Commentary

Week 8 inactives

Updated: October 31, 2010, 7:11 PM ET
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN.com

Welcome to Week 8. 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 inactives for every game, click here.

Top players we're watching

Ruled out before Sunday: RB Reggie Bush (fibula), QB Shaun Hill (left forearm), K Nate Kaeding (right groin), WR Louis Murphy (chest), RB Clinton Portis (groin), QB Tony Romo (left shoulder), WR Chaz Schilens (knee), QB Alex Smith (left shoulder), RB Fred Taylor (toe), RB Pierre Thomas (ankle), RB DeAngelo Williams (foot).

Early games (1 p.m. ET)

TE Chris Cooley (foot): Active
TE Vernon Davis (ankle): Active
RB Steven Jackson (finger): Active
QB Donovan McNabb (hamstring): Active

Late games (4 p.m. ET)

WR Deion Branch (hamstring): Active
WR Steve Breaston (knee): Active
QB Brett Favre (foot): Active
WR Malcom Floyd (hamstring): Inactive
WR Justin Gage (hamstring): Inactive
TE Antonio Gates (toe): Active
QB Bruce Gradkowski (right shoulder): Active, but No. 2 QB
TE Zach Miller (foot): Active
WR Legedu Naanee (hamstring): Inactive

Updates/analysis (most recent first)

7:11 p.m. ET -- LaMarr Woodley active -- NBC/Sunday Night Football reports that LB LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) is active for the Steelers.

7:09 p.m. ET -- Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas inactive -- The Saints' official website confirms that both RBs Reggie Bush (fibula) and Pierre Thomas (ankle) are inactive. No surprise here, but with them out, Chris Ivory should again start and get the bulk of the carries, with RB Julius Jones (shoulder) and Ladell Betts serving as his backups. Ivory's matchup makes him only a fringe flex play; it's an awful one against the rock-solid Steelers.

7:09 p.m. ET -- Will Smith active -- The Saints' official website reports that DE Will Smith (groin) is active.

2:59 p.m. ET -- Tom Brady active -- NESN.com reports that QB Tom Brady (right shoulder) is active for the Patriots. I think at this point, I'm just going to create a template to drop this same line into the inactives report week after week, just like you're going to leave Brady comfortably locked into your quarterback spot.

2:59 p.m. ET -- Fred Taylor inactive -- NESN.com confirms that RB Fred Taylor (toe) is inactive for the Patriots. BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead will continue to share the running-back duties, but there are more attractive matchups for either than one against the Vikings. Look for better options.

2:59 p.m. ET -- Deion Branch active -- NESN.com reports that WR Deion Branch (hamstring) is active for the Patriots. It was a risk to wait this long for him, so if you did, you lucked out and you're obviously now going to use him. We consider him a No. 3/4 fantasy wide receiver.

2:59 p.m. ET -- Pat Chung inactive -- NESN.com reports that S Pat Chung (knee) is inactive for the Patriots.

2:56 p.m. ET -- Max Hall active -- The Cardinals' official website reports that QB Max Hall (head) is active and will start. The Cardinals are reportedly committed to the run this week, however, not that that's any surprise considering how Hall and Derek Anderson have performed to date. Hall might only be asked to throw 20-25 times, while the Cardinals might let new starting running back Beanie Wells carry the football at least that many times. Avoid Hall.

2:56 p.m. ET -- Steve Breaston, Early Doucet active -- The Cardinals' official website reports that both WRs Steve Breaston (knee) and Early Doucet (groin) are active. Breaston should return to the starting lineup, but keep in mind that the Cardinals might not pass often, what with Max Hall back in the lineup and Beanie Wells set to take on a bigger burden in the running game. Larry Fitzgerald is the only advised Cardinals wide receiver.

2:56 p.m. ET -- LeGarrette Blount active -- The Buccaneers' official website reports that both RBs LeGarrette Blount (illness) and Earnest Graham (hamstring) are active. Blount should get the bulk of the carries for the Buccaneers, and keep in mind that the opposing Cardinals have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. He could be quite the sleeper this week and should be used in at least your flex spot, with a chance at top-20 status.

