Commentary

Week 16 inactives

Updated: December 23, 2012, 7:14 PM ET
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN.com

Welcome to Week 16 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: WR Davone Bess (back), K Dan Carpenter (right groin), RB Delone Carter (ankle), TE Tom Crabtree (hamstring), WR Early Doucet (concussion), TE Rob Gronkowski (forearm), RB Rashad Jennings (concussion), RB Maurice Jones-Drew (foot), WR Mohamed Massaquoi (knee), WR Jordy Nelson (hamstring), DT Jay Ratliff (groin), RB James Starks (knee), CB Ike Taylor (ankle), LB Brian Urlacher (hamstring), S Charles Woodson (collarbone).

Top players we're watching

Early games (1 p.m. ET)

WR Dez Bryant (finger, probable): active
RB Alex Green (concussion, questionable): inactive
QB Robert Griffin III (knee, probable): active
WR Brian Hartline (back, questionable): active
TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle, questionable): active
TE Dustin Keller (ankle, doubtful): inactive
WR Brandon Lloyd (knee, questionable): active
RB DeMarco Murray (foot, probable): active
K Mike Nugent (right calf, questionable): inactive
RB Jonathan Stewart (ankle, questionable): inactive
WR Wes Welker (ankle, questionable): active
WR Kendall Wright (rib, questionable): inactive

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

RB Ahmad Bradshaw (knee, questionable): active
TE Rob Housler (knee, questionable): active
WR Torrey Smith (head, questionable): active

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

WR Sidney Rice (knee, questionable): active

Updates/analysis (most recent first)

Richard Sherman active (7:14 p.m. ET): Mike Sando of ESPN's NFC West blog reports that CB Richard Sherman (not injury related, probable) is active for the Seattle Seahawks. Sherman had his appeal of a four-game suspension heard on Friday, but if it's upheld, apparently it won't begin until at least Week 17. It's good news for the Seahawks, who will be without Marcus Trufant.

Marcus Trufant inactive (7:14 p.m. ET): Mike Sando of ESPN's NFC West blog reports that CB Marcus Trufant (hamstring, questionable) is inactive for the Seattle Seahawks.

Mario Manningham active (7:12 p.m. ET): The San Francisco 49ers' official Twitter feed reports that WR Mario Manningham (shoulder, questionable) is active. Manningham returns after a two-week absence, but he's not a recommended fantasy option facing the Seahawks. He merely improves Colin Kaepernick's matchup slightly.

Sidney Rice active (7:09 p.m. ET): Mike Sando of ESPN's NFC West blog reports that WR Sidney Rice (knee, questionable) is active for the Seattle Seahawks. Rice was a legitimate game-time decision, and his three-point performance against the 49ers in Week 7 probably had many of his owners looking elsewhere. If you waited this long for him, you've lucked out in that he's active. He's our No. 32 wide receiver for Week 16.

Justin Smith inactive (7:05 p.m. ET): The San Francisco 49ers' official Twitter feed reports that DT Justin Smith (elbow, questionable) is inactive. Consider this a substantial plus for Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, as Smith's presence vastly improved the 49ers' pass pressure. Wilson is our No. 11 quarterback for the week, and there's a chance he'll have another championship-caliber fantasy performance with this boost to his matchup.

Earl Bennett active (3:08 p.m. ET): Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that WR Earl Bennett (concussion, questionable) is active for the Chicago Bears. Apparently Bennett passed his baseline test, but it's unclear whether he'll play a full slate of snaps this week. He shouldn't be in fantasy lineups.

Tim Jennings active (3:06 p.m. ET): Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that CB Tim Jennings (shoulder, questionable) is active for the Chicago Bears. Jennings' return comes at a good time, what with Brian Urlacher and Henry Melton sidelined. The Bears are our No. 1 D/ST for Week 16, primarily due to the matchup (at Cardinals).

Henry Melton inactive (3:06 p.m. ET): Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that DT Henry Melton (chest, doubtful) is inactive for the Chicago Bears. He was limited in practice on Friday, and now one of the better defensive linemen in IDP leagues is sitting, further dragging down the Bears' overall defense. If they weren't facing the Cardinals -- the A-number-one matchup for a D/ST right now -- or were also missing Tim Jennings, we'd be more bothered by the Bears' injuries. This is an attractive enough matchup that the Bears D/ST tops our Week 16 choices.

