Commentary

Week 16 inactives

Updated: December 24, 2011, 3:18 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!

For a complete list of NFL actives, check out John Clayton's report.

Ruled out before Sunday: TE Jake Ballard (knee), WR Anquan Boldin (knee), QB Jason Campbell (collarbone), QB Jay Cutler (right thumb), TE Anthony Fasano (head), QB A.J. Feeley (right thumb), WR Jacoby Ford (foot), RB Matt Forte (knee), WR Greg Jennings (knee), QB Colt McCoy (head), RB Darren McFadden (foot), RB Mewelde Moore (knee), WR Jordan Norwood (head), QB Ben Roethlisberger (ankle), WR Emmanuel Sanders (foot), WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring).

Top players we're watching

Early games (1 p.m. ET)

QB Sam Bradford (ankle, doubtful): inactive
WR Deion Branch (groin, questionable): active
RB Michael Bush (shoulder, questionable): active
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (illness, questionable): active
RB Roy Helu (toe, questionable): inactive
RB Chris Johnson (ankle, questionable): active
TE Marcedes Lewis (hamstring, questionable): active
WR Mario Manningham (knee, doubtful): inactive
WR Wes Welker (knee, questionable): active
RB Beanie Wells (knee, questionable): active

Late games (4 p.m. ET)

WR Doug Baldwin (ankle, questionable): active
WR Vincent Jackson (groin, questionable): active
RB Felix Jones (hamstring, questionable): active
WR Laurent Robinson (shoulder, questionable): active

Updates/analysis (most recent first)

Laurent Robinson active (15:17 p.m. ET): ESPN's John Clayton reports that WR Laurent Robinson (shoulder, questionable) is active. He's third on the depth chart and plays the coordinating amount of snaps, but it still results in enough targets for him to be a viable No. 3 fantasy option. Barring your having a wealth of talented wideouts, keep Robinson active.

Braylon Edwards active (3:06 p.m. ET): The San Francisco 49ers' official Twitter feed reports that WR Braylon Edwards (knee) is active. He's not involved enough in the passing game to warrant using outside of the very deepest fantasy leagues.

Doug Baldwin active (2:55 p.m. ET): Mike Sando of ESPN's NFC West Blog reports that WR Doug Baldwin (ankle, questionable) is active for the Seahawks. Baldwin could manage enough targets to be a handy No. 3/4 option in deeper leagues, but the emergence of Golden Tate should temper your expectations somewhat.

Felix Jones active (2:51 p.m. ET): Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com reports that RB Felix Jones (hamstring, questionable) is active for the Cowboys. MacMahon goes on to point out, however, that Jones won't necessary play, pending the results of Giants-Jets. Jones' owners shouldn't expect a hefty workload either way, and Sammy Morris actually seems the stronger choice if you must choose from this backfield. Consider him a desperation flex play, if you need help there.

Asante Samuel inactive (2:48 p.m. ET): The Philadelphia Eagles' official Twitter feed reports that CB Asante Samuel (hamstring, out) is inactive.

Patrick Willis inactive (2:47 p.m. ET): The San Francisco 49ers' official Twitter feed reports that LB Patrick Willis (hamstring) is inactive. His IDP owners are unfortunate to lose him at such a critical time of the season.

Vincent Jackson active (2:32 p.m. ET): The San Diego Chargers' official Twitter feed reports that WR Vincent Jackson (groin, questionable) is active. The team also reports that Jackson "looked good in warmups," which offers encouragement to the owners who risked waiting until the 4 p.m. ET games to use him. If you did, you lucked out, and clearly you'll use him.

Kevin Smith active (2:29 p.m. ET): Tim Twentyman of the Detroit Lions reports that RB Kevin Smith (ankle) is active. He'll start and get the bulk of the carries facing the Chargers. Consider Smith a low-end No. 2/high-end flex.

Ben Roethlisberger active (12:14 p.m. ET): The Pittsburgh Steelers' official Twitter feed reports that QB Ben Roethlisberger (ankle, questionable) is active. He's merely dressing for emergency purposes; Charlie Batch will get the start. Downgrade all members of the Steelers' passing game as a result.

A.J. Green active (12:12 p.m. ET): The Cincinnati Bengals' official Twitter feed reports that WR A.J. Green (shoulder, probable) is active. He's a near top-10 fantasy wide receiver this week, after getting cleared to play late in the week.