2:56 p.m. ET -- Kellen Winslow active -- The Buccaneers' official website reports that TE Kellen Winslow (knee) is active. Oh, if only he could score us some touchdowns. Catches/yardage have never really been an issue for Winslow, so you should keep him active.

2:52 p.m. ET -- Malcom Floyd, Legedu Naanee inactive -- The Chargers' official website reports that WRs Malcom Floyd (hamstring), Legedu Naanee (hamstring) and Buster Davis (ribs) are all inactive, as expected, while WR Richard Goodman (hand) is active. Patrick Crayton will start and see a bunch of targets as the most reliable healthy wide receiver for the Chargers. Consider Crayton a No. 3 option. Seyi Ajirotutu, Gary Banks and Goodman will also help fill the position.

2:52 p.m. ET -- Antonio Gates active -- The Chargers' official website reports that TE Antonio Gates (toe) is active. Even at less than 100 percent in Week 7, he managed 50 yards and a score, so there's no reason to bet against him here, either.

2:52 p.m. ET -- Kaeding inactive, Brown active -- The Chargers' official website reports that K Nate Kaeding (right groin) is inactive, while K Kris Brown (left ankle) is active. Brown made 2-of-3 field-goal attempts in Week 7, and totaled eight fantasy points. He's fine to use if you need him, though there are more reliable options.

2:51 p.m. ET -- Brett Favre active -- The Vikings' official website reports that QB Brett Favre (foot) is active. He told ESPN's Ed Werder on Saturday that his foot/ankle injuries had healed enough to allow him to play, and apparently coach Brad Childress, who had the final decision, agreed. Favre might be playing one of the weaker pass defenses in football -- the Patriots have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks -- but he'll probably be playing at noticeably less than 100 percent, not to mention be a risk to exit early. It's your risk to take. Tarvaris Jackson will be on hand for relief work if needed.

2:48 p.m. ET -- Bruce Gradkowski active, but backing up -- Comcast SportsNet California reports that QB Bruce Gradkowski (right shoulder) is active, but will be the backup quarterback for the Raiders. Jason Campbell will get another start, and even against the Seahawks, he's only a low-end No. 2 option in two-quarterback leagues.

2:48 p.m. ET -- Louis Murphy, Chaz Schilens inactive -- Comcast SportsNet California confirms that both WRs Louis Murphy (chest) and Chaz Schilens (knee) are inactive for the Raiders. The Raiders are getting thinner and thinner at wide receiver, and will have to start rookie Jacoby Ford across from Darrius Heyward-Bey. Don't start either this week.

2:48 p.m. ET -- Zach Miller active -- Comcast SportsNet California reports that TE Zach Miller (foot) is active for the Raiders. With Louis Murphy now sidelined, Miller might be even more targeted than before in the Raiders passing game. He's an obvious top-five fantasy tight end.

2:48 p.m. ET -- Matt Shaughnessy active -- Comcast SportsNet California reports that DE Matt Shaughnessy (concussion) is active for the Raiders.

2:45 p.m. ET -- Vince Young active, will start -- The Titans' official website reports that QBs Kerry Collins (right finger) and Vince Young (knee) are both active, though Young will start at quarterback. The opposing Chargers have allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, so it doesn't matter which one got the starting nod; Young isn't a strong play this week.

2:45 p.m. ET -- Chris Johnson active -- The Titans' official website reports that RB Chris Johnson (thigh) is active. Though this isn't the easiest of matchups against the Chargers, Johnson is a must-start in all formats.

2:45 p.m. ET -- Justin Gage inactive -- The Titans' official website reports that WR Justin Gage (hamstring) is inactive. Kenny Britt will get the start, and he's an even stronger fantasy play with the news that Gage will sit.

11:54 a.m. ET -- Knowshon Moreno active -- The Broncos' official website reports that RB Knowshon Moreno (hamstring) is active, as expected. He practiced fully on Friday after suffering a twinge in his hamstring on Wednesday, so no worries about him for this week. The 49ers isn't an easy matchup for him; consider him a low-end No. 2 or high-end flex option.

11:54 a.m. ET -- Eddie Royal active -- The Broncos' official website reports that WR Eddie Royal (groin) is active. He's not involved enough in the Denver passing game, however, one that hasn't been quite so potent in recent weeks, to be advised except in deeper leagues.

