Commentary

Week 16 inactives

Updated: December 27, 2009, 7:57 PM ET
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN.com

Welcome to Week 16. Here we'll be posting "live" updates and analysis as NFL teams release their inactive lists. Refresh often for the latest information!

Top players we're watching

Notable names ruled out before Sunday: Jake Delhomme, Trent Edwards, Pierre Garcon, Anthony Gonzalez, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Lance Moore, Joe Nedney, Troy Polamalu, Jerraud Powers, Neil Rackers, Eddie Royal, Matthew Stafford.

Early games (1 p.m. ET)

Antonio Bryant, WR, TB: Active
Nate Burleson, WR, SEA: Inactive
Julius Jones, RB, SEA: Active
Matt Ryan, QB, ATL: Active
Jeremy Shockey, TE, NO: Inactive
Jonathan Stewart, RB, CAR: Active
Michael Turner, RB, ATL: Inactive
DeAngelo Williams, RB, CAR: Inactive

Late games (4 p.m. ET)

Steven Jackson, RB, STL: Inactive

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

Devin Thomas, WR, WAS: Inactive

Updates/analysis (most recent first)

7:54 p.m. ET -- Martellus Bennett active -- The Cowboys' official Web site reports TE Martellus Bennett (concussion, probable) is active. Jason Witten is still the Cowboys tight end you want; Bennett will be minimally involved.

7:54 p.m. ET -- DeMarcus Ware active -- The Cowboys' official Web site reports that LB DeMarcus Ware (wrist, probable) is active.

7:14 p.m. ET -- Devin Thomas inactive -- The Redskins' official Web site reports that WR Devin Thomas (ankle, doubtful) is inactive. Expect Malcolm Kelly to start in Thomas' place, not that he's a recommended fantasy option.

7:14 p.m. ET -- Haynesworth, Hall active -- The Redskins' official Web site reports that DT Albert Haynesworth (knee, questionable), DE Andre Carter (biceps, questionable) and CB DeAngelo Hall (knee, questionable) are all active. That's a boost to the team's defense, though it's still not advised in fantasy.

3:23 p.m. ET -- Peyton Manning active -- ESPN's John Clayton reports that QB Peyton Manning (glute, probable) is active for the Colts. He's likely to play as much of the game as needed until an outcome seems decided; Curtis Painter might come on in relief after that point.

3:23 p.m. ET -- Addai, Brown active -- ESPN's John Clayton reports that RBs Joseph Addai (not injury related, probable), Donald Brown (chest, probable), Chad Simpson (chest, probable) and Mike Hart (ankle, probable) are all active for the Colts. Addai should get the bulk of the rushing work before giving way to Simpson, most likely, once the game's outcome seems decided. Addai should be a useful enough No. 2/flex.

3:23 p.m. ET -- Reggie Wayne active -- ESPN's John Clayton reports that WR Reggie Wayne (foot, probable) is active for the Colts. He gets the unfortunate "honor" of being pitted against Jets cover corner Darrelle Revis, meaning the matchup plus the prospect of an early hook makes him fairly unattractive as anything more than a No. 3/flex type.

3:23 p.m. ET -- Adam Vinatieri active -- ESPN's John Clayton reports that K Adam Vinatieri (right knee, questionable) is active, while Matt Stover is inactive, for the Colts.

3:23 p.m. ET -- Colts defenders active -- ESPN's John Clayton reports that DE Dwight Freeney (abdomen, questionable), CBs Antoine Bethea (foot, probable) and Jacob Lacey (biceps, probable) and LB Gary Brackett (foot, probable) are all active for the Colts.

3:08 p.m. ET -- Mark Sanchez active -- The Jets' official Web site reports that QB Mark Sanchez (knee, probable) is active. He's not an advised fantasy option, as erratic as he is, but he might actually have modest success against a Colts team with some key personnel out and nothing to play for.

3:08 p.m. ET -- Braylon Edwards active -- The Jets' official Web site reports that WR Braylon Edwards (knee, probable) is active. He might be a surprisingly decent option at the lower tiers considering he'll be facing a Colts team with several key names out.

3:03 p.m. ET -- Session, Mathis out -- ESPN's Rachel Nichols reports that LB Clint Session (knee, doubtful) and DE Robert Mathis (quadricep, questionable) are both inactive for the Colts.

