seed, Gronkowski's day might be short. There's no greater boom/bust play in fantasy in Week 17, but considering the state of the tight end position right now, he needs to be in your lineups.

Brandon Lloyd active (2:57 p.m. ET): The New England Patriots' official Twitter feed reports that WR Brandon Lloyd (knee, questionable) is active. Like Wes Welker, Lloyd has been listed as questionable for weeks, yet continues to play through his injuries. That the Patriots had 20 players listed as questionable shows how silly that designation for this team. Start Lloyd with confidence, considering his recent hot spell. He's our No. 25 wide receiver for Week 17.

Aaron Hernandez active (2:57 p.m. ET): The New England Patriots' official Twitter feed reports that TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle, questionable) is active. Hernandez has 42 fantasy points the past four weeks combined, and with Rob Gronkowski only just now returning from a forearm injury, Hernandez for sure will be asked to take on the greater burden of the two. He is our No. 3 tight end for the week.

Knowshon Moreno active (2:56 p.m. ET): The Denver Broncos' official Twitter feed reports that RB Knowshon Moreno (ribs, probable) is active. The Broncos are playing for the No. 1 seed, so unsurprisingly, they're not resting anyone via their inactives list. Moreno matches up nicely against the Chiefs in the regular-season finale, and he's our No. 9 running back for the week.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis suffered injury, will not play (1:05 p.m. ET): The Cincinnati Bengals' official Twitter feed reports that RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (illness, probable) will not play in Week 17 due to a hamstring injury he suffered during pregame warmups.

Calvin Johnson active (12:31 p.m. ET): The Detroit Lions' official Twitter feed reports that WR Calvin Johnson (knee, probable) is active. There was never a doubt that Johnson would play. He has the 2,000-yard receiving plateau within his sights, and he'll make every effort to get there. He's our No. 1 wide receiver for the week; why would you doubt it?

Jeremy Maclin active (12:30 p.m. ET): The Philadelphia Eagles' official Twitter feed reports that WR Jeremy Maclin (knee, probable) is active. Maclin matches up nicely against the Giants' reeling pass defense, and he's our No. 20 wide receiver for Week 17.

Arian Foster active (12:29 p.m. ET): The Houston Texans' official Twitter feed reports that RB Arian Foster (arrhythmia, probable) is active. Will Foster get any rest this week? Perhaps, but it might only come if the game reaches garbage time. He's our No. 3 running back for the week, as the Texans have the motivation of a first-round bye that should keep their star back heavily involved.

Owen Daniels active (12:28 p.m. ET): The Houston Texans' official Twitter feed reports that TE Owen Daniels (hamstring, probable) is active. This is an important game for the Texans, who need to lock up a first-round bye with a win, so Daniels will probably play through his injury at least until this contest is decided. We ranked him our No. 8 tight end for Week 17.

Braylon Edwards active (12:26 p.m. ET): The New York Jets' official Twitter feed reports that WR Braylon Edwards (hamstring, questionable) is active. He's not a recommended fantasy option, not with the Jets' passing game a mess.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis active (12:22 p.m. ET): The Cincinnati Bengals' official Twitter feed reports that RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (illness, probable) is active. While it is unclear to what extent the Bengals will keep their regulars in this game -- they've already wrapped up a wild-card spot but nothing better -- coach Marvin Lewis has said that he plans to play this one out, which is a plus for Green-Ellis going up against a Ravens team playing its "B" defense. We ranked Green-Ellis 20th among running backs but that might be conservative; I'd now call him a high-end RB2, albeit one who might sit some of the second half of the contest.

Bernard Pollard inactive (12:19 p.m. ET): The Baltimore Ravens' official Twitter feed reports that S Bernard Pollard (chest, probable) is inactive. The Ravens tweeted that, with at worst the No. 4 seed in the AFC wrapped up, the team has decided to rest some of its key veterans this week. Pollard, along with four other key defensive players, are sitting, more for rest than due to their injuries. We'd say bump up Bengals offensive players accordingly, except that the Bengals, too, have no playoff motivation in this game. It could be a preseason-like contest on both sides of the ball.