11:54 a.m. ET -- Goodman, Dawkins active -- The Broncos' official website reports that CB Andre' Goodman (quadricep) and S Brian Dawkins (knee) are both active.

11:52 a.m. ET -- Tony Romo inactive, Jon Kitna to start -- The Cowboys' official website confirms that QB Tony Romo (left shoulder) is inactive, meaning Jon Kitna will start at quarterback. Kitna is not as accurate a passer as Romo, so don't jump at the fact that the Jaguars have allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks and assume that he's an instant start in all formats simply because of the matchup. It's a favorable one, yes, and he's a worthwhile plug-in during a six-team bye week, but don't use him over the clear elite at the position.

11:52 a.m. ET -- Dez Bryant active -- The Cowboys' official website reports that WR Dez Bryant (ankle) is active. Keep in mind that Bryant was the most-targeted Cowboys receiver after Jon Kitna took over for an injured Tony Romo during Week 7, and now he faces the Jaguars, who have allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. Bryant isn't a member of fantasy's elite, but he should be in the vast majority of lineups this week.

11:46 a.m. ET -- DeAngelo Williams inactive, Jonathan Stewart to start -- The Panthers' official website confirms that RB DeAngelo Williams (foot) is inactive. Jonathan Stewart, averaging just 3.0 yards per carry this season, will get the start, but he's a stronger fantasy play than that number hints. The Rams' run defense isn't their strength; their middling-to-above average numbers are more of a product of a light schedule than elite performance. Consider Stewart a top-20 fantasy running back, albeit barely so.

11:45 a.m. ET -- Shaun Hill inactive, Matthew Stafford to start -- Detroit Lions Talk confirms that QB Shaun Hill (left forearm) is inactive, meaning Matthew Stafford (shoulder) will start. Hill is actually making solid progress in his recovery, but this is Stafford's job; Hill might be merely a backup once he's healthy in a few weeks. Stafford gets to face the Redskins, who have allowed an astonishing 2,145 passing yards to opposing quarterbacks in seven games. If you're in a pinch, he's worth using, even in his first game back from injury.

11:45 a.m. ET -- Jahvid Best active -- Detroit Lions Talk reports that RB Jahvid Best (toe) is active. Perhaps the bye week will have helped his toe to heal, though he was limited in practice on Friday. That he had the extra week off should make him a stronger fantasy play than usual; he's typically a No. 2 option, though he's one of the better ones.

11:45 a.m. ET -- Louis Delmas active -- Detroit Lions Talk reports that S Louis Delmas (groin) is active.

11:43 a.m. ET -- Steven Jackson active -- The Rams' official website reports that RB Steven Jackson (finger) is active. He's one gritty dude; he had surgery to repair a broken finger in his left hand this past Monday. Fortunately, he carries the football with his right hand. Jackson might not get his traditional 25-plus touches, but 20 should be a certainty against a Panthers defense that has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. Keep him in there.

11:43 a.m. ET -- Danario Alexander inactive -- The Rams' official website reports that WR Danario Alexander (knee) is inactive, while WR Mardy Gilyard (hamstring) is active. It's difficult to project which Rams receiver will get the most targets these days, so the smart play is to avoid the lot. Alexander might miss 2-4 weeks following knee surgery.

11:43 a.m. ET -- James Laurinaitis active -- The Rams' official website reports that LB James Laurinaitis (knee) is active.

11:42 a.m. ET -- David Garrard active, will start -- The Jaguars' official website reports that QB David Garrard (concussion) is active and will start at quarterback. QB Trent Edwards (right thumb) is active and will serve as Garrard's backup, while QB Todd Bouman (right finger) is the inactive No. 3 quarterback. Garrard has been historically poor in road games, ensuring that his fantasy appeal is, at best, limited to No. 2 status in two-quarterback leagues. One plus: Dallas has allowed the 12th-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks.

11:40 a.m. ET -- Donovan McNabb active -- The Redskins' official website reports that QB Donovan McNabb (hamstring) is active. It's getting downright silly how often he's being listed as questionable, despite little-to-no doubt that he'll play each week. Ah, Mike and his Shanahanigans. McNabb's health shouldn't be what worries you; it's his poor performance to date. This matchup against the Lions represents one of his best, and might yet make him a top-10 option, but don't get overzealous. He shouldn't be used over the clear elite.