Rob Housler active (2:58 p.m. ET): Darren Urban of the Arizona Cardinals reports that TE Rob Housler (knee, questionable) is active for the Arizona Cardinals. He had one fantasy point playing through the injury last week, and he's not likely to perform much better this week with Ryan Lindley his quarterback. Housler did not crack our top 25 tight ends for Week 16.

Bernard Pierce active (2:57 p.m. ET): The Baltimore Ravens' official Twitter feed reports that RB Bernard Pierce (head, questionable) is active. It is unclear, however, whether Pierce will see any game action, as the Ravens might lighten his already-minimal workload accounting for the concussion. He's not recommended in fantasy leagues.

Torrey Smith active (2:57 p.m. ET): The Baltimore Ravens' official Twitter feed reports that WR Torrey Smith (head, questionable) is active. And there is your confirmation that Smith has indeed passed his baseline test, because he wouldn't have been cleared to play without it. Smith put in limited practices both Thursday and Friday, leaning our assumptions towards him playing, and he's set to face a mediocre Giants pass defense. He's our No. 22 wide receiver for the week, and a solid WR2 in all formats.

Justin Tuck inactive (2:56 p.m. ET): Pat Hanlon of the New York Giants reports that DE Justin Tuck (shoulder, questionable) is inactive for the New York Giants.

Ahmad Bradshaw active (2:56 p.m. ET): Pat Hanlon of the New York Giants reports that RB Ahmad Bradshaw (knee, questionable) is active for the New York Giants. This confirms Rachel Nichols' earlier report, though it remains unclear how much the Giants will rely upon Bradshaw. He's our No. 24 running back for Week 16.

Trent Richardson active (2:43 p.m. ET): The Cleveland Browns' official Twitter feed reports that RB Trent Richardson (chest/rib/finger, probable) is active. Though Richardson's yards-per-carry production has waned in recent weeks, he does still have six touchdowns in his past four games and 61 fantasy points total during that span. He's as good a touchdown bet as there is at his position and he's our No. 10 running back accordingly.

Knowshon Moreno active (2:39 p.m. ET): The Denver Broncos' official Twitter feed reports that RB Knowshon Moreno (ribs, probable) is active. Since taking over as the Broncos' starting running back, Moreno has totaled 55 fantasy points in four games. He's our No. 13 running back for Week 16.

Ahmad Bradshaw plans to play (12:32 p.m. ET): ESPN's Rachel Nichols reports that RB Ahmad Bradshaw (knee, questionable) is expected to play for the New York Giants. Bradshaw's workload might be closely maintained considering his questionable status, meaning he might be in a battle with David Wilson for the greater number of touches. Still, Bradshaw might get the goal-line work, and he's facing an injury-ravaged Ravens defense, supporting his candidacy for flex-play status. We ranked him our No. 24 running back for Week 16.

LeSean McCoy active (12:19 p.m. ET): The Philadelphia Eagles' official Twitter feed reports that RB LeSean McCoy (concussion, probable) is active. McCoy is expected to start in his return from a concussion, but it's unclear how large his workload will be. We ranked him 20th for the week accounting for this as well as the not-so-favorable matchup against the Redskins.

Ronnie Brown active (12:09 p.m. ET): Ricky Henne of the San Diego Chargers reports that RB Ronnie Brown (hamstring, probable) is active for the San Diego Chargers. With Ryan Mathews (collarbone) out for the season, Brown will be involved in the Chargers' backfield committee, which includes Jackie Battle and Curtis Brinkley. Brown is the least desirable in fantasy; he's our No. 47 running back for Week 16.

Chris Ivory inactive (12:08 p.m. ET): The New Orleans Saints' official Twitter feed reports that RB Chris Ivory (hamstring, questionable) is inactive. With Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas all healthy, the Saints didn't really need Ivory this week, and therefore could afford him the additional game's rest. Ivory isn't worth keeping on fantasy rosters, not with Ingram performing better the past month.

