Commentary

Week 15 inactives

Updated: December 16, 2012, 7:00 PM ET
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN.com

Welcome to Week 15 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 full list of NFL inactives, click here.

Ruled out before Sunday: CB Prince Amukamara (hamstring), WR Earl Bennett (concussion), WR Davone Bess (back), WR Dwayne Bowe (ribs, IR), RB Ahmad Bradshaw (knee), RB Delone Carter (ankle), RB Chris Ivory (hamstring), RB Fred Jackson (knee), RB Rashad Jennings (concussion), CB Tim Jennings (shoulder), RB Maurice Jones-Drew (foot), WR Mario Manningham (shoulder), WR Jordy Nelson (hamstring), DT Jay Ratliff (groin), RB James Starks (knee), RB Jonathan Stewart (ankle), CB Ike Taylor (ankle), RB Jordan Todman (calf), LB Brian Urlacher (hamstring), S Charles Woodson (collarbone).

Top players we're watching

Early games (1 p.m. ET)

RB Michael Bush (ribs, questionable): active
QB Robert Griffin III (knee, questionable): inactive
WR Roddy White (knee, questionable): active

Late games (4:05-4:25 p.m. ET)

WR Dez Bryant (finger, questionable): active
TE Rob Housler (knee, questionable): active
WR Brandon LaFell (toe, questionable): active
TE Brandon Pettigrew (ankle, doubtful): inactive

Night game (8:20 p.m. ET)

TE Rob Gronkowski (forearm, questionable): inactive
TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle, questionable): active
WR Brandon Lloyd (knee, questionable): active
WR Wes Welker (ankle, questionable): active

Updates/analysis (most recent first)

Aaron Hernandez active (6:59 p.m. ET): The New England Patriots' official Twitter feed reports that TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle, questionable) is active. With Rob Gronkowski sidelined for yet another week, Hernandez should see a full slate of targets. He has eight catches in each of the past two weeks, 26 fantasy points combined in those contests and checks in as our No. 2 tight end for Week 15.

Wes Welker active (6:59 p.m. ET): The New England Patriots' official Twitter feed reports that WR Wes Welker (ankle, questionable) is active. Welker has had questionable tags for weeks but always ends up playing, so his owners should've only been worried about the matchup, not his health. Though he might have a more ordinary fantasy day facing the 49ers, he'll still be a safety-valve type player for Tom Brady, likely filling the target/reception columns. On volume alone, he's worth a start, and we rank him ninth among wide receivers.

Rob Gronkowski inactive (6:59 p.m. ET): The New England Patriots' official Twitter feed reports that TE Rob Gronkowski (forearm, questionable) is inactive. The Patriots listed 18 -- eighteen! -- players as questionable for the week, but Gronkowski was one of the only ones who was truly questionable. He was a long shot to play this week despite practicing Friday for the first time since suffering a broken forearm, but at least this offers hope he might be back for Week 16 fantasy championship matchups.

Brandon Lloyd active (6:59 p.m. ET): The New England Patriots' official Twitter feed reports that WR Brandon Lloyd (knee, questionable) is active. Lloyd had his best fantasy game of 2012 in Week 14, but before you race to reinsert him into your lineup, keep in mind that he had 11 fantasy points the previous four games combined, had seen his role shrink in the offense and now he's facing a defense fairly likely to contain him. We rank Lloyd only 35th among wide receivers this week.

Chandler Jones active (6:59 p.m. ET): The New England Patriots' official Twitter feed reports that DE Chandler Jones (ankle, questionable) is active. Jim McCormick ranks Jones his No. 15 defensive lineman for Week 15.

DeMarcus Ware active (3:09 p.m. ET): Bryan Broaddus of the Dallas Cowboys reports that LB DeMarcus Ware (elbow, questionable) is active for the Dallas Cowboys. Ware is Jim McCormick's No. 19 linebacker for the week.

Dez Bryant active (3:09 p.m. ET): Bryan Broaddus of the Dallas Cowboys reports that WR Dez Bryant (finger, questionable) is active for the Dallas Cowboys. Bryant's broken finger has been a topic of discussion all week, and his fantasy owners surely know that he is attempting to play through the injury while putting off surgery. His active status makes him a near must-start, as he has double-digit fantasy points in five consecutive games and he's one of the most explosive receivers in the game when at his best. But understand that using Bryant means risking the chance of him leaving early due to setback. As such, we ranked him merely 18th for Week 15.

