Week 8 of the 2012 NFL season is upon us, and fantasy football owners can take solace in the fact that many key players have been declared active for the early games on Sunday, including Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Calvin Johnson and Trent Richardson. All four are listed as active an are expected to start.
The New England Patriots will have most of their weapons available at the arsenal on Tom Brady, with Gronkowski, Welker and Brandon Lloyd all active and expected to start. The Patriots will, however, be without Aaron Hernandez, who did not make the trip to London for today’s game against the Cleveland Browns.
Richardson is active and will play for the Cleveland Browns when they face the San Diego Chargers, although he is a bit of a risk with his rib injury. Still, many owners will not have another alternative, although they must keep in mind that Monterio Hardesty is also active for Cleveland.
Johnson was no surprise for the Detroit Lions. He was listed as probable and never in danger of missing any time. The Seattle Seahawks have been good against wide receivers, although you can never sit Johnson. This could very well be the week that he goes wild in the stat department.
The Green Bay Packers will be without Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings, but Aaron Rodgers and Jermichael Finley will both start and should play as well as usual. Although, Rodgers will have to lean more on Randall Cobb and James Jones, and Finley still has a case of the drops plaguing him.
Blaine Gabbert will start for the Jacksonville Jaguars, although he will not have Maurice Jones-Drew or Laurent Robinson. That will not impact his fantasy status much, however, as you would be pretty hard up to be starting him in any league, especially on the road against the Packers.
Donald Brown is back for the Indianapolis Colts, although Vick Ballard is still the better play at running back against the Tennessee Titans. Ballard is expected to get the start.
Jonathan Dwyer will get the starting nod at running back when the Pittsburgh Steelers face the Washington Redskins, as Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman are both inactive. Dwyer should get plenty of action today against a team who struggles on defense.
More actives and inactives will be listed later, prior to the start of the late games. While nothing is official, the New York Giants expect to have Ahmad Bradshaw start in their backfield against the Dallas Cowboys, who will likely be without DeMarco Murray. That means that Felix Jones will start, although he is also a bit dinged up, as is often the case.
As for the Sunday night game, Jimmy Graham is once again a game time decision for the New Orleans Saints. He is a very risky start against the Denver Broncos.