Fri Oct 9 6:39pm ET
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) passes against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, right, greets quarterback Nick Mullens during warm-ups before an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Jimmy Garoppolo will return as starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers this week after missing the past two games with a sprained ankle.
Coach Kyle Shanahan said Garoppolo will start Sunday at home against the Miami Dolphins. Shanahan wanted to see how Garoppolo made it through a full week of practice before making his decision.
''Each day he got better,'' Shanahan said Friday. ''Never felt too sore the next day. So, we needed to hear that today and see him out there today and we feel good to go.''
Garoppolo had hoped not to miss any time with the injury, having played through ankle sprains before. But this was a more severe high ankle sprain which made it impossible for him to move well enough to avoid danger in the pocket.
He was able to show he was healthy in practice and will provide a needed spark for the 49ers (2-2), who lost 25-20 at home last week to Philadelphia.
''Ankle is feeling really good right now,'' Garoppolo said. ''Got the last couple of weeks off to get it right. The training staff, I tip my hat to those guys, they did a great job with me, just preparing me and everything. But, as far as getting out there, I mean, we've had the whole week to work on it. So, it's feeling pretty good right now.''
San Francisco has a 20-6 record when Garoppolo starts, compared to a 5-21 mark with any other quarterback since Shanahan arrived in 2017.
Garoppolo threw for 3,978 yards and 27 TD passes last season to lead the Niners to 13 wins and was 33 for 49 for 390 yards, four TDs and no interceptions in six quarters this season.
The Niners could have almost all of their key pieces back on offense with running back Raheem Mostert questionable after missing two games with a knee injury and receiver Deebo Samuel questionable with an illness.
Samuel hasn't been allowed at the facility the past two days because he had a fever and aches earlier in the week. Samuel has taken part in meetings and will be allowed back once he passes one more coronavirus test.
Mostert, Samuel, All-Pro tight end George Kittle and first-round receiver Brandon Aiyuk have all missed games this season so the Niners are looking forward to the possibility of having all their important pieces available together for the first time.
''That's exactly how we envisioned it in the offseason,'' fullback Kyle Juszczyk said. ''It's great to finally have everybody healthy and in there together.''
Shanahan also said C.J. Beathard has moved ahead of Nick Mullens on the depth chart and will be Garoppolo's backup Sunday. Mullens played well in his first start this season before getting pulled in last week's loss to Philadelphia after committing three turnovers.
Beathard played well in relief and now will get the first shot if anything happens to Garoppolo.
NOTES: LB Dre Greenlaw will also return after missing two games with a quadriceps injury. ... CB Ahkello Witherspoon (hamstring) is questionable for the game, while DE Ezekiel Ansah (biceps), CB Dontae Johnson (groin), CB Emmanuel Moseley (concussion) and CB K'Waun Williams (knee, hip) are out. ... Ansah and Williams will be placed on IR on Saturday and the Niners will call up at least one more cornerback from the practice squad.
Five Waiver Wire Adds: Week 7
New York Giants tight end Evan Engram is off to a disappointing start to the season, but draws another favorable matchup in Week 7. Philadelphia allows the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, though it may not matter as Engram has not taken advantage of other favorable matchups. Engram has not found the end zone this season and has just one game with more than 35 yards. New York completed just 12 passes last week so it's hard to trust anyone in this pass offense. Engram is a risky starter, but does possess upside and can be started in deeper formats.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson is a WR2 this week against New Orleans. Anderson has emerged as the top target for Teddy Bridgewater this season and already has three 100-yard games. He has also seen at least four receptions and five targets in all six games. Given the increasing rapport with Bridgewater along with a large role in this offense, Anderson is a solid starter against a Saints team allowing the 11th-most points to fantasy WRs.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is a QB2 for this week against the Saints. From a fantasy perspective, the QB has been mostly mediocre aside from Week 5 against the Falcons and overall has six passing touchdowns to five interceptions thus far. Though the Saints allow the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, Bridgewater hasn't proven that he can be an explosive fantasy option. Only consider him in two-QB leagues for this week but there are certainly better options based on matchup.
Carolina Panthers running back Mike Davis is a low-end RB1 this week against the Saints. Davis is coming off a modest week in which he had 52 rushing yards and three receiving yards. Nevertheless, the volume is there in both the rushing and passing game, as he has seen at least 13 carries and anywhere from three to 10 targets in the past four games. The Saints allow the 11th-most points to fantasy RBs, giving Davis a generally favorable matchup.
New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate is coming off his worst performance of the season last week and will look to bounce-back versus Philadelphia. In Week 6, Tate caught just one pass for 11 yards as the New York offense was stuck in neutral most of the game. Tate is yet to have more than five catches in a game this season and is yet to eclipse the 50-yard mark or score a touchdown. Most fantasy managers should be able to find a better WR option on the waiver wire.
San Francisco 49ers CB Richard Sherman (calf) isn't expected to return to the field until closer to the team's Week 11 bye, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan Wednesday, Oct. 21. 'Now he's in a boot just taking care of it, making sure it heals and let those take course,' Shanahan said. 'I thought it would be, I'd have more answers this week, but I still think it's going to be a few weeks on that. ... It's obviously going a little longer than we expected. (We've) got to play it smart with him, but I don't see it being week-to-week right now. I see it being probably until around our Bye week.'
