Commentary

Week 5 inactives

Updated: October 7, 2012, 7:29 PM ET
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN.com

Welcome to Week 5 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 complete list of NFL inactives, click here.

Ruled out before Sunday: WR Ramses Barden (concussion), WR Julian Edelman (hand), RB Peyton Hillis (ankle), WR Greg Jennings (groin), K Nate Kaeding (right groin), QB Jake Locker (left shoulder), WR Mohamed Massaquoi (hamstring), WR Lance Moore (hamstring), WR Hakeem Nicks (foot), WR Laurent Robinson (concussion), TE Alex Smith (head)

Top players we're watching

Early games (1 p.m. ET)

TE Coby Fleener (head, questionable): active
RB Rashard Mendenhall (knee, probable): active

Late games (4 p.m. ET)

RB Brandon Bolden (knee, questionable): active
WR Kenny Britt (ankle, questionable): active
TE Rob Gronkowski (hip, questionable): active
TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle, questionable): inactive

Updates/analysis (most recent first)

Roman Harper active (7:28 p.m. ET): The New Orleans Saints' official Twitter feed reports that S Roman Harper (hip, questionable) is active. Harper is Jim McCormick's No. 1 defensive back for the week, so despite the questionable tag, he's well worth slotting into any IDP lineup.

Navorro Bowman active (3:17 p.m. ET): The San Francisco 49ers' official Twitter feed reports that LB NaVorro Bowman (shoulder, probable) is active. He's Jim McCormick's No. 2 linebacker for the week, and should be a mainstay in any IDP lineup.

Brandon Jacobs inactive (3:17 p.m. ET): The San Francisco 49ers' official Twitter feed reports that RB Brandon Jacobs (knee, questionable) is inactive. Jacobs continues to struggle with knee issues, and he'll require another week to heal.

Jairus Byrd active (3:16 p.m. ET): The Buffalo Bills' official Twitter feed reports that S Jairus Byrd (hip, questionable) is active. He's Jim McCormick's No. 12 defensive back, making him a solid No. 2 option in IDP formats.

Scott Chandler active (3:16 p.m. ET): The Buffalo Bills' official Twitter feed reports that TE Scott Chandler (head, probable) is active. Chandler's fantasy value is tied up in his touchdown potential, so he's a tad too shaky to be regarded a top-10 option at his position. Going up against the stingy 49ers, he's our No. 14 tight end for the week.

Jared Allen active (3:14 p.m. ET): The Minnesota Vikings' official Twitter feed reports that DE Jared Allen (groin, probable) is active. He's Jim McCormick's No. 2 defensive lineman for the week, and a top option in IDP formats.

Christian Ponder active (3:14 p.m. ET): The Minnesota Vikings' official Twitter feed reports that QB Christian Ponder (knee, probable) is active. He's our No. 15 quarterback for the week, and a solid fill-in/two-quarterback-league option, going up against the awful Titans pass defense.

Antoine Winfield active (3:14 p.m. ET): The Minnesota Vikings' official Twitter feed reports that CB Antoine Winfield (knee, probable) is active. He's Jim McCormick's No. 21 defensive back this week, not only accounting for his skills, but also opportunities; remember that the Vikings' defensive weakness is the pass, meaning opponents will throw more often against them.

Kenny Britt active (3:06 p.m. ET): The Tennessee Titans' official Twitter feed reports that WR Kenny Britt (ankle, questionable) is active. He's probably playing at less than 100 percent, and his matchup isn't the most favorable. He's our No. 50 wideout for the week, and more hail-mary play than anything, but most of the reason is his questionable health. Hey, he's active, at least.

Jared Cook active (3:06 p.m. ET): The Tennessee Titans' official Twitter feed reports that TE Jared Cook (shoulder, probable) is active. He's our No. 16 tight end this week, as we'd like to see more targets for Cook before we give him a healthier ranking.

Knowshon Moreno inactive (3:01 p.m. ET): The Denver Broncos' official Twitter feed reports that RB Knowshon Moreno is inactive. He's a healthy scratch yet again, showing how little stock Moreno has in his own backfield, let alone in fantasy, these days.