Haloti Ngata inactive (12:19 p.m. ET): The Baltimore Ravens' official Twitter feed reports that DT Haloti Ngata (knee, questionable) is inactive.

Ray Lewis inactive (12:19 p.m. ET): The Baltimore Ravens' official Twitter feed reports that LB Ray Lewis (other, probable) is inactive.

Terrell Suggs inactive (12:19 p.m. ET): The Baltimore Ravens' official Twitter feed reports that LB Terrell Suggs (biceps, probable) is inactive.

Jacoby Jones to start (12:15 p.m. ET): The Baltimore Ravens' official Twitter feed reports that WR Jacoby Jones is expected to start with Anquan Boldin inactive. Fantasy owners in leagues that reward for return yardage might want to take a look at Jones, who could garner a few additional targets this week as the Ravens rest their key starters.

Ahmad Bradshaw active (12:12 p.m. ET): Pat Hanlon of the New York Giants reports that RB Ahmad Bradshaw (knee, probable) is active for the New York Giants. Bradshaw played the entire Week 16 contest and put in back-to-back practices, albeit limited, both Thursday and Friday. He's fine to go in a must-win game for the Giants, and he should handle any potential goal-line chores. He's our No. 18 running back for Week 17.

Donnie Avery active (12:09 p.m. ET): The Indianapolis Colts' official Twitter feed reports that WR Donnie Avery (shoulder, questionable) is active. Apparently, Avery's injury setback on Thursday wasn't a big enough deal that he needed to sit. Still, the Colts might lighten his load accordingly, and our No. 44 ranking of him among wide receivers reflects that.

Keith Toston to start for Jaguars (12:05 p.m. ET): The Jacksonville Jaguars' official Twitter feed now reports that Keith Toston, not Richard Murphy, will start at running back. Ah, the fun of Week 17 guessing. The team also reports that we "will still see a lot of Richard Murphy," meaning this is a straight running back-by-committee situation. It makes it a no-go in fantasy, except in the most desperate circumstances, contrary to my earlier suggestion.

Kendall Wright active (12:05 p.m. ET): The Tennessee Titans' official Twitter feed reports that WR Kendall Wright (rib, questionable) is active. He practiced both Thursday and Friday and should be good to go when the Titans go three-wide. Wright might not see enough targets to be meaningful in ESPN standard leagues, but we ranked him 47th among wide receivers, meaning he might help in deeper leagues.

Greg McElroy inactive (12:01 p.m. ET): The New York Jets' official Twitter feed reports that QB Greg McElroy (abdomen, doubtful) is inactive. Mark Sanchez will start at quarterback once again. Fantasy owners must've learned this by now: You want no part of the Jets' passing game.

Tim Tebow active (12:01 p.m. ET): The New York Jets' official Twitter feed reports that QB Tim Tebow (ribs, probable) is active. Tebow couldn't even garner a start this week with Greg McElroy inactive, which is telling. Don't even count on relief work for Tebow this week, nor him playing for the Jets in 2013.

Mark Sanchez active (12:01 p.m. ET): The New York Jets' official Twitter feed reports that QB Mark Sanchez (back, probable) is active. Sanchez gets the start with Greg McElroy inactive and Tim Tebow apparently in the doghouse. You should be able to do a lot better at quarterback, even for Week 17.

Roddy White active (11:58 a.m. ET): D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that WR Roddy White (knee, questionable) is active for the Atlanta Falcons. Couple this with a report from the Falcons' official Twitter account that the team will begin their game with their starters, and it's possible that we'll see enough of White to perhaps be meaningful in deeper fantasy leagues. As he was questionable, the best-case scenario probably has him playing as much as a half, but he could exit after a mere series for all we know. He was our No. 23 wide receiver for the week; I'd take a more conservative approach than that.