2:58 p.m. ET -- Brian Westbrook active -- The Atlantic City Press reports that RB Brian Westbrook (concussion, probable) is active for the Eagles, as expected. Westbrook will presumably start and get the bulk of the carries, though fantasy owners should take a conservative approach and treat him as more a No. 2/flex than a clear top play.

2:58 p.m. ET -- Maclin, Brown active, Curtis out -- The Atlantic City Press reports that WRs Reggie Brown (shoulder, probable) and Jeremy Maclin (foot, probable) are active, though WR Kevin Curtis (knee, probable) is an inactive healthy scratch, for the Eagles. Maclin is a useful enough No. 3/flex in deeper leagues.

2:58 p.m. ET -- Trent Cole active -- The Atlantic City Press reports that DE Trent Cole (hamstring, probable) is active for the Eagles.

2:54 p.m. ET -- Buckhalter, Williams active -- The Broncos' official Web site reports that RB Correll Buckhalter (ankle, probable) and LB D.J. Williams (ankle, probable) are both active. Williams is a useful IDP, but the big news here is Buckhalter's return. He'll cut into Knowshon Moreno's rushing workload, making neither one a strong fantasy choice.

2:50 p.m. ET -- Michael Vick the No. 3 QB -- The Atlantic City Press reports that QB Michael Vick (quadricep, questionable) is the Eagles' inactive No. 3 quarterback. That keeps him available late if needed, but expect Donovan McNabb to play most, if not all, of the snaps this week.

2:49 p.m. ET -- Larry Fitzgerald active -- The Cardinals' official Web site reports that WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee, probable) is active. He's a solid fantasy starter, especially since the Cardinals haven't indicated they want to rest any regulars (yet).

2:49 p.m. ET -- Patrick out, Rodgers-Cromartie active -- The Cardinals' official Web site reports that TE Ben Patrick (head, questionable) is inactive, though CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (toe, probable) is active.

2:46 p.m. ET -- Megatron, Northcutt active -- The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports that WRs Calvin Johnson (knee, probable) and Dennis Northcutt (groin, questionable) are both active for the Lions. Johnson is worth fantasy consideration as a No. 2/3, though his fantasy appeal is somewhat limited by his quarterbacks' shaky potential.

2:46 p.m. ET -- Foote out, Delmas active -- The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports that LB Larry Foote (foot, questionable) is inactive, though S Louis Delmas (ankle, questionable) is active, for the Lions.

2:43 p.m. ET -- Coffee, Bruce inactive -- The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports that RB Glen Coffee (hamstring, doubtful) and WR Isaac Bruce (ankle, doubtful) are inactive for the 49ers. RB Michael Robinson (shoulder, probable) is active and will serve as the No. 2 running back, though none of these three players is fantasy-worthy.

2:42 p.m. ET -- Samkon Gado to start -- The Rams' official Web site reports that Samkon Gado will be the Rams' starting running back. To repeat, he's not advised, but if you're trying to pick between the fill-ins, there's your "starter."

2:33 p.m. ET -- Steven Jackson inactive -- ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that RB Steven Jackson (back, questionable) is inactive for the Rams. Expect Kenneth Darby and Samkon Gado to share the rushing chores, though neither is a recommended fantasy option. Bump up the Cardinals' defense as a fantasy play, too.

12:22 p.m. ET -- Zach Miller active -- ESPN's John Clayton reports that TE Zach Miller (concussion, questionable) is active for the Raiders. He's not a high-profile play but if you're hurting at the position, take a look. In other Raiders news, QB Bruce Gradkowski (knee, doubtful) is officially inactive.

12:18 p.m. ET -- Mendenhall, Parker active -- The Carroll County Times reports that RBs Rashard Mendenhall (hip, probable) and Willie Parker (knee, probable) are both active for the Steelers. Mendenhall, of course, is the running back fantasy owners want, though he's more of a No. 2 option facing a Ravens defense a bit more susceptible to the pass right now.

12:18 p.m. ET -- Ward, Wallace active -- The Carroll County Times reports that WRs Mike Wallace (knee, probable) and Hines Ward (hamstring, probable) are both active for the Steelers. Start Ward with confidence, though Wallace isn't advised except in the deepest of leagues. Neither, though, is as strong a fantasy play as Santonio Holmes.