Danny Amendola active (12:04 p.m. ET): The St. Louis Rams' official Twitter feed reports that WR Danny Amendola is active. Note that he wasn't even on the injury report; that's a plus regarding his health. In a favorable matchup against the Bucs pass defense, Amendola is our No. 20 wide receiver for Week 16.

Michael Vick inactive (12:02 p.m. ET): The Philadelphia Eagles' official Twitter feed reports that QB Michael Vick (concussion, probable) is inactive. Fantasy owners weren't counting on Vick, as the Eagles announced weeks ago that Nick Foles would remain their starting quarterback for the remainder of the year. That Vick is inactive despite the probable tag -- that hinting perhaps he'd be Foles' backup -- is somewhat a surprise. Trent Edwards will be Foles' backup for another week, and it's clear at this point that Vick will be elsewhere in 2013.

Jeff Cumberland active (11:55 a.m. ET): The New York Jets' official Twitter feed reports that TE Jeff Cumberland (ankle, probable) is active. Cumberland is our No. 24 tight end for the week, even with Dustin Keller on the sidelines for another week.

Dustin Keller inactive (11:55 a.m. ET): The New York Jets' official Twitter feed reports that TE Dustin Keller (ankle, doubtful) is inactive. Jeff Cumberland will be the Jets' starting tight end for another week. He's only recommended in desperate circumstances; he is our No. 24 tight end for Week 16.

Mark Sanchez active (11:54 a.m. ET): The New York Jets' official Twitter feed reports that QB Mark Sanchez (back, probable) is active. Sanchez is the Jets' No. 2 quarterback this week, his awful play relegating him to the bench. Greg McElroy will get the start, though he's not a recommended fantasy option in championship weeks. Sanchez doesn't belong on fantasy rosters.

Tim Tebow active (11:54 a.m. ET): The New York Jets' official Twitter feed reports that QB Tim Tebow (ribs, probable) is active. Interesting. Tebow is active, but it is unclear whether he will be the team's No. 2 or 3 quarterback. He could see no work, a few snaps or significant relief work, and that uncertainty makes him not recommended in fantasy leagues. Expect him to be on a different team next season, the next point at which he'll have fantasy relevance.

Jeremy Maclin active (11:51 a.m. ET): The Philadelphia Eagles' official Twitter feed reports that WR Jeremy Maclin (back, probable) is active. Maclin has been Nick Foles' most-targeted receiver, and a matchup with the Redskins is a favorable enough one for him. He's our No. 29 wide receiver for Week 16.

Kenny Britt active (11:50 a.m. ET): The Tennessee Titans' official Twitter feed reports that WR Kenny Britt (knee, probable) is active. He was only limited earlier in the week, but was able to practice fully by week's end. Britt should benefit with Kendall Wright inactive, in a game in which the Titans might find themselves frequently throwing. We rank Britt our No. 33 wide receiver.

Kendall Wright inactive (11:49 a.m. ET): The Tennessee Titans' official Twitter feed reports that WR Kendall Wright (rib, questionable) is inactive. He missed practice the entire week, and was a long shot to play in Week 16. With Wright sidelined, Kenny Britt should see a few additional targets.

Rashard Mendenhall active (11:47 a.m. ET): Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Bengals reports that RB Rashard Mendenhall is active for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Though Mendenhall is active after serving his one-game, team-imposed suspension, he's still just third on the Steelers' running-back depth chart. Don't even assume he'll be a goal-line vulture; while it's possible that he might be utilized that way, the lack of such a promise makes him a shaky championship-week fantasy option.

Mike Nugent inactive (11:44 a.m. ET): The Cincinnati Bengals' official Twitter feed reports that K Mike Nugent (right calf, questionable) is inactive. Josh Brown will make his third consecutive appearance as the Bengals' placekicker, and he checks in as our No. 18 option for Week 16.

DeMarco Murray active (11:43 a.m. ET): Bryan Broaddus of the Dallas Cowboys reports that RB DeMarco Murray (foot, probable) is active for the Dallas Cowboys. Despite his limited practice on Friday, Murray wasn't any threat to sit this week. He has touchdowns in three straight games, and 43 fantasy points total in those contests. A clear RB1 once again, Murray is our No. 9 option at the position for the week.