Brandon Bolden active (3:01 p.m. ET): The New England Patriots' official Twitter feed reports that RB Brandon Bolden (knee, questionable) is active. It's difficult to predict how Bill Belichick will dole out his team's rushing attempts in any given week, but our guess is that Bolden will figure as more of a backup/short-yardage type than any serious threat to Stevan Ridley's carries. We've ranked Bolden 32nd among running backs accordingly.

Rob Gronkowski active (3:00 p.m. ET): The New England Patriots' official Twitter feed reports that TE Rob Gronkowski (hip, questionable) is active. His "questionable" tag might have his fantasy owners a little iffier about him than usual, but Gronkowski remains a critical part of the Patriots' pass attack, not to mention one of the most reliable players in all of fantasy. With him active, our No. 2 ranking of him among tight ends becomes all the more firm.

Aaron Hernandez inactive (2:58 p.m. ET): The New England Patriots' official Twitter feed reports that TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle, questionable) is inactive. He's edging ever nearer to returning, but the Patriots apparently opted to play it safe with Hernandez for one more week.

Marshawn Lynch active (2:51 p.m. ET): The Seattle Seahawks' official Twitter feed reports that RB Marshawn Lynch (not injury related, probable) is active. He wasn't going to sit, despite his listing on the injury report. Lynch's matchup is a dream, against a poor and injury-plagued Panthers front seven. It's no surprise that he's our No. 3 running back for the week.

Matt Forte active (2:40 p.m. ET): ESPN's John Clayton reports that RB Matt Forte (ankle, probable) is active for the Chicago Bears. He'll get the start, the only real knock on his fantasy value in a favorable matchup against the Jaguars being the threat of Michael Bush stealing his goal-line carries. That'd be the case in any week, though, and considering the Jaguars have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs thus far, we're confident enough in Forte to rank him our No. 10 running back.

Julius Peppers active (2:40 p.m. ET): ESPN's John Clayton reports that DE Julius Peppers (ankle, probable) is active for the Chicago Bears. He's Jim McCormick's No. 5 defensive lineman for the week, underscoring Peppers' value in IDP leagues. Get him in there.

Jon Beason inactive (2:37 p.m. ET): The Carolina Panthers' official Twitter feed reports that LB Jon Beason (knee, doubtful) is inactive. He wasn't expected to play, having been listed as doubtful, but his official absence is a huge plus for Marshawn Lynch. Lynch is an effective must-play against the Panthers' brutal front seven.

Chris Gamble inactive (2:37 p.m. ET): The Carolina Panthers' official Twitter feed reports that CB Chris Gamble (shoulder, doubtful) is inactive

James Starks inactive (12:08 p.m. ET): The Green Bay Packers' official Twitter feed reports that RB James Starks is inactive. This is a healthy scratch; it's a little unexpected being that Starks appeared on track to play this week. He's quickly losing his shot to carve out any role of significance in the Packers' backfield, and those still stashing him in larger leagues might want to reconsider.

Jonathan Dwyer inactive (12:06 p.m. ET): The Pittsburgh Steelers' official Twitter feed reports that RB Jonathan Dwyer is inactive. As Dwyer was not listed on the injury report this week, having previously been nursing a toe issue, this is merely a healthy scratch. It's a bit telling about the Steelers' backfield pecking order, meaning Isaac Redman is the handcuff to own for Rashard Mendenhall owners.

Ryan Grant active (12:02 p.m. ET): The Washington Redskins' official Twitter feed reports that RB Ryan Grant is active. It will be Grant's Redskins debut, and the one reason it's a relevant report is that th at the ever-unpredictable Mike Shanahan coaches the team. Grant's role is unclear, but he'll almost assuredly be either the No. 2 or 3 (behind Evan Royster) option behind starter Alfred Morris. Morris' fantasy owners should panic as it pertains to Week 5 lineups; they should, however, be closely monitoring the Redskins' backfield. As they should every week.