12:16 p.m. ET -- Smith, Heap active -- The Carroll County Times reports that TEs L.J. Smith (ankle, probable) and Todd Heap (chest, probable) are both active for the Ravens. Not that fantasy owners should trust Ravens tight ends, of course.

12:16 p.m. ET -- Ed Reed inactive -- The Carroll County Times reports that S Ed Reed (groin, doubtful) is inactive for the Ravens. This is a plus for the Steelers' offense, particularly their pass attack.

12:15 p.m. ET -- Rashean Mathis active -- The Jaguars' official Web site reports that CB Rashean Mathis (groin, questionable) is active. Even with him in the lineup the Jaguars don't stand much of a chance keeping the Patriots' passing attack in check.

12:13 p.m. ET -- Davis, Dreessen, Cushing active -- The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that WR Andre Davis (finger, questionable), TE Joel Dreessen (shoulder, probable) and LB Brian Cushing (foot, questionable) are all active for the Texans. Cushing is really the only meaningful fantasy option of the bunch, and in IDP formats.

12:11 p.m. ET -- Dawson, Bowens active for Browns -- The Browns' official Web site reports that K Phil Dawson (left hamstring, probable) and LB David Bowens (knee, probable) are both active.

12:09 p.m. ET -- Peko out, Geathers active -- The Bengals' official Web site reports that DT Domata Peko (knee, probable) is inactive, though DE Robert Geathers (knee, probable) is active. Peko's absence is a plus for Jamaal Charles, so keep him in there in all formats.

12:08 p.m. ET -- Dorsey, Flowers active -- The Chiefs' official Web site reports that DE Glenn Dorsey (knee, questionable) and CB Brandon Flowers (shoulder, probable) are both active.

12:07 p.m. ET -- Curtis Lofton active -- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that LB Curtis Lofton (shoulder, questionable) is active for the Falcons.

12:06 p.m. ET -- More Bills inactives -- The Bills' official Web site reports that WR Josh Reed (ankle, questionable) and LB Bryan Scott (head, out) are both inactive.

12:03 p.m. ET -- Tom Brady active -- The Patriots' official Web site reports that QB Tom Brady (right shoulder, probable) is active as expected. He's a must-start, obviously, facing a Jaguars defense weak in the secondary and lacking any sort of pass rush.

12:03 p.m. ET -- Fred Taylor active -- The Patriots' official Web site reports that RB Fred Taylor (ankle, questionable) is active. He might steal a handful of carries from Laurence Maroney, but probably not enough to make Maroney an unattractive fantasy play.

12:03 p.m. ET -- Edelman, Aiken, Watson active -- The Patriots' official Web site reports that WRs Julian Edelman (forearm, probable) and Sam Aiken (shoulder, probable) and TE Benjamin Watson (knee, probable) are all active. None of them is a recommended fantasy play, though.

12:03 p.m. ET -- Fred Taylor active -- The Patriots' official Web site reports that CB Leigh Bodden (thigh, probable) is active.

12:00 p.m. ET -- Reggie Bush active -- The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that RB Reggie Bush (hamstring, probable) is active for the Saints. He might occupy his traditional goal-line vulture role, which is a risky venture in most fantasy leagues. Expect Pierre Thomas to be the clear top running-back play from that backfield, and avoid Mike Bell.

12:00 p.m. ET -- Saints defense inactives -- The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that LB Scott Shanle (concussion, questionable) and CB Jabari Greer (groin, questionable) are inactive, while DT Sedrick Ellis (knee, questionable), S Darren Sharper (knee, questionable) and LB Jonathan Vilma (knee, probable) are active, for the Saints. This defense has most of its most critical individuals active, so don't be afraid to use it in fantasy leagues facing a mediocre Buccaneers team.

11:58 a.m. ET -- Clayton, Washington, Williams active -- The Carroll County Times reports that WRs Mark Clayton (knee, questionable), Kelley Washington (ankle, probable) and Demetrius Williams (knee, probable) are all active for the Ravens. Expect them to divvy up the targets to some degree, making not one of them a viable fantasy play. WR Justin Harper (foot, probable), meanwhile, is inactive, presumably in a numbers crunch.