11:40 a.m. ET -- Clinton Portis inactive -- The Redskins' official website confirms that RB Clinton Portis (groin) is inactive. No surprise; Ryan Torain will get yet another start. In a game against the Lions, Torain should be in everyone's fantasy lineup this week.

11:40 a.m. ET -- Chris Cooley active -- The Redskins' official website reports that TE Chris Cooley (foot) is active. He put in a fair amount of practice time this week, so don't sweat his questionable tag. Cooley should be fine, and as one of the few reliable weapons in Donovan McNabb's arsenal, is a solid top-10 play at his position this week (and most weeks).

11:40 a.m. ET -- Hall, Orakpo, Landry active -- The Redskins' official website reports that CB DeAngelo Hall (back), LB Brian Orakpo (ankle) and S LaRon Landry (Achilles') are all active. Hall is quite the familiar name; you might remember him as the fella who had four interceptions in Week 7 (among many other past exploits). He was Jim McCormick's No. 5 defensive back in this week's "D Up!" rankings, and Landry was tops at the position. Obviously both are must-starts.

11:38 a.m. ET -- Alex Smith inactive, Troy Smith to start -- The 49ers' official website confirms that QB Alex Smith (left shoulder) is inactive, meaning Troy Smith will start at quarterback. Alex Smith is expected to miss 2-3 weeks, and with David Carr performing miserably in relief of him in Week 7, the 49ers will turn to Troy Smith, their little-used third option at the position. Downgrade all members of the 49ers' passing game accordingly, and don't add and/or start Smith in any format.

11:38 a.m. ET -- Vernon Davis active -- The 49ers' official website reports that TE Vernon Davis (ankle) is active. He was limited throughout the practice week, and will have Troy Smith as his quarterback, unfortunately. Don't expect another standout week for Davis, but if Smith needs a safety net on Sunday, it might very well be his tight end. Davis should still be a solid catches/yardage option, at least.

11:38 a.m. ET -- Nate Clements active -- The 49ers' official website reports that CB Nate Clements (ankle) is active.

11:37 a.m. ET -- Donald Driver active -- The Packers' official website reports that WR Donald Driver (quadricep) is active. He's probably not going to be 100 percent, however, and he'll be facing a Jets defense that has CB Darrelle Revis back, not to mention has had the bye week's rest. Driver's fantasy value is in the No. 3/4 tier among wideouts, and there are better choices out there.

11:37 a.m. ET -- Woodson, Jenkins active -- The Packers' official website reports that CB Charles Woodson (toe) and DE Cullen Jenkins (calf) are both active. Woodson was Jim McCormick's No. 3 defensive back in his "D Up!" rankings, so keep him active.

11:36 a.m. ET -- Revis, Pace active -- The Jets' official website reports that CB Darrelle Revis (hamstring) and LB Calvin Pace (foot) are both active.

11:35 a.m. ET -- Carson Palmer active -- The Bengals' official website reports that QB Carson Palmer (hip) is active. He might lack the arm of a few years ago, but he has a stockpile of weapons and a matchup against a Dolphins defense that has had poor outings against Mark Sanchez, Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger in three of the past four weeks. Palmer has top-10 fantasy potential this week.

11:35 a.m. ET -- Terrell Owens active -- The Bengals' official website reports that WR Terrell Owens (hand) is active. The Dolphins have been beat badly by opposing No. 1 wide receivers in recent weeks, and Owens has Chad Ochocinco to help eliminate the prospect of double coverage. Both veteran wideouts, in fact, should be active in the vast majority of leagues this week.

11:35 a.m. ET -- Hall, Rivers active, Joseph inactive -- The Bengals' official website reports that CB Leon Hall (hamstring) and LB Keith Rivers (foot) are active. CB Johnathan Joseph (ankle), meanwhile, is inactive.

11:32 a.m. ET -- Dexter McCluster inactive -- The Chiefs' official website reports that WR Dexter McCluster (ankle) is inactive, as expected. He might miss a few games, in fact, with what has been suggested to be a high ankle sprain. Javier Arenas will handle his return duties.