Ronnie Brown inactive (3:01 p.m. ET): The San Diego Chargers' official Twitter feed reports that RB Ronnie Brown (hamstring, doubtful) is inactive. With Brown sidelined, Ryan Mathews has the backfield pretty much entirely to himself, going up against a Panthers defense that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Mathews is our No. 21 running back for Week 15, but this news might vault him into the clear RB2 class.

Darren McFadden active (2:58 p.m. ET): The Oakland Raiders' official Twitter feed reports that RB Darren McFadden (ankle, probable) is active. After aggravating his ankle injury in Week 14, McFadden appears ready to go for this critical week, facing a Chiefs defense against whom he has averaged a surprisingly low 80.0 total yards with 3 total touchdowns in seven career games. The matchup is favorable on paper, but keep in mind that history as well as McFadden's propensity for injury. It's why we rank him only 18th among running backs for the week.

Sidney Rice active (2:53 p.m. ET): The Seattle Seahawks' official Twitter feed reports that WR Sidney Rice (foot, probable) is active. Rice practiced fully on Friday, which is encouragement enough to get him into most fantasy lineups. Going up against a Bills defense that has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, Rice is our No. 30 option for Week 15.

Donald Jones inactive (2:51 p.m. ET): The Buffalo Bills' official Twitter feed reports that WR Donald Jones (calf, questionable) is inactive. With Jones sidelined, T.J. Graham should earn another start this week. Neither receiver is a recommended fantasy option at this critical stage of the season, however.

Calais Campbell active (2:47 p.m. ET): Darren Urban of the Arizona Cardinals reports that DE Calais Campbell (calf, questionable) is active for the Arizona Cardinals. Campbell returned to the lineup in Week 14 and amassed five tackles, falling somewhat short statistically of his usual impact in IDP leagues. Nevertheless, he remains a strong lower-end option in the format; Jim McCormick ranks him 17th among defensive linemen for Week 15.

Nick Fairley inactive (2:46 p.m. ET): Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports that DT Nick Fairley (shoulder, doubtful) is inactive for the Detroit Lions. Fairley wasn't expected to play this week, but he was in the midst of a nice little run in IDP leagues, including 19 tackles and four sacks in his past five games.

Brandon Pettigrew inactive (2:42 p.m. ET): Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports that TE Brandon Pettigrew (ankle, doubtful) is inactive for the Detroit Lions. This wasn't remotely unexpected considering Pettigrew's doubtful tag, and we're hoping that fantasy owners made alternate arrangements in advance. Tony Scheffler, owned in only 1.1 percent of ESPN leagues, our No. 18 tight end for the week and a player sure to benefit in Pettigrew's absence, is one such consideration.

Rob Housler active (2:39 p.m. ET): Darren Urban of the Arizona Cardinals reports that TE Rob Housler (knee, questionable) is active for the Arizona Cardinals. With Todd Heap no longer around, Housler has had the tight end targets in Arizona almost entirely to himself. Still, the tight end isn't the primary read in the Cardinals' pass attack, and the Cardinals offense as a whole has been a mess of late. We rank Housler our No. 23 option for Week 15.

Brandon LaFell active (2:37 p.m. ET): The Carolina Panthers' official Twitter feed reports that WR Brandon LaFell (toe, questionable) is active. LaFell, who practiced in limited fashion on Friday, has 26 targets the past six weeks combined, though he missed the Weeks 9 (concussion) and 14 (toe) games due to injury, so that's actually a 6.5-per-game average for him. We didn't rank him, as his health was too uncertain to do so, but if you're in a pinch and see him out htere, he might warrant WR4/5 consideration in deep formats going up against the struggling Chargers.

Dannell Ellerbe inactive (12:22 p.m. ET): The Baltimore Ravens' official Twitter feed reports that LB Dannell Ellerbe (ankle, questionable) is inactive. Ellerbe was having a solid season in IDP formats before suffering an ankle injury that has caused him to be inactive for three consecutive weeks. His absence is yet another reason the Ravens' defense is in rough shape for Week 15.