New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton has been the best receiving option in New York this season and will look to continue his success versus the Eagles in Week 7. In their first matchup last season, Slayton torched Philadelphia for 154 yards and two touchdowns. The Auburn Tiger was quieter in their second meeting, but has had had splash performances this season including a two-touchdown game and two 100-yard efforts. While Slayton has had his ups, he has had quiet games as well and will draw the coverage of Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay in this matchup. The Giants only completed 12 passes last week so there is risk in starting Slayton, but he does have big-game upside as a WR3.
New York Giants running back Devonta Freeman has seen his workload increase in each week with the team since signing after Week 2. Freeman has been the clear lead-back for Big Blue, but faces a quick turnaround this week with a Thursday night game against the Eagles. Freeman handled 17 and 18 touches in the past two games and has reached 60 yards in each game. Neither Wayne Gallman nor Dion Lewis handled a carry last week but could be more involved with the Thursday matchup this week. Philadelphia gives up the eighth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. Freeman is startable as a flex based on his volume, but does carry some risk in Week 7.
Seattle Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett (non-injury) received a 'load management' day Wednesday, Oct. 21, and didn't participate in practice.
Fantasy Spin: Nothing to see here. Make sure Lockett is in your lineups for Week 7.
Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) did not participate at practice Wednesday, Oct. 21.
Fantasy Spin: Hopkins caught just two of eight targets but still racked up 73 yards against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6. The blowout victory allowed for a little extra rest, as he played just 77 percent of the offensive snaps, and he should be good to go by later this week.
Arizona Cardinals OL Kelvin Beachum (ankle) and DE Jordan Phillips (foot) didn't participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 21. LB Kylie Fitts (hamstring) and LB Dennis Gardeck (foot) were limited. S Budda Baker (thumb) and LB Jordan Hicks (wrist) practiced in full.
Seattle Seahawks RB Carlos Hyde (shoulder) was limited at practice Wednesday, Oct. 21.
Fantasy Spin: Hyde hasn't played since Week 3 and has a total of just 16 carries on the season. He's purely a handcuff for Chris Carson but should be rostered for that reason.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has lost four fumbles this season after losing just five in the first four years of his career, and his giveaways this year have turned into 28 points for the opposition. Elliott has more fumbles lost in 133 carries than all nine of the league's top-10 rushers combined in 1,104 touches, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Head coach Mike McCarthy said Elliott might have to prioritize ball security over fighting for extra yards to correct the issue. Dallas has 15 turnovers on the year and are an NFL-worst minus-12 in turnover differential. Despite the 25-year-old's fumbling issues and the fact that he hasn't had a 100-yard rushing game yet, he remains a must-start, high-end RB1 because he'll remain firmly in the game plan with quarterback Dak Prescott (ankle) out for the year. Elliott has six total touchdowns and 32 catches through six weeks and should rebound in Week 7 against Washington.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) was listed as a limited participant in practice on Wednesday with ankle and hamstring injuries. The hamstring injury is new and is something to watch, but Thomas' high ankle sprain is what has kept him out of action since the season-opener. It was believed that the All-Pro wideout would return in Week 5 before the team's bye, but the Saints sat him for disciplinary reasons after he punched a teammate in practice. Unless the 27-year-old has a setback this week, he should make his return against Carolina in Week 7. The Panthers Defense has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to wideouts this year, but Thomas is a target hog and reception machine and is a must-start, high-end WR1 if he's active.
Defensive end Aaron Lynch has unretired and has been reinstated to the Jacksonville Jaguars exempt list on Wednesday. Lynch must go through five days of COVID-19 testing before he's eligible to return to the team's facilities. He signed a one-year contract with the team in May but retired on Aug. 18 due to personal reasons. Nose tackle Al Woods and linebacker Lerentee McCray both opted out of the season, and defensive end/tackle Rodney Gunter (heart) has been out, so Lynch's return will give Jacksonville some much-needed depth on that side of the ball. Lynch has 20 sacks and 10 pass breakups in 73 career games with the 49ers and Bears. The Jaguars Defense is well off the fantasy radar, however, ranking 31st out of 32 NFL defenses in fantasy points.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense is a solid streaming option this week against the Raiders. In a highly anticipated matchup between Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers last week, the Tampa defense stole the show and got after Rodgers all day, compiling five sacks and two picks. Though the Raiders are a capable offense, the Bucs' defense can generate turnovers and put immense pressure on the QB. After that encouraging and dominant performance last week, they are a great starting option for this week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Ryan Succop is a streaming option in standard leagues this week against the Raiders. Succop has been mostly reliable this season, going 10-for-12 in field-goal attempts and 19-for-20 in extra-point attempts. The Raiders offer the 10th-most points to fantasy kickers, which puts him in the starting tier.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski is a low-end TE1 for this week's clash against the Raiders. Gronk had his best game of 2020 last week, posting five receptions for 78 yards and a score on eight targets. This was an encouraging performance by the veteran, one that may have instilled hope in managers because he looked his dominant New England version. The Raiders are middle-of-the-pack in points allowed to fantasy TEs, which means Gronk is a good streaming option this week.
New England Patriots DT Beau Allen (undisclosed), C David Andrews (hand) and LB Josh Uche (foot) were designated for return from the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Oct. 21.
Seattle Seahawks DB Lano Hill (back) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Oct. 21.