Reggie Bush active (11:54 a.m. ET): The Miami Dolphins' official Twitter feed reports that RB Reggie Bush (hip, probable) is active. Despite the team's lofty passing numbers last week, the Dolphins' offense still funnels through Reggie Bush. He's our No. 8 running back for the week going up against a Bengals defense that has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing running backs thus far.

Ryan Tannehill active (11:54 a.m. ET): The Miami Dolphins' official Twitter feed reports that QB Ryan Tannehill (right thumb, probable) is active. Don't expect numbers like Tannehill's in Week 4 every game. Still, we ranked Tannehill our No. 20 quarterback this week, partly because he faces a favorable matchup agianst the Bengals, but mostly because this is a week with four byes, thinning the player pool. In two-quarterback leagues, take a look.

Torrey Smith active (11:54 a.m. ET): The Baltimore Ravens' official Twitter feed reports that WR Torrey Smith (ankle, probable) is active. His matchup took a bit of a hit when the opposing Chiefs reported CB Brandon Flowers active, but Flowers was limited in practice this week and between him and Stanford Routt, the Chiefs' corners haven't performed that well in four weeks so far. Smith's matchup is a solid one; he's our No. 16 wideout for the week.

Derrick Johnson active (11:54 a.m. ET): The Kansas City Chiefs' official Twitter feed reports that LB Derrick Johnson (groin, questionable) is active. Johnson is Jim McCormick's No. 3 linebacker for the week, and he ranks among the best in IDP formats.

Trent Richardson active (11:49 a.m. ET): The Cleveland Browns' official Twitter feed reports that RB Trent Richardson (not injury related, probable) is active. He's tne Browns' only trustworthy fantasy player, certain to get a healthy number of carries every week. Richardson is our No. 9 fantasy running back for the week, so keep him active against the Giants.

T.J. Ward active (11:49 a.m. ET): The Cleveland Browns' official Twitter feed reports that S T.J. Ward (hand, questionable) is active. He's Jim McCormick's No. 10 defensive back for the week, making him one of the better options in IDP formats.

Julio Jones active (11:45 a.m. ET): The Atlanta Falcons' official Twitter feed reports that WR Julio Jones (hand, probable) is active. He wasn't any serious threat to sit, and matches up tremendously against the Redskins' poor pass defense. We ranked Jones our No. 7 fantasy wideout for the week; that's a solid start in all formats.

William Moore active (11:45 a.m. ET): The Atlanta Falcons' official Twitter feed reports that S William Moore (hip, questionable) is active. He's Jim McCormick's No. 8 defensive back for the week, making him a mainstay in any IDP lineup.

Coby Fleener active (11:39 a.m. ET): Phillip B. Wilson of the Indianapolis Star reports that TE Coby Fleener (head, questionable) is active for the Colts. Fleener has been one of Andrew Luck's more preferable targets in the season's early weeks, but his injury issues put a cloud over his fantasy value for the immediate future. We ranked him 19th among tight ends for the week; there's some appeal in a game in which the Packers might put them into frequent passing situations, but some hesitation is warranted.

Rashard Mendenhall active (11:39 a.m. ET): The Pittsburgh Steelers' official Twitter feed reports that RB Rashard Mendenhall (knee, probable) is active. This had been known throughout the practice week, that Mendenhall would be seeing his first action this week since recovering from knee surgery. A conservative approach is suggested; remember the inconsistent week-to-week performances of Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson earlier this year coming off similar surgeries, ones that occurred earlier than Mendenhall's. We ranked Mendenhall our No. 28 running back for the week; lower-end flex play value sounds just about right.

Pierre Garcon active (11:38 a.m. ET): The Washington Redskins' official Twitter feed reports that WR Pierre Garcon (foot, probable) is active. He remains rookie Robert Griffin III's most reliable deep threat, and is our No. 23 fantasy wideout for the week accordingly.

Antrel Rolle active (11:35 a.m. ET): The New York Giants' official Twitter feed reports that S Antrel Rolle (knee, questionable) is active. Rolle is Jim McCormick's No. 15 defensive back for the week, making him a No. 2 option in IDP formats.