Commentary

Week 3 inactives

Updated: September 29, 2012, 6:29 PM ET
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN.com

Welcome to Week 3 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 Sunday's NFL inactives, Click here.

Ruled out before Sunday: TE Kevin Boss (head), RB Matt Forte (ankle),
WR Pierre Garcon (foot), LB James Harrison (knee), TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle), RB Fred Jackson (knee), TE Dustin Keller (hamstring), WR Jeremy Maclin (hip), RB Rashard Mendenhall (knee), S Troy Polamalu (calf), DT Jay Ratliff (ankle), TE Alex Smith (head).

Top players we're watching

Early games (1 p.m. ET)

WR Marques Colston (foot, questionable): active
RB Steven Jackson (groin, questionable): active
RB Rashad Jennings (knee, doubtful): inactive
WR Dexter McCluster (shoulder, questionable): active

Late games (4 p.m. ET)

K Sebastian Janikowski (left groin, questionable): active
RB Ryan Mathews (shoulder, questionable): active

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

WR Brandon Lloyd (thigh, questionable): active
WR Torrey Smith (personal): active

Updates/analysis (most recent first)

Shane Vereen inactive (7:40 p.m. ET): The New England Patriots' official Twitter feed reports that RB Shane Vereen (foot, questionable) is inactive. That's three straight weeks for the backup sitting, and it further presents Stevan Ridley to lock up the lion's share of the Patriots' backfield for the long haul.

Torrey Smith active (7:37 p.m. ET): The Baltimore Ravens' official Twitter feed reports that WR Torrey Smith is active. He's our No. 28 fantasy wideout for the week, and if you waited this long on him, naturally you're going to use him.

Brandon Lloyd active (7:37 p.m. ET): The New England Patriots' official Twitter feed reports that WR Brandon Lloyd (thigh, questionable) is active. Fantasy owners who waited upon him in the hopes he wouldn't be scratched can rest easy now. We've ranked Lloyd our No. 20 wideout for the weeek.

Heath Miller active (3:12 p.m. ET): The Oakland Raiders' -- the Steelers' opponent -- Twitter feed reports that TE Heath Miller (abdomen, probable) is active for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He's our No. 19 fantasy tight end for the week, involved enough in the passing game to make a low-level impact, but not enough to warrant consideration outside of the deepest of leagues.

Jonathan Dwyer active (3:12 p.m. ET): The Oakland Raiders' -- the Steelers' opponent -- Twitter feed reports that RB Jonathan Dwyer (toe, probable) is active for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He'll probably get the bulk of the carries what with Rashard Mendenhall inactive yet again. Dwyer hasn't impressed through two games, however, and we've ranked him our No. 34 fantasy running back for the week accordingly.

Mike Wallace active (3:12 p.m. ET): The Oakland Raiders' -- the Steelers' opponent -- Twitter feed reports that WR Mike Wallace (groin, probable) is active for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He's our No. 12 wideout for the week, facing a mediocre Raiders secondary.

Taiwan Jones active (3:09 p.m. ET): The Oakland Raiders' official Twitter feed reports that RB Taiwan Jones (ribs, questionable) is active. He'll continue to share backup chores with Mike Goodson, and with the two nursing injuries it might a somewhat even, meaningless split.

Mike Goodson active (3:06 p.m. ET): The Oakland Raiders' official Twitter feed reports that RB Mike Goodson (hamstring, questionable) is active. He was a real risk to sit, but the Raiders might still tone down his workload accounting for his injury anyway. As Goodson is merely a backup right now, he's not on the fantasy radar.

Sebastian Janikowski active (3:06 p.m. ET): The Oakland Raiders' official Twitter feed reports that K Sebastian Janikowski (left groin, questionable) is active. He's a top-10 fantasy kicker -- we ranked him eighth -- who wasn't any serious threat to sit, not with the Raiders lacking a viable alternative on their active roster. Consider it injury report shenanigans, the team trying to throw off its opponent.

Brian Cushing active (2:59 p.m. ET): The Houston Texans' official Twitter feed reports that LB Brian Cushing (ribs, probable) is active. He's Jim McCormick's No. 12 linebacker for the week, and Cushing is a fine option at the position in any IDP league.

Knowshon Moreno inactive (2:56 p.m. ET): The Denver Broncos' official Twitter feed reports that RB Knowshon Moreno is inactive. He is a healthy scratch, leaving Ronnie Hillman as the primary backup to Willis McGahee in what will be Hillman's NFL debut. McGahee's owners should be pleased; this is assurance that he'll get the vast majority of the carries.

