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2021 Fantasy Football: Week 12 Inactives

Games with stacks of starter injuries, backfields that could shift a ton, and opportunity shares that could determine your fate this week. Everything you need to know regarding fantasy-relevant health in the NFL—this is the Week 12 fantasy football inactives list, Sunday-Monday edition.

This series will continue to be live every Saturday morning, meaning that if brand new statuses appear later in the weekend, they are not covered here. You can also follow me on Twitter (@AhaanRungta) for more regular fantasy football discussions, including comments on injury-riddled fantasy rosters. If a game does not appear on this list, that means there is currently no current injury threat in the realm of fantasy relevance.

More fantasy football fun for Week 12: Waiver Wire | FAAB Guide | Start & Sit | Loves & Hates | Stock Watch | Sleepers & Streamers | D/ST Streamers

Week 12 NFL Inactives

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Cincinnati Bengals

OUT: WR Ray-Ray McCloud, PIT (COVID-19) / TE Eric Ebron, PIT (knee)

The Cincinnati Bengals are relatively healthy for this Week 12 divisional matchup; all of their offensive stars are expected to be on the field and should be plugged into fantasy football starting lineups as necessary. The Steelers, on the other hand, already missing wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster for the season, are a tad more banged up on pass-catchers with Ray-Ray McCloud and Eric Ebron ruled out for Week 12.

While McCloud was active in Week 10 with 12 targets and a 70% offensive snap share and Ebron was fantasy-relevant with a touchdown in Week 11, neither’s absence should deeply impact the rest of the fantasy scheme for the Steelers offense. The top four options for Pittsburgh are still running back Najee Harris, wide receivers Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool, and tight end Pat Freiermuth with James Washington available as a third wide receiver. 

Carolina Panthers vs. Miami Dolphins

OUT: TE Adam Shaheen, MIA (knee)

This week stood as fairly uneventful with regards to injury movement, particularly on offense. Cam Newton will start at quarterback for the Panthers and Tua Tagovailoa will start at quarterback for the Dolphins. The Miami offense still sits without wide receivers Will Fuller V and DeVante Parker, as they will both continue to miss time. In addition, tight end Adam Shaheen, who has recently vultured some red zone opportunities, missed practice all week and will miss Week 12. Mike Gesicki obviously remains the alpha tight end for the Dolphins and he will be backed up by Durham Smythe.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants

QUESTIONABLE: RB Saquon Barkley, NYG (ankle) / WR John Ross, NYG (quadriceps)
DOUBTFUL: TE Kyle Rudolph, NYG (ankle)
OUT: RB Jordan Howard, PHI (knee)
OUT: WR Sterling Shepard, NYG (quadriceps) / WR Kadarius Toney, NYG (quadriceps)

The Eagles are a tad banged up but on offense, the only news fantasy managers must make themselves aware of is another change to the backfield. After Miles Sanders returned to action in Week 11, head coach Nick Sirianni made headlines for benching Sanders for a mental mistake and making an already tricky fantasy situation even more wrinkled in nature. Now, Jordan Howard is out of the picture in Week 12 with a knee injury he suffered during Philadelphia’s Week 11 game.

In Howard’s absence, Sanders will still lead the backfield and will likely hand backup duties to Boston Scott, although fantasy managers must be wary of the possibility that Kenneth Gainwell becomes relevant again despite being a healthy scratch in Week 11. If Gainwell is again scratched from the Week 12 contest, deep league fantasy managers could take advantage of taking a risk on Scott.

For the Giants, their flurry of injuries on the offensive side of the ball continue and put fantasy managers in distress. Starting running back Saquon Barkley is listed as questionable but in Week 11, against a tough Buccaneers run defense, Barkley took a decent 62% of the offensive snap share and was efficient. There seems to be very little reason to believe that Barkley is in danger of missing Week 12 but if he were to get bad news, Devontae Booker would be in line to start at running back instead.

The Giants also see wide receiver John Ross questionable and tight end Kyle Rudolph doubtful; if either of them play, they could be in for fantasy-relevant roles because wide receivers Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney are both no-gos for Week 12. The Giants also roster Kenny Golladay—remember him? Their big offseason acquisition is currently one of the only Giants pass-catchers without an injury designation heading into Week 12, along with wide receiver Darius Slayton.

Week 12 Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | Kicker | D/ST | PPR | Flex

Tennessee Titans vs. New England Patriots

QUESTIONABLE: TE Geoff Swaim, TEN (concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: RB Damien Harris, NE (neck) / RB Rhamondre Stevenson, NE (knee) / TE Hunter Henry, NE (neck) / TE Jonnu Smith, NE (shoulder) / K Nick Folk, NE (knee)
OUT: RB Jeremy McNichols, TEN (concussion) / WR A.J. Brown, TEN (chest) / WR Marcus Johnson, TEN (hamstring) / WR Julio Jones, TEN (hamstring)

I probably could have written a column just on this game and all the moving parts in fantasy football relevant to this AFC heavyweight matchup. The Titans will be without Derrick Henry, Julio Jones, and A.J. Brown, their top three weapons on offense. In the absence of Henry and the signing and releasing of veteran Adrian Peterson, the Titans now roster D’Onta Foreman and Dontrell Hilliard as their 1-2 punch in the backfield.