Terrell Suggs active (12:19 p.m. ET): The Baltimore Ravens' official Twitter feed reports that LB Terrell Suggs (biceps, questionable) is active. It's unclear how healthy he is, and we've taken a conservative approach with him in IDP formats; he's not in Jim McCormick's top 30 linebackers for Week 15. Suggs' reputation might be strong, but he has averaged 2.5 tackles per game with two total sacks this season, so-so numbers in fantasy.

Antoine Winfield active (12:17 p.m. ET): The Minnesota Vikings' official Twitter feed reports that CB Antoine Winfield (knee, questionable) is active. It's good news for IDP owners, as Winfield has 10 passes defensed, three interceptions and 93 tackles this season. He's Jim McCormick's No. 10 defensive back for Week 15.

It's official: David Wilson to start (12:01 p.m. ET): Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News confirms that RB David Wilson will start for the New York Giants, what with Ahmad Bradshaw (knee) sidelined. Wilson should get a healthy number of carries against a Falcons run defense in the midst of an awful cold spell, and he's a high-upside playoff-week play whom we rank 13th at his position for Week 15.

Bernard Pollard inactive (12:00 p.m. ET): The Baltimore Ravens' official Twitter feed reports that S Bernard Pollard (chest, questionable) is inactive. Pollard's is a major loss, both to the Ravens' defense and fantasy owners in IDP leagues. After all, he had 98 tackles, 25th in the league, and to this point had played every game. Expect Peyton Manning and the Broncos to experience more success with the Ravens' D banged up.

William Moore inactive (11:56 a.m. ET): The Atlanta Falcons' official Twitter feed reports that S William Moore (hamstring, questionable) is inactive. Moore's absence is a hit to the Falcons' pass defense, and it should mean larger numbers for members of the Giants' passing game. Expect a fairly high-scoring affair in Atlanta in Week 15.

Adrian Peterson active (11:54 a.m. ET): The Minnesota Vikings' official Twitter feed reports that RB Adrian Peterson (abdomen, probable) is active. He wouldn't be of any concern if not for a missed Thursday practice and limited Friday session, and we're here to say: Even that is of no concern in fantasy leagues. Peterson is our No. 1 running back for Week 15 and one of the most explosive talents in the game.

Clay Matthews active (11:52 a.m. ET): The Green Bay Packers' official Twitter feed reports that LB Clay Matthews (hamstring, probable) is active. Though Matthews tallied seven tackled, 3 1/2 sacks and a pass defenses against the Bears in Week 2, all of those representing season highs, don't expect a repeat in Week 15 considering he might be playing limited snaps. He's not among Jim McCormick's top 30 linebackers accounting for the health risk, so keep it in mind in IDP formats.

Michael Bush active (11:49 a.m. ET): The Chicago Bears' official Twitter feed reports that RB Michael Bush (ribs, questionable) is active. Bush had only one carry in Week 14 due to his injury limitations, so don't expect any miracles after his questionable listing this week. We ranked him our No. 41 running back because of his penchant for goal-line scores, but that might be a one-shot, unpredictable bet. It's not the way you should strategize during the fantasy playoffs, if you can help it.

Wesley Woodyard active (11:45 a.m. ET): The Denver Broncos' official Twitter feed reports that LB Wesley Woodyard (ankle, questionable) is active. After a one-game absence, Woodyard returns for his IDP owners, a huge plus considering how productive he has been in the format this season. He is Jim McCormick's No. 13 linebacker for Week 15.

James Laurinaitis active (11:43 a.m. ET): The St. Louis Rams' official Twitter feed reports that LB James Laurinaitis (back, probable) is active. He missed a few practices midweek but put in a full session on Friday, so his IDP owners can now exhale. Laurinaitis is Jim McCormick's No. 2 linebacker for Week 15.

Danny Amendola active (11:41 a.m. ET): The St. Louis Rams' official Twitter feed reports that WR Danny Amendola (foot, probable) is active. Amendola practiced fully on Friday, which strengthens his fantasy appeal after severe limitations due to the injury in the past several weeks. He's usually the Rams' most targeted receiver, and as he's active, expect him to reclaim that honor. We ranked him 32nd among wide receivers for Week 15, but he's a strong WR3 -- think several spots higher -- in PPR formats. Downgrade Chris Givens and Brandon Gibson accordingly.