John Abraham active (2:49 p.m. ET): The Atlanta Falcons' official Twitter feed reports that DE John Abraham (knee, probable) is active. He is Jim McCormick's No. 22 defensive back for the week, making him worth a look in larger IDP formats.

Julio Jones active (2:49 p.m. ET): The Atlanta Falcons' official Twitter feed reports that WR Julio Jones (thigh, probable) is active. He's our No. 2 fantasy wideout for the week, a talent who rises above matchups. Make sure to get him into all your lineups.

Roddy White active (2:49 p.m. ET): The Atlanta Falcons' official Twitter feed reports that WR Roddy White (knee, probable) is active. This is a pass-happy Falcons attack, and White has historically been a target monster. We rank him sixth for the week.

Sean Weatherspoon active (2:49 p.m. ET): The Atlanta Falcons' official Twitter feed reports that LB Sean Weatherspoon (thigh, questionable) is active. He's Jim McCormick's No. 8 linebacker for the week, making him a clear fantasy starter in all formats despite his questionable tag.

Stephen Nicholas active (2:49 p.m. ET): The Atlanta Falcons' official Twitter feed reports that LB Stephen Nicholas (thigh, probable) is active. He's Jim McCormick's No. 30 linebacker, so take a look if you're in a pinch at the position in IDP formats.

Beanie Wells active (2:45 p.m. ET): The Arizona Cardinals' official Twitter feed reports that RB Beanie Wells (knee, probable) is active. He and Ryan Williams will share the Cardinals' carries to some degree, with Wells the one with greater odds of the larger share, but this is a mediocre matchup that explains our No. 32 ranking of him for the week.

Ryan Williams active (2:45 p.m. ET): The Arizona Cardinals' official Twitter feed reports that RB Ryan Williams (knee, probable) is active. He has performed horribly in the season's first two weeks and now faces a poor matchup. He's a weak choice even from your flex spot.

Todd Heap inactive (2:45 p.m. ET): The Arizona Cardinals' official Twitter feed reports that TE Todd Heap (knee, questionable) is inactive. The Cardinals so rarely use their tight ends in the passing game, and Heap has been a non-factor in fantasy for some time. He doesn't belong on any rosters.

DeSean Jackson active (2:44 p.m. ET): The Philadelphia Eagles' official Twitter feed reports that WR DeSean Jackson (hamstring, probable) is active. He was never expected to sit, and with WR Jeremy Maclin (hip, out) inactive -- he was previously declared out -- Jackson should take on a go-to-guy role in the passing game. We ranked Jackson our No. 21 wideout, but he might warrant clear WR2 status with Adrian Wilson sidelined for the Cardinals.

Ronnie Brown inactive (2:40 p.m. ET): Michael Gehiken of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that RB Ronnie Brown is inactive for the San Diego Chargers. This is a healthy-scratch decision, and with Ryan Mathews healthy it makes sense. Brown was so-so at best as Mathews' fill-in, and he's not even a recommended handcuff stash at this point.

Antonio Gates active (2:40 p.m. ET): Michael Gehiken of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that TE Antonio Gates (ribs, probable) is active for the San Diego Chargers. He's well worth having in any fantasy lineup, having earned our No. 6 ranking among tight ends this week.

Ryan Mathews active (2:40 p.m. ET): Michael Gehiken of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that RB Ryan Mathews (shoulder, questionable) is active for the San Diego Chargers. He was expected to play all week, the only question being how extensive his role. As a group we ranked Mathews the No. 14 running back, which is RB2 status. I had him somewhat lower, and call him a low-end RB2 at best, being that he might not breeze past 15 touches.

Adrian Wilson inactive (2:38 p.m. ET): The Arizona Cardinals' official Twitter feed reports that S Adrian Wilson (ankle, questionable) is inactive. This is a blow to the Cardinals' pass defense, and it should cause fantasy owners to temper some of their enthusiasm about this hot-starting defensive unit. Remember, the Eagles have playmakers on offense, so there could be a steep points-allowed penalty coming here.

Brandon Jacobs inactive (12:10 p.m. ET): The San Francisco 49ers' official Twitter feed reports that RB Brandon Jacobs (knee, questionable) is inactive. He continues to work his way back slowly from his knee injury, and he shouldn't be anywhere near fantasy lineups anytime soon, being that he'll have to work his way back in as a backup even when healthy.