11:57 a.m. ET -- James Harrison active -- LB James Harrison (biceps, questionable) is active for the Steelers, reports the Web site of their opponent, the Ravens. That makes the Ravens' matchups a tad tougher, especially the passing game, but this isn't a game you should fear entirely in terms of picking offensive players.

11:54 a.m. ET -- Brian Brohm starts -- The Bills' official Web site reports that QBs Ryan Fitzpatrick (ankle, questionable) and Trent Edwards are both inactive. As expected, Brian Brohm will start at quarterback. Downgrade the Bills' passing game accordingly, in spite of the favorable matchup on paper.

11:50 a.m. ET -- Julius Jones active -- ESPN's John Clayton reports that RB Julius Jones (rib, questionable) is active for the Seahawks. Justin Forsett's owners are unhappy to hear this news; it makes neither Jones nor Forsett a useful fantasy choice this week, as they will probably continue to share the rushing chores.

11:50 a.m. ET -- Nate Burleson inactive -- ESPN's John Clayton reports that WR Nate Burleson (ankle, doubtful) is inactive for the Seahawks as expected. Deion Branch should get another start, though Deon Butler might see additional work this week after Branch disappointed in Week 15. Neither is advised.

11:49 a.m. ET -- Packers defenders active -- The Packers' official Web site reports that S Nick Collins (calf, probable), LB Nick Barnett (knee, probable) and CB Charles Woodson (shoulder, probable) are all active. The Packers' defense is in as good health as could be asked against the Seahawks. Feel free to activate it.

11:45 a.m. ET -- Matt Ryan active -- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that QB Matt Ryan (toe, questionable) is active for the Falcons. This was expected, but confirming the news. Ryan isn't advised in fantasy, though, facing a Bills defense strong against the pass.

11:45 a.m. ET -- Michael Turner inactive -- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that RB Michael Turner (ankle, questionable) is inactive for the Falcons. Regardless whether Jason Snelling or Jerious Norwood gets the official "start" at running back, Snelling is the one most likely to get more touches as well as any goal-line work. The matchup is a favorable one, so get Snelling in there as a strong No. 2.

11:43 a.m. ET -- Jeremy Shockey inactive -- The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that TE Jeremy Shockey (toe, questionable) is inactive for the Saints. Fantasy owners shouldn't have been using Shockey for weeks now, but if you're in a pinch and need a plug-in, take a look at David Thomas.

11:42 a.m. ET -- Charlie Frye starting -- The Raiders' official Web site reports that QB Charlie Frye (concussion, probable) is active and will start. He's not advised in any fantasy leagues, of course.

11:41 a.m. ET -- Richard Marshall active -- The Panthers' official Web site reports that CB Richard Marshall (ankle, questionable) is active.

11:40 a.m. ET -- Matt Moore active -- The Panthers' official Web site reports that QB Matt Moore (right shoulder, questionable) is active. The matchup on paper is favorable, but Moore should only be used in a desperate circumstance, preferably two-quarterback leagues.

11:38 a.m. ET -- Chris Jennings active -- The Browns' official Web site reports that RB Chris Jennings (shoulder, probable) is active. He'll presumably occupy a supporting role to starter Jerome Harrison this week, with Josh Cribbs also a candidate to get some carries. It's an Eric Mangini team and those have been unpredictable in recent weeks, though, so if you use Harrison, make it more as a flex option than anything more. Jennings is not advised.

11:36 a.m. ET -- Michael Bush gets start -- RB Justin Fargas (knee, doubtful) is inactive for the Raiders, reports the Web site of their opponent, the Browns. Michael Bush will get the start and is a worthwhile No. 2/flex accounting for the favorable matchup. Expect Darren McFadden to be Bush's backup, albeit a little-used one.

11:33 a.m. ET -- Williams, Sutton inactive -- The Rock Hill Herald reports that RBs DeAngelo Williams (ankle, doubtful) and Tyrell Sutton (calf, doubtful) are both inactive for the Panthers. Expect Jonathan Stewart (achilles, questionable) -- active this week -- to get the start and a huge number of carries. He'll be backed up by Mike Goodson.

11:29 a.m. ET -- Derrick Ward active -- The Buccaneers' official Web site reports that RB Derrick Ward (knee, questionable) is active. Expect him to occupy his usual share of the rushing chores with Cadillac Williams, meaning neither one is an especially attractive fantasy play except in deeper leagues as a flex.