London Fletcher active (11:36 a.m. ET): The Washington Redskins' official Twitter feed reports that LB London Fletcher (ankle, questionable) is active. His actives-game streak -- it'll be 238 counting today -- continues, and Fletcher is an automatic in IDP leagues whenever he's healthy. He's Jim McCormick's No. 9 linebacker for Week 15.

Pierre Garcon active (11:34 a.m. ET): The Washington Redskins' official Twitter feed reports that WR Pierre Garcon (foot, probable) is active. While Robert Griffin III's inactive status has an adverse impact on Garcon's fantasy appeal, we still anticipate him being fill-in Kirk Cousins' preferred deep threat. We ranked Garcon our No. 20 wide receiver for the week.

Harry Douglas active (11:32 a.m. ET): The Atlanta Falcons' official Twitter feed reports that WR Harry Douglas (ribs, questionable) is active. While it's possible that Roddy White might need to sit out a handful of snaps accounting for his knee injury, meaning possibly additional work for Douglas, White's active status for Week 15 eliminates Douglas as an emergency plug-in fantasy option.

Robert Griffin III inactive (11:31 a.m. ET): ESPN Radio 980 AM in Washington D.C. reports that QB Robert Griffin III (knee, questionable) is inactive for the Washington Redskins. This confirms Adam Schefter's earlier reports. Scroll down for further details.

Cecil Shorts active (11:30 a.m. ET): Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union reports that WR Cecil Shorts (concussion, probable) is active for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Shorts practiced fully on Friday and was listed as probable, so his owners shouldn't have been concerned about his injury-report listing. He's good to go against a Dolphins team that is middling at best against opposing wide receivers. We ranked him our No. 22 option.

Roddy White active (11:29 a.m. ET): ESPN's Rachel Nichols reports that WR Roddy White (knee, questionable) is active for the Atlanta Falcons. White missed every practice this week and was a legitimate game-time decision, but he's apparently in good enough shape to extend what will now be a streak of 126 consecutive games played in his eight-year NFL career. Going up against a Giants defense allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, albeit 58 fantasy points combined the past three weeks, White should remain a solid WR2 at worst. We ranked him sixth; the only way his owners can rationally sit him is if they have ridiculous depth at the position.

Jason Pierre-Paul active (11:27 a.m. ET): Pat Hanlon of the New York Giants reports that DE Jason Pierre-Paul (back, probable) is active for the New York Giants. Despite his injury limitations, Pierre-Paul managed six tackles in Week 14, re-establishing himself as a viable weekly IDP play. He's Jim McCormick's No. 6 defensive lineman for Week 15.

Hakeem Nicks active (11:26 a.m. ET): Pat Hanlon of the New York Giants reports that WR Hakeem Nicks (knee, probable) is active for the New York Giants. Nicks practiced in limited fashion on both Thursday and Friday, but he is apparently healthy enough to play, as he told ESPNNewYork.com during the weekend. Nicks has 29 fantasy points combined the past three weeks and he's facing a Falcons team that has afforded 54 points combined to opposing wide receivers during that span, supporting his candidacy as our No. 17 option for Week 15.

Robert Griffin III will be inactive (11:09 a.m. ET): ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that QB Robert Griffin III (knee, questionable) will be inactive for the Washington Redskins. Following up on Schefter's earlier report, Griffin now reportedly will be inactive for Week 15, meaning that Rex Grossman will be the backup to starter Kirk Cousins.

Robert Griffin III will not start (9:18 a.m. ET): ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that QB Robert Griffin III (knee, questionable) will not start for the Washington Redskins in Week 15. According to Schefter, "Redskins players were informed [on Saturday] Kirk Cousins will start at Cleveland, according to text from person in room." With Griffin out, fantasy owners in playoff races are sent scrambling at quarterback, though we hope you made a prior contingency plan knowing his status earlier in the week. Russell Wilson, our No. 17 quarterback for Week 15, is one option. As for Cousins, though a Browns matchup does put him in the desperation-consideration category, we didn't rank him and see stronger available alternatives.