Commentary

Week 17 inactives

Updated: January 1, 2012, 7:13 PM ET
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN.com

Welcome to Week 17. 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 inactives, click here for John Clayton's report.

Ruled out before Sunday: TE Jake Ballard (knee), RB Jackie Battle (foot), RB Reggie Bush (knee), QB Jason Campbell (collarbone), WR Randall Cobb (groin), RB Mark Ingram (toe), WR Greg Jennings (knee), QB Peyton Manning (neck), QB Colt McCoy (head), RB Darren McFadden (foot), WR Lance Moore (hamstring), WR Legedu Naanee (foot), WR Jordan Norwood (head), K Dave Rayner (left groin), WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring), QB Brad Smith (hamstring), RB James Starks (knee), TE Delanie Walker (jaw).

Top players we're watching

Early games (1 p.m. ET)

RB Marion Barber (calf, doubtful): inactive
WR Deion Branch (groin, questionable): active
TE Dallas Clark (neck, questionable): active
RB Roy Helu (toe, questionable): active
RB Chris Johnson (ankle, questionable): active
RB LeSean McCoy (ankle, questionable): inactive
QB Aaron Rodgers (rest for playoffs): inactive
RB Arian Foster (knee, probable): inactive
WR Wes Welker (knee, questionable): active

Late games (4 p.m. ET)

WR Anquan Boldin (knee, doubtful): inactive
WR Jacoby Ford (foot, questionable): active
QB Kevin Kolb (head, questionable): inactive
RB Ryan Mathews (calf, questionable): inactive
RB Beanie Wells (knee, questionable): inactive
RB Michael Turner (groin, probable): active

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

RB Felix Jones (hamstring, questionable): active

Updates/analysis (most recent first)

Felix Jones active (7:10 p.m. ET): Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com reports that RB Felix Jones (hamstring, questionable) is active for the Cowboys. It's all-hands-on-deck for this critical NFC East showdown, so don't let Jones' questionable tag scare you off his considerable fantasy appeal. He's a solid No. 2, perhaps even a top-10 candidate for the week.

Laurent Robinson active (7:10 p.m. ET): Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com reports that WR Laurent Robinson (shoulder, probable) is active. Though he's now the Cowboys' No. 3 wideout, Robinson still gets targeted nearly as often as some of the game's lesser No. 1s or No. 2s. Keep him in there.

Osi Umenyiora active (7:07 p.m. ET): Pat Hanlon of the New York Giants reports that DE Osi Umenyiora (ankle, questionable) is active.

Mario Manningham active (7:07 p.m. ET): Pat Hanlon of the New York Giants reports that WR Mario Manningham (knee, probable) is active. He's third in the pecking order but the Giants are also without their top tight end this week; Manningham should be targeted enough to be of help as a No. 3 fantasy wide receiver.

Hakeem Nicks active (7:07 p.m. ET): Pat Hanlon of the New York Giants reports that WR Hakeem Nicks (hamstring, probable) is active. He should be a mainstay in any fantasy lineup.

Arrelious Benn inactive (3:00 p.m. ET): The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' official Twitter feed reports that WR Arrelious Benn (neck, questionable) is inactive. Dezmon Briscoe will start and might see a few extra targets this week.

Patrick Peterson active (2:59 p.m. ET): Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic reports that CB Patrick Peterson (Achilles', questionable) is active for the Cardinals.

Jacoby Ford active (2:58 p.m. ET): The Oakland Raiders' official Twitter feed reports that WR Jacoby Ford (foot, questionable) is active. He'll return to his role as slot receiver, but after six missed games, Ford might not be a significant part of the game plan this week. Only consider him a hail-mary option in deeper leagues.

Julio Jones active (2:53 p.m. ET): The Atlanta Falcons' official Twitter feed reports that WR Julio Jones (ankle, probable) is active. Jones will apparently start, but will he finish the contest? The same things said for Turner apply to Jones and the other Falcons starters.

Michael Turner active (2:53 p.m. ET): The Atlanta Falcons' official Twitter feed reports that RB Michael Turner (groin, probable) is active. With the Lions trailing in their game, this game might actually matter for the Falcons in terms of seeding. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, the outcome of that game might go right up to kickoff of the Falcons' contest, so there is still a chance Turner might not be needed at all if the team is locked in at the six seed. Understand the risk going in.

Kevin Kolb inactive (2:51 p.m. ET): Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic reports that QB Kevin Kolb (head, questionable) is inactive for the Cardinals. John Skelton will start again at quarterback, though he's merely a low-end No. 2 option in two-quarterback leagues.

Beanie Wells inactive (2:50 p.m. ET): Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic reports that RB Beanie Wells (knee, questionable) is inactive for the Cardinals. RB LaRod Stephens-Howling (hamstring, questionable) gets the start, though the Seahawks' defense presents a challenging matchup for him.

Antonio Gates active (2:46 p.m. ET): Christopher Smith of the San Diego Chargers reports that TE Antonio Gates (not injury related, probable) is active. The Chargers might not play Gates for as many snaps as usual, so be aware that there's more risk than usual in using him.

Vincent Jackson active (2:46 p.m. ET): Christopher Smith of the San Diego Chargers reports that WR Vincent Jackson (groin, probable) is active. He'll probably be removed from the game at a moment's notice if he suffers any flare-ups with the injury, so keep in mind that his downside is steep this week.

