Who's in and who's out of the early games in Week 17
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Who's in and who's out of the early games in Week 17

Hey, what are you still doing here? Shouldn't you be celebrating that fantasy championship you won last week?
What? You're still playing?! Well, OK, I'll help you out this morning, but make sure your league ends in Week 16 next year so you don't have to worry about teams resting their starters (Chiefs).
I'll be here until the early kickoffs to let you know which injured fantasy stars will and won't be playing in today's early games. Some of the names worth watching include Calvin Johnson @Bigplaycj, Jordan Cameron, Emmanuel Sanders @E_Sanders88, Ray Rice @RayRice27, and Torrey Smith @TorreySmithWR. This post will be updated consistently from about 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern.
-- As expected, Bengals TEs Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert are both inactive due to injuries. Alex Smith is the Bengals' lead tight end today versus the Ravens. Avoid.
-- Giants WR Rueben Randle @RuebenRandle is active despite a knee injury that had him listed as questionable. He is an intriguing WR3 with Victor Cruz on injured reserve and a matchup with the Redskins' defense ahead. I'd still rather play Randle than Hakeem Nicks.
-- Giants RB Andre Brown is active after suffering a concussion last week. He is a very solid RB2 versus Washington.
-- Texans QB Case Keenum @casekeenum7 is inactive. Matt Schaub will start versus the Titans. So, there's that. No fantasy value there.
-- Lions WR Calvin Johnson is inactve. He has a knee issue that might need surgery. To sit him is the smart call in a meaningless game. Kevin Ogletree will start in his place, but if I was going to take a shot on any Lions WR today, I think I'd go with Kris Durham or Nate Burleson.
-- As expected, Ravens WR Torrey Smith and RB Ray Rice are active versus the Bengals. Both were listed as questionable due to thigh injuries. Both are low-end twos at their respective positions.
-- It's good news, bad news for the Browns. Tight end Jordan Cameron is active after missing last week due to a concussion. However, cornerback Joe Haden is out due to his hip injury. That's a bit of good news for Antonio Brown. Cameron is a low-end TE1.
-- Dolphins RB Daniel Thomas is active despite an ankle injury. He's been playing through the pain for a couple of weeks. You should avoid him and Lamar Miller against the Jets.
-- Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew is active, as expected. He's been hampered by a hamstring injury, but he is worth a RB2 spot against the Colts.
-- Jets WR Santonio Holmes is active. Remember when you use to care about starting Jets wideouts in fantasy?
-- Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders will play despite a knee injury that had him as a true game-time decision. With Joe Haden inactive, the Browns' secondary should be ripe for the picking. But Sanders is an iffy fantasy play as he may see limited snaps. He's definitely not close to 100 percent.
-- Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez is active for the last game of his career. He is about 140 yards short of Isaac Bruce for fourth-most receiving yards in NFL history. Expect the Falcons to force-feed the ball to him against Carolina.
-- Panthers QB Cam Newton is active. He was on the injury report with an ankle injury. Must-start.
-- Texans RB Dennis Johnson is inactive due to his hip injury. That means fifth-string running back Jonathan Grimes will start versus the Titans and be backed up by Ray Graham and Chad Spann. Yikes. Don't hope for fantasy points here.

Players who have already been officially ruled out for Week 17 include Adrian Peterson, Tony Romo, Steve Smith, Victor Cruz, Dwayne Bowe, and Ben Tate. The impact of their absences will be discussed in the fantasy analysis section below. For a full rundown of injuries around the league this week, click the link below to the NFL's official injury report.

Fantasy Analysis:

The Vikings are playing it safe with Peterson's groin and foot injuries. Toby Gerhart is also out, so Matt Asiata and Joe Banyard will split the carries versus the Lions. Don't expect a three-touchdown repeat from Asiata. Neither guy should be in your Week 17 lineup.
-- Romo underwent back surgery this week, so he's done for the year. In steps Kyle Orton for tonight's de facto NFC East title game against the Eagles. I wouldn't trust him in fantasy, but the likes of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten are definitely still worth starting.
-- Smith is out because of a PCL strain. I kind of like Ted Ginn stating in his spot versus poor Falcons defense. He's a worth a shot in deep leagues.
-- You know Cruz is out for the year, but his replacement, Rueben Randle, is also battling injury and may not play today. Even in a great matchup against the Redskins, I can't endorse any Giants wideouts today, including the scoreless Hakeem Nicks. It could be an Andre Brown game.
-- The Chiefs aren't going to play their starters for long, if at all today versus San Diego. That would be true for Bowe even if he didn't have a concussion. I am kind of interested in running back Knile Davis as a flex play, but he's the only Chief I'd consider today. Sorry, Jamaal Charles owners. Don't play in Week 17 next year.
-- The Texans are likely going to start their fifth-string running back, Jonathan Grimes, today versus Tennessee. Dennis Johnson is not expected to play, and Deji Karim is done with a broken collarbone. Despite a favorable matchup, you can't trust Grimes as anything more than a low-end flex option. Johnson showed us last week that you shouldn't get carried away with a Texans RB just because he is starting.

Source:
NFL.com

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Brian Murphy -
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Los Angeles, CA
FFToolbox Fantasy Football Writer since 2002
Follow me on Twitter: @Spokes_Murphy.

I have played fantasy sports since 2001, specializing in fantasy football and baseball. I wrote for FFToolbox from 2002-2005 and re-joined in 2009.

I am a journalism/mass communication grad student at Cal State University, Northridge. I am aiming to be a sports reporter for a website, newspaper, magazine, anything. I am a graduate from the University of Central Florida. I make my home in Long Beach, Calif.

While I grew up in California, my favorite football team has always been the New York Giants.
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