Going down the depth chart of pass-catchers, they have also lost wide receiver Marcus Johnson to a season-ending hamstring injury. Johnson, who recorded 100 receiving yards in Week 10, is a noticeable loss given the Titans offensive injuries. In the absence of these weapons, Tennessee will roster Dez Patrick, Chester Rogers, and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine at wide receiver. With Geoff Swaim questionable at tight end, MyCole Pruitt and Anthony Firkser also serve as candidates to step up in a magnified pass-catching role.

For the Patriots, Bill Belichick continues to be a menace to society by placing a whole county on the injury report; it’s hard to take the full list seriously all the time but there are unfortunately fantasy-relevant situations that managers need to keep a close eye on. Running backs Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson were both limited in practice to finish up the week. If either of them were to miss time, Brandon Bolden would see a greater role in the New England backfield while J.J. Taylor, who scored a pair of garbage-time touchdowns in Week 7, could see some snaps.

The Patriots also saw their tight end duo of Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith limited in practice but neither are currently in serious danger of not being in uniform for Week 12. Finally, kicker Nick Folk, who has been dynamite this season, is banged up but is expected to play. New England does not roster a placekicker other than Folk.

Atlanta Falcons vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

QUESTIONABLE: RB Cordarrelle Patterson, ATL (ankle)
OUT: TE Hayden Hurst, ATL (ankle)
OUT: WR Jamal Agnew, JAX (hip)
IN: TE James O’Shaughnessy, JAX (ankle)

The Falcons are still missing and praying for the well-being of superstar Calvin Ridley and there is currently no update of whether a return this season is possible for the wideout. In his absence, the versatile back Cordarrelle Patterson has emerged as arguably the biggest surprise storyline of the fantasy football season. Patterson was limited in practice all week after already missing Thursday Night Football in Week 11. If he were to miss Week 12, Mike Davis would slot in as the top gun of the Falcons backfield with Wayne Gallman quite capable as a playmaking backup. If Patterson does suit up, however, he can be trusted in all fantasy football formats, given the multi-faceted role he has emerged into this season.

Atlanta will also be without their backup tight end Hayden Hurst, which could simply mean more opportunities for Kyle Pitts. Hurst suffered an ankle injury in Week 10 and was placed on the injured reserve last week. It doesn’t make much sense to roster Hurst at this point in redraft leagues.

For the Jaguars, play-maker Jamal Agnew suffered a hip injury in Week 11 and can now be dropped in all redraft formats as he is done for the season. Trevor Lawrence will miss Agnew, who was an explosive rusher and volume pass-catcher before the injury. For some relief, tight end James O’Shaughnessy has returned to the Jacksonville offense although with the emergence of new acquisition Dan Arnold at tight end, it remains to be seen if O’Shaughnessy’s fantasy role will have any relevance to the 2021 Jaguars outlook.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Indianapolis Colts

OUT: WR Antonio Brown, TB (ankle)

This is actually a relatively straight-forward fantasy inactive list for a Tampa Bay game. While Tom Brady’s weapons continue to piece together as a unit, Antonio Brown is still not back yet. This will be five straight games for Antonio Brown without game action due to his ankle injury. Brown is now targeting a Week 13 return. For Week 12, in Brown’s absence, Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and Rob Gronkowski should see their fair share of opportunities for the #2 pass play rate team in the NFL this season.

The Colts are fairly healthy on offense and will roll out every fantasy-relevant player on their team, headlined by NFL MVP candidate Jonathan Taylor, who recorded 204 scrimmage yards and a mere 5 touchdowns in Week 11—safe to say, there will be eyes on him in this matchup.

New York Jets vs. Houston Texans

QUESTIONABLE: WR Corey Davis, NYJ (groin)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Nico Collins, HOU (hip)
OUT: RB Michael Carter, NYJ (ankle)
IN: QB Zach Wilson, NYJ (knee)

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this game isn’t going to lead the NFL in viewership in Week 12. What we need to know as fantasy owners is what the offense will look like and who you can consider playing in your starting lineup.

First, the quarterback situation for the New York Jets. While there exist some complications with Mike White and Joe Flacco as COVID-19 names, all that movement on who could suit up is just backup news. Neither are starting in your fantasy lineup because #2 overall draft pick Zach Wilson is making his return and has officially been named the Jets starter at quarterback. Wilson is far from trustworthy in one-quarterback leagues for Week 12. Additionally, wide receiver Corey Davis is expected to play but was limited in practice on Friday with a groin injury. With rookie running back Michael Carter already ruled out for the game, offense isn’t going to be easy to come by, even against a mediocre defense like the Texans.

For Houston, wide receiver Nico Collins, who has been consistently involved in the Texans offense without a true breakout yet, was limited in practice on Friday with a hip injury. The Texans offense is otherwise healthy and is headline by Tyrod Taylor at quarterback, Brandin Cooks as the leading pass-catcher, and Rex Burkheard and David Johnson manning the backfield.