11:29 a.m. ET -- Bryant, Clayton both active -- The Buccaneers' official Web site reports that WRs Antonio Bryant (groin, questionable) and Michael Clayton (knee, questionable) are active. Maurice Stovall is likely to remain in the starting lineup ahead of Clayton, but Bryant is really the only viable fantasy option of the bunch anyway.

11:29 a.m. ET -- Kellen Winslow active -- The Buccaneers' official Web site reports that TE Kellen Winslow (knee, probable) is active, as expected. He's the most-used member of the team's pass attack, so keep him in there if you usually would.

11:29 a.m. ET -- Tanard Jackson active -- The Buccaneers' official Web site reports that S Tanard Jackson (knee, questionable) is active.

11:26 a.m. ET -- Eli Manning active -- The Giants' official Web site reports that WR Hakeem Nicks (hamstring, probable) is active. Expect him to share targets with Mario Manningham, as usual, and that they're facing the Panthers' pass-suppressing defense makes neither a high-profile fantasy play by any means.

11:26 a.m. ET -- Lawrence Tynes active -- The Giants' official Web site reports that K Lawrence Tynes (right hamstring, probable) is active. He's fine to use if you typically do.

11:26 a.m. ET -- Giants defense inactives -- The Giants' official Web site reports that LB Michael Boley (triceps, probable) is active, though CBs Corey Webster (knee, probable) and Aaron Ross (hamstring, probable) are inactive. Bump up the Panthers' passing game accordingly -- though of course this really only means Steve Smith (the Panthers' Smith) is his usual standout start.

11:24 a.m. ET -- Eli Manning active -- The Giants' official Web site reports that QB Eli Manning (foot, probable) is active. He's not likely to rack up top-10 fantasy numbers facing the Panthers, whose strength is their pass defense, but at least he'll have the motivation of a must-win game.

11:24 a.m. ET -- Ahmad Bradshaw active -- The Giants' official Web site reports that RB Ahmad Bradshaw (ankle, probable) is active. He'll take on his usual backup role to Brandon Jacobs, with Jacobs the stronger fantasy option facing the poor Panthers run defense, but expect enough work for Bradshaw to have flex-play appeal in deep leagues.

11:18 a.m. ET -- Peyton Manning believes he'll play -- ESPN's Rachel Nichols reports that QB Peyton Manning (glute, probable), whom fantasy owners are concerned might take an early seat this week, says he "would imagine" he'll play the entire game if it's competitive. The Colts, of course, hope he can mount a huge lead early so that he can sit. In other Colts news (all defensive), so you can decide how much of a risk you're willing to take in IDP or on Jets offensive players: LB Clint Session (knee, doubtful) is expected out, DE Robert Mathis (quadricep, questionable) will be limited if he plays and DE Dwight Freeney (abdomen, questionable) will be on a "pitch count."

Ruled out before Sunday -- Bills QB Trent Edwards (ankle, out); Brian Brohm is expected to start in his place, though it's unclear whether Ryan Fitzpatrick (ankle, questionable) or Gibran Hamdan will be Brohm's backup. Downgrade the Bills' wide receivers as a result. ... Panthers QB Jake Delhomme (right finger, out); Matt Moore (right shoulder, questionable) should still be healthy enough to start but is not an advised fantasy option. ... Saints WR Lance Moore (ankle, out); expect Robert Meachem to see a regular number of targets. ... Steelers S Troy Polamalu (knee, out); the Steelers' defense will once again be in weak shape. ... Cardinals K Neil Rackers (right groin, out); Mike Nugent will handle the team's placekicking duties. ... Lions QB Matthew Stafford (left shoulder, IR); expect Drew Stanton to start, with Daunte Culpepper backing him up. ... 49ers K Joe Nedney (left hamstring, out); Ricky Schmitt will handle the team's placekicking duties. ... Broncos WR Eddie Royal (neck, out); expect Jabar Gaffney to start with Brandon Stokley the No. 3 receiver. Neither is advised in fantasy. ... Colts WRs Pierre Garcon (hand, out) and Anthony Gonzalez (knee, out). Bump up Austin Collie due to a lack of alternatives for the Colts at wide receiver, though it's a risky lot, seeing as the team is already locked into the No. 1 seed and might rest some players.

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