Anquan Boldin inactive (12:09 p.m. ET): The Baltimore Ravens' official Twitter feed reports that WR Anquan Boldin (knee, out) is inactive. Lee Evans will get the start in his place, though he's not a recommended fantasy fill-in.

Billy Cundiff inactive (12:08 p.m. ET): The Baltimore Ravens' official Twitter feed reports that K Billy Cundiff (left calf, doubtful) is inactive. Shayne Graham will serve as the Ravens' placekicker this week.

Willis McGahee active (12:05 p.m. ET): The Denver Broncos' official Twitter feed reports that RB Willis McGahee (hamstring, probable) is active. His matchup against the Bills is outstanding and his promising practice reports late in the week restore our faith in him. Consider McGahee a possible top-10 fantasy running back this week.

Scott Chandler active (12:03 p.m. ET): The Buffalo Bills' official Twitter feed reports that TE Scott Chandler (ankle, probable) is active. The Bills' injuries at wide receiver have actually caused Chandler to play more snaps and garner more targets in the passing game in recent, healthy games. He's a lower-end sleeper at the position.

Mario Manningham inactive (11:58 a.m. ET): Pat Hanlon of the New York Giants reports that WR Mario Manningham (knee, doubtful) is inactive. You might think this a serious negative for the Giants' passing game and Eli Manning, but it's not necessarily the case. It actually cleans up the targets for the wide receivers; Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks will each get a few more, and that helps increase faith in them going up against the rock-solid Jets defense.

Marcedes Lewis active (11:56 a.m. ET): The Jacksonville Jaguars' official Twitter feed reports that TE Marcedes Lewis (hamstring, questionable) is active. He hasn't been a reliable fantasy option all year, his rookie quarterback largely responsible for his decreased production, so why expect a breakout to come now? Lewis is a mere low-end No. 2 fantasy tight end.

Beanie Wells active (11:53 a.m. ET): Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that RB Beanie Wells (knee, questionable) is active for the Cardinals. He has been pretty productive recently in spite of his frequent injury-report appearances; consider Wells a high-end No. 2 fantasy running back.

Sam Bradford inactive (11:49 a.m. ET): The St. Louis Rams' official Twitter feed reports that QB Sam Bradford (ankle, doubtful) is inactive. With QB A.J. Feeley (right thumb, out) also sidelined, Kellen Clemens will get another start at quarterback. Downgrade all your Rams players as a result, even Brandon Lloyd, who is more of a high-end No. 3 fantasy wide receiver than a clear start.

Deion Branch active (11:48 a.m. ET): ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss reports that WR Deion Branch (groin, questionable) is active for the Patriots. Branch's recent injury issues temper his fantasy appeal, but against the Dolphins, a matchup in which the Patriots at a team have historically experienced much success via the pass, he could be a No. 3/4 option in deeper leagues.

Michael Bush active (11:46 a.m. ET): The Oakland Raiders' official Twitter feed reports that RB Michael Bush (shoulder, questionable) is active. He'll get another start, this one against the Chiefs. Keep in mind that Bush managed 99 yards on 17 carries in relief against this defense in Week 7, so it's clear he still belongs in any fantasy lineup.

Chris Johnson active (11:44 a.m. ET): The Tennessee Titans' official Twitter feed reports that RB Chris Johnson (ankle, questionable) is active. He's coming off a terribly disappointing performance against a far weaker defense than this one against the Jaguars. Add in the limited practice week and Johnson is more of a No. 2 fantasy option than a clear starter.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis active (11:42 a.m. ET): ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss reports that RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (illness, questionable) is active for the Patriots. He wasn't ever expected to sit; the worry is that the Patriots don't always give him a consistently high number of carries. Regard Green-Ellis a flex play.

Wes Welker active (11:40 a.m. ET): ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss reports that WR Wes Welker (knee, questionable) is active for the Patriots. No shock here; the Patriots did a bit of injury-report shenanigans this week but Welker always appeared likely to play. He has an outstanding history against his former team, and is an obvious top-10 play.

Roy Helu inactive (11:35 a.m. ET): ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that RB Roy Helu (toe, questionable) is inactive for the Redskins. Evan Royster should get the start for the Redskins, not that he's a recommended fantays fill-in. Expect the team to go pass-heavy, especially accounting for the matchup against the Vikings. Bump up Rex Grossman and his wide receivers, rather than expecting a big day from Royster.