Matt Forte active (11:55 a.m. ET): Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com reports that RB Matt Forte (ankle, probable) is active for the Chicago Bears. That this is a must-win game for the Bears is a plus for Forte, who was only a limited practice participant on Friday. Don't expect him to be at peak form, but he should contribute enough to be a low-end RB2. He's our No. 17 running back for Week 17.

Chris Johnson active (11:52 a.m. ET): The Tennessee Titans' official Twitter feed reports that RB Chris Johnson (ankle, questionable) is active. Johnson was only a limited practice participant on Friday after missing each of the previous two sessions, but there was never any serious doubt that he'd play. He might be somewhat less than peak form playing behind an injury-riddled offensive line, but the matchup against the Jaguars is favorable enough to offset that somewhat. We rank Johnson our No. 13 running back for the final week.

Jonathan Stewart inactive (11:47 a.m. ET): The Carolina Panthers' official Twitter feed reports that RB Jonathan Stewart (ankle, questionable) is inactive. Stewart evidently suffered a setback during the week and sat out Friday's practice. DeAngelo Williams will start in his place in Week 17.

DeAngelo Williams active (11:47 a.m. ET): The Carolina Panthers' official Twitter feed reports that RB DeAngelo Williams (not injury related, probable) is active. Williams gets the start at running back with Jonathan Stewart inactive, though Williams has flopped on multiple occasions this season when presented with this scenario. We ranked Williams our No. 27 running back for Week 17, underscoring that he's a weak flex option at best.

Montell Owens inactive (11:43 a.m. ET): The Jacksonville Jaguars' official Twitter feed reports that RB Montell Owens is inactive. This one's surprising, as Owens wasn't listed on the injury report at all. With Owens sidelined, Richard Murphy will start at running back, putting him the desperation-flex class in fantasy leagues. Take a look to see whether Murphy remains available in your league if you need a fill-in.

Anquan Boldin inactive (11:40 a.m. ET): The Baltimore Ravens' official Twitter feed reports that WR Anquan Boldin (shoulder, questionable) is inactive. No shock here; he was limited in Friday's practice, was listed as questionable and his Ravens have little motivation this week, beyond potentially moving up from the No. 4 to 3 seed in the AFC. Boldin's absence hardly makes Torrey Smith a better fantasy option, because Smith himself might sit after only a few series. The smart play is to avoid all your usual Ravens skills players, because they'll be treating this one like a preseason game.

Ray Rice active (11:40 a.m. ET): The Baltimore Ravens' official Twitter feed reports that RB Ray Rice is active. Official word that Rice is active, but again, Adam Schefter reports it will be for only a series or two. The smart move is to bench Rice in all leagues.

Hakeem Nicks active (11:36 a.m. ET): Pat Hanlon of the New York Giants reports that WR Hakeem Nicks (knee, questionable) is active for the New York Giants. Nicks did practice on Friday, and he'll be facing a poor-performing Eagles defense in the regular-season finale. Still, his fantasy production has suffered as a result of injuries lately, and he can't be trusted as more than a WR3. He's our No. 38 wide receiver for Week 17.

Ray Rice now will play (11:33 a.m. ET): ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that RB Ray Rice is expected to play for the Baltimore Ravens. The rationale, apparently, is so that Rice can extend a consecutive games started streak, but Schefter reports that Rice will play "a series or two." Expect a lot of Bernard Pierce in relief this week, making Pierce a viable top-20/RB2 option.

Ray Rice not expected to play (9:54 a.m. ET): ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that RB Ray Rice is not expected to play for the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17, as the team has already clinched the AFC North title, and with it, either the third or fourth seed in the conference. This is big news for fantasy owners, who stand to lose the No. 5 scoring running back and our No. 7 ranked player at the position. It is also ominous news for all Ravens skills players, including Joe Flacco, Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith, and remember, Boldin is listed as questionable for Week 17. It's unclear whether Bernard Pierce would be a full-time back in Rice's stead, but it's a good guess that he might be.