Darrelle Revis active (12:08 p.m. ET): The New York Jets' official Twitter feed reports that CB Darrelle Revis (concussion, probable) is active. There was some question earlier in the week whether Revis would sit, but he returned to practice late in the week and is a go. This is a negative for members of the Dolphins' passing game, though fantasy owners shouldn't have wanted any of them anyway.

Donnie Avery to start (12:05 p.m. ET): Phillip B. Wilson of the Indianapolis Star reports that Donnie Avery will get the start for the Colts, despite the fact that Austin Collie is active. It's the right call; Avery performed well enough in Collie's absence to warrant an expanded role. We ranked Avery our No. 37 fantasy wideout for the week, and this news supports that rank despite Collie's active status.

Leonard Hankerson to start (12:03 p.m. ET): The Washington Redskins' official Twitter feed confirms that WR Pierre Garcon (foot, doubtful) is inactive, and ESPN980 AM in Washington reports that Leonard Hankerson will start at the "X" spot in Week 3. That puts Hankerson higher in the ranks of hail-mary plays for fantasy than Aldrick Robinson, especially being that Hankerson is in position to exploit the Bengals' mediocre and injury-riddled secondary.

Joshua Cribbs active (12:02 p.m. ET): The Cleveland Browns' official Twitter feed reports that WR Josh Cribbs (knee, questionable) is active. He has been a total non-factor on offense through two weeks, being used almost exclusively on returns. Unless your league rewards for return yards, Cribbs is a no-go.

Javon Ringer inactive (12:00 p.m. ET): The Tennessee Titans' official Twitter feed reports that RB Javon Ringer (elbow, questionable) is inactive. Despite his full practice week, Ringer will sit for another week. Darius Reynaud will most likely serve as the Titans' little-used backup once again.

Julius Peppers active (11:57 a.m. ET): The Chicago Bears' official Twitter feed reports that DE Julius Peppers (foot, probable) is active. He's Jim McCormick's No. 4 defensive lineman for the week, making him a top option in IDP formats.

Daniel Thomas active (11:56 a.m. ET): The Miami Dolphins' official Twitter feed reports that RB Daniel Thomas (concussion, probable) is active. The question, however, is to what extent he'll be involved in a backup role, comparative to Lamar Miller? Neither should garner a healthy number of touches, and with some degree of split possible, both should be avoided.

Calvin Johnson active (11:54 a.m. ET): The Detroit Lions' official Twitter feed reports that WR Calvin Johnson (ankle, probable) is active. Of course he's active, it was never in doubt. And he's a must in all fantasy leagues, our No. 1 ranked wideout facing the reeling Titans pass D.

Mikel Leshoure gets the start (11:46 a.m. ET): The Detroit Lions' official Twitter feed as well as the team's own Tim Twentyman report that RB Mikel Leshoure will get the start in Week 3. This isn't entirely unexpected; there were whispers of a 15-touch workload for Leshoure earlier in the week. We ranked Leshoure the No. 35 running back for the week, making him only a borderline flex play, because it's smarter for owners to keep him benched and evaluate him for a week, considering this is a pass-heavy offense facing a miserable pass defense besides. It's damning news for Kevin Smith, however, and perhaps he deserved worse than the No. 25 rank. I'd lower him a good 10 spots from my own No. 27 rank with this news, moving Leshoure up into the back of the top 30.

Austin Collie active (11:44 a.m. ET): The Indianapolis Colts' official Twitter feed reports that WR Austin Collie (head, probable) is active. Kudos to Collie for making a swift recovery from his concussion problems, but we didn't rank him for the week because this is more of a bench-and-evaluate circumstance than one we recommend in fantasy. Perhaps owners in a pinch could take a look at him as a WR5; the reason I don't recommend that is the Jaguars' pass defense has played well the first two weeks.

Steven Jackson active (11:41 a.m. ET): The St. Louis Rams' official Twitter feed reports that RB Steven Jackson (groin, questionable) is active. This is huge news for Jackson's fantasy owners, who had to sweat this game-time decision right down to the pregame warmups. Jackson is one of the grittier players in the league, though, which is why we as a group ranked him our No. 23 fantasy running back, a testament to his ability to play through the pain. He might not be his usual self this week, but he'll likely get enough touches to warrant RB2 status at this point.

Jason Witten active (11:39 a.m. ET): The Dallas Cowboys' official Twitter feed reports that TE Jason Witten (abdomen, probable) is active. He's edging ever closer to 100 percent, and is once again a viable top-10 fantasy tight end in all formats. We've ranked him No. 8 at the position for the week.