Dez Bryant active (11:41 a.m. ET): Bryan Broaddus of the Dallas Cowboys reports that WR Dez Bryant (finger, probable) is active for the Dallas Cowboys. Bryant's broken finger hasn't seemed to hamper him; he had 11 fantasy points last week despite a somewhat difficult Steelers matchup. He's effectively a must-start facing a miserable Saints secondary, and checks in as our No. 7 wide receiver for Week 16.

Tony Moeaki inactive (11:39 a.m. ET): The Kansas City Chiefs' official Twitter feed reports that TE Tony Moeaki (head, doubtful) is inactive. With Moeaki sidelined, Jake O'Connell becomes the Chiefs' likely starter at tight end. Don't expect a great deal of targets, as the Chiefs' passing game has performed horribly for weeks, and the team doesn't really include the tight end a great deal in the offense.

Brian Hartline active (11:36 a.m. ET): The Miami Dolphins' official Twitter feed reports that WR Brian Hartline (back, questionable) is active. Hartline's questionable status shouldn't be that worrisome to his fantasy owners, being that Davone Bess (back)' absence leaves the Dolphins thin at wide receiver. Hartline should see a full slate of targets, and against a poor Bills secondary warrants WR3/4 consideration. We've ranked him 37th for the week.

Robert Griffin III active (11:34 a.m. ET): The Washington Redskins' official Twitter feed reports that QB Robert Griffin III (knee, probable) is active. Adam Schefter reported on Saturday that Redskins team doctors had cleared Griffin to play, so there's no reason to be concerned about the rookie as a top fantasy play, outside of the possibility that the Redskins blow out the Eagles and they yank him early to provide him some rest. We remind: If that happens, it'd likely be because of Griffin's own outstanding statistical performance, and he did amass 32 fantasy points in Week 11 against these Eagles. He's our No. 3 quarterback for the week.

Jonathan Stewart inactive (11:33 a.m. ET): The Carolina Panthers' official Twitter feed reports that RB Jonathan Stewart (ankle, questionable) is inactive. Well, this one will probably rank as the surprise of the week, as all overnight indications were that Stewart would play this week. His absence, however, is a tremendous plus for DeAngelo Williams, who has back-to-back weeks of double-digit fantasy points. Williams is our No. 23 running back, and he has RB2 upside.

Alex Green inactive (11:31 a.m. ET): The Green Bay Packers' official Twitter feed reports that RB Alex Green (concussion, questionable) is inactive. Green failed to practice once all week, so his fantasy owners should've been preparing for this inevitability. Ryan Grant will get the start in Green's place, and considering the matchup -- the Titans have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season and 59 points total to the position the past four weeks despite a fairly easy schedule in that regard -- he might warrant a pickup as well as flex consideration in deeper leagues. In the fantasy championships, such desperation grabs aren't typically recommended, but Grant should get the lion's share of carries, if you're in that position. Expect DuJuan Harris and John Kuhn to get some work; Harris could be the passing-down back with Kuhn handling goal-line chores.

Aaron Hernandez active (11:30 a.m. ET): The New England Patriots' official Twitter feed reports that TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle, questionable) is active. Hernandez is one of the few automatics remaining at the tight end position, and his prospects at a week-leading fantasy point total remain excellent what with Rob Gronkowski sidelined for another week. He is our No. 1 tight end for Week 16.

Brandon Lloyd active (11:29 a.m. ET): The New England Patriots' official Twitter feed reports that WR Brandon Lloyd (knee, questionable) is active. Lloyd has 39 fantasy points in his past two games, and should again benefit due to the favorable matchup as well as Rob Gronowski's absence. Lloyd is our No. 19 wide receiver for Week 16.

Wes Welker active (11:27 a.m. ET): The New England Patriots' official Twitter feed reports that WR Wes Welker (ankle, questionable) is active. Questionable, schmestionable. The Patriots love that tag as much as Santa loves cookies and milk, and fantasy owners have seen through it with Welker all year. Welker was never any threat to sit and he matches up excellently against the Jaguars. He's our No. 5 wideout for Week 16.