So far this morning we’ve learned that Rob Gronkowski is capable of walking (good news), Kenny Britt is still quite combustible (utterly expected news), and Mikel Leshoure is healthy, and is therefore now the flex play for everyone everywhere.
So welcome to the early game inactives post, kids, a wondrous place where dreams are shattered. We’ll keep updating this as the official inactives start to trickle out in about 30 minutes, because feverish typing is my favorite Sunday activity next to sitting and eating a copious amount of double stuffed Oreos dipped in chocolate milk.
Kenny Britt (TEN): You weren’t starting Britt unless you hate yourself. He was listed as questionable all week due an ankle injury which is surely connected to his surgically-repaired knee, because everything in his life is, and will be forevermore. Now he’s inactive today, meaning those in deep leagues who were planning to flex either Nate Washington or Kendall Wright can look forward to a few more targets for those two.
Dustin Keller (NYJ): Keller will miss his third straight game with a hamstring injury. Can you name a player on the Jets’ offense who’s worth starting now? No, no you can’t. Maybe Mark Sanchez is the exception in two QB leagues with Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck on their byes, but Keller’s continued absence puts a dent in that. Oh, this does too…
Stephen Hill (NYJ): The rookie wide receiver is also nursing a hamstring injury and won’t play. Also like Keller, this will be the the third straight game he’s missed after he was a popular waiver wire add following a Week 1 performance when he had 89 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Peyton Hills (KC): The ankle injury that Hillis suffered last week against the Saints contributed to Jamaal Charles’ 233-yard explosion on the ground on an incredible 7.1 yards per carry. With Hillis ruled out today, expect Charles’ massive workload to continue after he had 33 carries and 39 touches overall in Week 3. But just like that time in grade eight when you procrastinated on that science project and then made the class’ 19th erupting volcano, a dramatically increased workload for Charles may feel good at first, and then produce long-term pain. Hillis isn’t a carry vulture; he’s a reliable backup tasked with keeping the No. 1 RB in KC who tore his ACL a year ago healthy for the Chiefs, and most importantly, for you.
Julian Edelman (NE): An expected move after Edelman didn’t practice all week due to a hand injury, his inactivity today means more targets for Wes Welker, who had 149 receiving yards last week against Baltimore after having just 109 over New England’s first two games. Welker did most of his work after Edelman went down late in the first half, but while this is good news for his owners, there’s a strong possibility that Tom Brady owners need to prepare for numbers that continue to fall below Brady standards with two of his top options (Edelman and Aaron Hernandez) out, and Rob Gronkowski hurting.
Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller (BUF): Oh look this is awesome, you guys. Just when Fred Jackson owners were getting comfortable with the idea that he would start today and be the featured back in Buffalo with C.J. Spiller out, that plan has now been brutally murdered. Spiller is active, and Adam Schefter reports that carries will be split between both RBs, thus limiting their value and the production of two starters on most rosters. If you own both and handcuffed Spiller to Jackson, I’d lean slightly (so very, very slightly) in Spiller’s direction. He simply wouldn’t be playing if he’s not healthy, and he has far more home run potential and breakaway speed than Jackson. Spiller has 422 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns in just three games, so if there’s a lean that develops in this apparent split, he’s likely earned it with that elite production. Although there’s also the chance that Spiller will just be a decoy and do his best Boobie Miles impression (ugh).
Steven Jackson (STL): There was growing concern about Jackson all week that peaked Friday when he was described as being “very limited” in practice due to a troublesome groin. He’s active, but after he was also severely limited last week against Chicago and since 29-year-old running backs are time’s enemy, his role will be reduced. according to La Canfora. Start Jackson as an RB2, because given where he was drafted in the middle rounds you likely don’t have another very appealing emergency option in that spot. But do it with reduced expectations.
Mikel Leshoure (DET): One of the notable game-time decisions all week after he had 100 yards on 30 carries in his first career game, Leshoure will be in Detroit’s backfield today, according to Jason La Canfora. His matchup isn’t nearly as favorable today against a Vikings defense that’s allowing less than 100 yards per game, downgrading him to RB3 and borderline flex play territory.
Dwayne Bowe (KC): The only start-able option on the Chiefs’ offense who’s not named Jamaal Charles, there was never really much serious doubt about Bowe’s status as he dealt with a nagging groin injury, and he was only added to the injury reported on Thursday. He’s playing, and he’ll be opposing a Chargers secondary that will only dress three healthy cornerbacks.
Rob Gronkowski (NE) : Gronk appearing on the injury report was so very Belichickian of Belichick. Although official word hasn’t surfaced yet, he’ll almost definitely be active, as Schefter reported yesterday. ESPN’s Josina Anderson watched Gronk walk onto the field in Buffalo for pre-game warmups, and she didn’t observe a limp or anything out of the ordinary. Stay sly, Billy Belichick.
UPDATE: Gronk is active, because Belichick.
Kyle Rudolph (MIN): Another player who was monitored all week although there was little reason for concern after he practiced fully Friday, Rudolph is active. He caught two touchdown passes last week and was widely added off the waiver wire, and now he has a favorable matchup against a Lions defense that gave up 77 receiving yards and a touchdown to Titans TE Jared Cook last week.