Mike Tolbert active (2:46 p.m. ET): Christopher Smith of the San Diego Chargers reports that RB Mike Tolbert (hamstring, probable) is active and will start. Tolbert's matchup against the Raiders is outstanding, and he should get a good share of carries with Ryan Mathews out. A case could be made in Week 17 than Tolbert might be a top-10 fantasy play now.

Ben Roethlisberger active (2:44 p.m. ET): Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports that QB Ben Roethlisberger (ankle, probable) is active for the Steelers. He's likely to play a limited number of snaps, however, so temper your expectations for him in fantasy. Roethlisberger is more of a two-quarterback league asset than one in a standard league.

Anquan Boldin inactive (2:42 p.m. ET): The Baltimore Ravens' official Twitter feed reports that WR Anquan Boldin (knee, doubtful) is inactive. Torrey Smith should once again be the team's No. 1 wideout; get him into your lineup as a No. 2/3 option.

Billy Cundiff active (2:42 p.m. ET): The Baltimore Ravens' official Twitter feed reports that K Billy Cundiff (left calf, questionable) is active. Shayne Graham, meanwhile, is inactive.

Ryan Mathews inactive (2:37 p.m. ET): Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that RB Ryan Mathews (calf, questionable) is inactive for the Chargers. No official word yet on RB Mike Tolbert (hamstring, probable), but one would think he'll be active and the team's starter.

Colt McCoy inactive (2:34 p.m. ET): Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports that QB Colt McCoy (head, out) is inactive for the Browns. Seneca Wallace will get another start, though facing such a treacherous matchup against a team battling for playoff seeding, he's not recommended in fantasy leagues.

Michael Turner (12:22 p.m. ET): RB Michael Turner (groin, probable) can probably play if the Falcons have something to play for, but if the Lions win versus a stripped-down Packers squad, the Falcons will be locked into the 6th seed, and it may behoove the Falcons to rest Turner.

Patrick Willis active (12:17 p.m. ET): Patrick Willis will start for the Niners on Sunday in St. Louis. The 49ers D/ST was already a solid play this week, given the matchup, but this makes it even more attractive. That said, it's worth noting that receiver and solid return man Ted Ginn Jr. (ankle, questionable) is inactive.

Roy Helu active (12:13 p.m. ET): RB Roy Helu (toe, questionable) is active and expected to start for the Redskins on Sunday. He should get a majority of the work and is a favorable start in most league setups.

Dallas Clark active (12:09 p.m. ET): Dallas Clark (ankle) is active after practicing fully on Friday, but it is very hard to trust him. He has three receptions for 33 yards in his past two games played, dating back to Nov. 6. Putting him in your lineup is a desperation move with a low probability of paying off.

Marion Barber inactive (12:04 p.m. ET) RB Marion Barber (calf, doubtful) will not play Sunday for the Bears. Kahlil Bell will start in Minnesota and should get a majority of the work, making him a pretty decent start in most league setups.

Wes Welker and Deion Branch active (12:03 p.m. ET): Both Wes Welker (knee) and Deion Branch (groin) will be active in a very attractive matchup with the Buffalo Bills secondary. Start them with confidance.

Chris Johnson active (12:03 p.m. ET): Chris Johnson (ankle) needs 14 yards to shed the nickname "CJ0K" for the season. The Texans may be looking for a win to gain momentum going into the playoffs, but Johnson will need to be part of any Tennessee winning formula. Start him if you normally would.

Andre Johnson active (12:01 p.m. ET): Texans receiver Andre Johnson (hamstring, probable) is active and will start for the team Sunday. However, he is expected to play only 15-20 plays, so fantasy owners might consider leaving him on their bench if they another viable option to replace him.

Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews Inactive (11:55 a.m. ET) Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews, both Packers star defensive playmakers, will not be available, making the Packers D/ST a poorer play, but also making the Lions' passing game that much more attractive.

Aaron Rodgers inactive (11:53 a.m. ET) Aaron Rodgers will not suit up, with Matt Flynn getting the start, but don't count out No. 3 quarterback Graham Harrell also taking some snaps, making Flynn a less-attractive start than he would otherwise be.

LeSean McCoy inactive (11:52 a.m. ET): RB LeSean McCoy (ankle, questionable) is somewhat of a surprise inactive for Sunday's game versus the Redskins; fantasy owners will have to scrap for an alternative. Ronnie Brown and Dion Lewis will share the workload in his stead.

Arian Foster inactive (11:45 a.m. ET): RB Arian Foster (knee, probable) is inactive for Sunday's game. He'll sit to rest his sore knee for the playoffs. Ben Tate will start in his place and makes for a favorable start versus the Titans.

Maurice Jones-Drew active (11:40 a.m. ET): RB Maurice Jones-Drew (ankle, probable) is active and will start for the Jaguars on Sunday. Start him, per usual. On a related note, starting tight end Marcedes Lewis (hamstring, probable) also is active.

Sam Bradford inactive (11:35 a.m. ET): QB Sam Bradford (ankle, doubtful) is inactive for Sunday's finale, as expected. So is his backup, A.J. Feeley (right thumb, doubtful). Kellen Clemens will make his third start at quarterback for the Rams, but he doesn't come recommended in fantasy.