Minnesota Vikings vs. San Francisco 49ers

QUESTIONABLE: RB Elijah Mitchell, SF (rib, finger)
OUT: RB JaMycal Hasty, SF (ankle)

Not much to see here—more backfield injuries for the San Francisco 49ers. Rookie Elijah Mitchell, participated in a season-low 53% offensive snap share in Week 10, missed Week 11, and is now in danger of missing more time with disturbances to his rib and finger. Additionally, JaMycal Hasty is a no-go with an ankle injury; Hasty will be out for a third straight game. If Mitchell were to be out as well, Jeffery Wilson would start at running back, with rookie Trey Sermon backing him up.

Los Angeles Rams vs. Green Bay Packers

QUESTIONABLE: WR Ben Skrowronek, LAR (back)
QUESTIONABLE: RB Aaron Jones, GB (knee) / WR Allen Lazard, GB (shoulder)
IN: QB Aaron Rodgers, GB (toe)

When Robert Woods was ruled out for the remainder of the season with an ACL tear, Ben Skowronek was reported as the likely candidate to take on that role—all that occurred while Odell Beckham Jr. was in the process of joining the team. Now, Skowronek makes a last-minute appearance on the injury report as he has acquired a back injury that complicates the Rams pass-catching scenario a tad. While we haven’t seen much of Skowronek as his only real action was in an ineffective Week 10, one must think that the Rams’ game plan might depend on his availability. If he is out, Odell Beckham Jr. and Van Jefferson are likely in line to see fantasy-relevant work. Cooper Kupp is simply the overall WR1 and an auto-start regardless.

For the Packers, the biggest news of the week surrounded quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who did not appear in a single practice this week due to a toe injury that might require surgery. It was confirmed, however, that he will suit up in a huge NFC matchup against the Rams. Star running back Aaron Jones was limited in practice all week long; given the Packers’ Week 13 bye, it would be naive to assume that the Packers would prefer rushing him back with A.J. Dillon looming as a solid backup.

Capable red zone target wide receiver Allen Lazard was also limited in practice all week long and is not a safe fantasy start by any means regardless of availability in Week 12. If Lazard were to miss Week 12, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Randall Cobb would likely see upticked roles in the Green Bay air offense. 

Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens

QUESTIONABLE: RB Kareem Hunt, CLE (calf) / WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, CLE (groin)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Marquise Brown, BAL (thigh)

After missing five straight games due to a calf injury, explosive running back Kareem Hunt is trending upwards and rumored to be back in Week 12. If he is indeed suiting up in Week 12, he is likely an immediate RB2-tier start. It is noteworthy that this game is on Sunday Night Football so if you are considering starting Hunt, you need a backup plan until Hunt is a confirmed thumbs-up to play in Week 12.

Browns WR2 Donovan Peoples-Jones is, on the other hand, trending down. After missing Week 11 due to a groin injury, he could miss another game. Even if Peoples-Jones suits up, he is far from a safe fantasy football start despite his ability to break out the big play.

Seattle Seahawks vs. Washington Football Team

QUESTIONABLE: QB Geno Smith, SEA (back) / RB Alex Collins, SEA (abdomen) / RB Travis Homer, SEA (calf) / RB Rashaad Penny, SEA (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: RB Antonio Gibson, WSH (shin) / RB J.D. McKissic, WSH (ankle) / WR Adam Humphires, WSH (hip) / WR Curtis Samuel, WSH (groin) / TE Logan Thomas, WSH (hamstring) / TE Ricky Seals-Jones, WSH (hip)

The dreaded fantasy football nightmare—a stack of big-name injuries… for Monday Night Football. For Seattle, with Chris Carson already done for the season, their running back depth chart consists of DeeJay Dallas and the three names mentioned above. The current Seahawks starter at running back is Alex Collins, who was limited in practice while Travis Homer and Rashaad Penny did not participate in practice. Managers who are scrambling and could use a Monday Night Football running back need to pick up Dallas if they can, considering the possibility that he could enter the night as the only funny healthy running back for Seattle—and perhaps either side.

Washington’s backfield is also far from health-happy. The shin injury that has bugged second-year talent Antonio Gibson all season kept him limited in practice again this week. While Gibson is still the lead back in this offense due to his talent, he hasn’t been reliable on opportunities and continues to be narrative-dependent. If his shin injury worsens, it only adds to the reasons you should bench him instead of hoping he will give you good news on the last game of the NFL week. The same goes for J.D. McKissic, who has been more stable in PPR formats. If he also doesn’t get good news ahead of Sunday games, go another route instead of hoping McKissic is the man on “Primetime.”

The other Washington injuries are simply housekeeping announcements for deep leagues—none of Adam Humphries, Curtis Samuel, Logan Thomas (if he returns), or Ricky Seals-Jones (if he stays and plays) should be trusted with your matchup on the line on Monday night. Look elsewhere since their statuses are up in the air in an offense that could be a complete wild card given the moving pieces of health at each position.

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