Miles Austin active (11:39 a.m. ET): The Dallas Cowboys' official Twitter feed reports that WR Miles Austin (hamstring, probable) is active. He's our No. 8 fantasy wideout for the week; remember that the Giants just slaughtered this Buccaneers defense for more than 500 yards via the air in Week 2.

Sean Lee active (11:39 a.m. ET): The Dallas Cowboys' official Twitter feed reports that LB Sean Lee (hip, probable) is active. He's Jim McCormick's No. 2 linebacker for the week, making him a solid start in all IDP formats.

DeMarcus Ware active (11:39 a.m. ET): The Dallas Cowboys' official Twitter feed reports that LB DeMarcus Ware (hamstring, probable) is active. He's Jim McCormick's No. 15 linebacker for the week, solidifying his status as a useful No. 2 option in IDP leagues.

Trent Richardson active (11:37 a.m. ET): The Cleveland Browns' official Twitter feed reports that RB Trent Richardson (knee, probable) is active. He's our No. 15 running back for the week, meaning clear RB2 consideration facing the Bills.

Roman Harper active (11:35 a.m. ET): The New Orleans Saints' official Twitter feed reports that S Roman Harper (wrist, probable) is active. He's Jim McCormick's No. 4 defensive back for the week, making him a solid start in all IDP formats.

Drew Brees active (11:35 a.m. ET): The New Orleans Saints' official Twitter feed reports that QB Drew Brees (ankle, probable) is active. Brees was never threat to sit, and in a home game against a reeling defense, he's easily understandable as our No. 1 quarterback for the week. ESPN's Rachel Nichols, however, reports that Brees will play with his ankle heavily taped.

Dexter McCluster active (11:33 a.m. ET): The Kansas City Chiefs' official Twitter feed reports that WR Dexter McCluster (shoulder, questionable) is active. McCluster, to this point of the season, hasn't been getting the volume of touches necessary to make a fantasy impact. That tempers any possible enthusiasm surrounding this favorable-on-paper matchup for Chiefs offensive players, and it explains our No. 38 ranking (among running backs) of McCluster.

Rashad Jennings inactive (11:32 a.m. ET): The Jacksonville Jaguars' official Twitter feed reports that RB Rashad Jennings (knee, doubtful) is inactive. His absence won't send many waves through the fantasy world, as it took Maurice Jones-Drew only a week this season to recapture his full-time, workhorse-back role.

Blaine Gabbert active (11:30 a.m. ET): The Jacksonville Jaguars' official Twitter feed reports that QB Blaine Gabbert (glute, probable) is active. Despite his occasional positive signs in the season's first two weeks, Gabbert still has a lot to prove before he can be deemed "trustworthy" in fantasy. Only regard him a desperation No. 2 option in two-quarterback leagues, and we'll point out that we did not rank him for the week.

Marques Colston active (11:28 a.m. ET): ESPN's Rachel Nichols reports that WR Marques Colston (foot, questionable) is active for the New Orleans Saints. Colston wasn't a serious threat to miss this week's game, but the report is an encouraging one nevertheless for his fantasy owners. We ranked Colston our No. 18 wideout for the week, meaning he's a clear WR2.

Jairus Byrd active (11:25 a.m. ET): The Buffalo Bills' official Twitter feed reports that S Jairus Byrd (ankle, questionable) is active. He is Jim McCormick's No. 22 defensive back for the week.

Nick Barnett active (11:26 a.m. ET): The Buffalo Bills' official Twitter feed reports that LB Nick Barnett (knee, probable) is active. He's Jim McCormick's No. 17 ranked linebacker for the week.

Torrey Smith's status for Sunday Night Football unclear (11:22 p.m. ET): ESPN's Sal Paolantonio reports that WR Torrey Smith (personal) might be unavailable for Sunday Night Football following the death of his brother in a motorcycle accident early Sunday morning. Smith told coach Jim Harbaugh that he still wants to play, but the team will leave the decision to Smith. Our condolences to Smith. Fantasy owners making early preparations should keep this news in mind.

Pierre Garcon out (10:32 a.m. ET): ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that WR Pierre Garcon (foot, doubtful) is out for the Washington Redskins. Fantasy owners' should've been preparing for Garcon's inactive status anyway; he was listed as doubtful. His absence, however, slightly tempers the monstrous upside of QB Robert Griffin III's matchup, as the rookie had a passer rating of 139.9 with Garcon active in Week 1 but 86.3 with Garcon out in Week 2 (also keeping in mind the differential in those matchups). Griffin is still well worthy of having active this week, but it might be more difficult for him to put forth a week-topping, perhaps season-topping, point total even against the woeful Bengals D.