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 Hot Plays: Week 8
New York Jets WR Breshad Perriman (concussion) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 29.
Fantasy Spin: Perriman needs to pass the concussion tests before he is cleared to play, so he may not be able to play in Week 8. Denzel Mims will see more work if Perriman is ruled out but should not be a starting option this week against the Kansas City Chiefs.
New York Jets WR Jamison Crowder (groin) was limited during practice Thursday, Oct. 29.
Fantasy Spin: Crowder appears to have a chance to play this week but could be a game-time decision. He is the team's main option in the passing game and can be a No. 3 receiver or flex option if he plays.
New York Jets QB Sam Darnold (shoulder) fully participated in practice Thursday, Oct. 29.
Fantasy Spin: Darnold struggled in his return last week and may not have his top two receivers on the field in Week 8. He should be avoided in all fantasy leagues.
Miami Dolphins WR Lynn Bowden (non-injury) and WR Jakeem Grant (illness) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 29. S Bobby McCain (ankle), CB Jamal Perry (foot), TE Adam Shaheen (shoulder) and LB Kyle Van Noy (foot) were limited during practice. DE Raekwon Davis (shoulder), S Kavon Frazier (shoulder), LB Kamu Grugier-Hill (hand), CB Xavien Howard (knee), CB Byron Jones (Achilles) and DE Shaq Lawson (shoulder) fully participated in practice.
New York Jets RB Frank Gore (hand, non-injury) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 29.
Fantasy Spin: Gore usually receives Thursdays off, but fantasy players should see if he is back on the field Friday, Oct. 30. He will continue to receive most of the carries in the running game for now but probably can be avoided in most leagues.
Cleveland Browns DE Myles Garrett (ankle), LB Jacob Phillips (knee) and OG Wyatt Teller (calf) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 29. OT Jack Conklin (knee), DT Larry Ogunjobi (hamstring), C JC Tretter (knee) and CB M.J. Stewart (back) were limited during practice. TE David Njoku (knee) and LB Sione Takitaki (hand) fully participated in practice.
Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker (groin) was limited during practice Thursday, Oct. 29.
Fantasy Spin: Parker appears to have a good chance to play in Week 8, but fantasy players will know more about his status in the next few days. He will be working with a new quarterback but should continue to be the main option in the passing game. He can be a No. 2 receiver in fantasy leagues.
Cleveland Browns TE Austin Hooper (abdomen) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 29.
Fantasy Spin: Hooper is recovering from an appendectomy and probably will miss at least one more week. Harrison Bryant is coming off a two-touchdown performance in place of Hooper last week and could be a low-end No. 1 tight end in deeper leagues.
Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt (ribs) was limited during practice Thursday, Oct. 29.
Fantasy Spin: Hunt has dealt with the injury for the last several weeks but has not missed any playing time. He will continue to receive most of the work at running back while Nick Chubb is sidelined and can be a No. 2 running back in fantasy leagues.
Cleveland Browns WR Jarvis Landry (hip, ribs) was limited during practice Thursday, Oct. 29.
Fantasy Spin: Landry will receive more targets in the passing game with Odell Beckham Jr. out of the lineup. He has posted at least 50 yards in only two games this season but can still be a No. 3 receiver in most leagues.
Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (non-injury) fully participated in practice Thursday, Oct. 29.
Fantasy Spin: Green has been more involved in the passing game over the last few weeks and should have some success against the Tennessee Titans in Week 8. He can be considered a No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues.
Cincinnati Bengals OT Bobby Hart (knee), C Trey Hopkins (concussion), CB Darius Phillips (knee), OT Jonah Williams (stinger) and WR John Ross (illness) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 29. DT Geno Atkins (non-injury), DT Mike Daniels (non-injury) and S Brandon Wilson (knee) were limited during practice. LB Markus Bailey (neck), TE Cethan Carter (shoulder), CB William Jackson III (concussion) and OG Mike Jordan (back) fully participated in practice.
Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (calf) was held out of practice for the second straight day on Thursday. Jones did not play last week in the win over the Texans, and it's looking like he'll miss his second straight game with the Packers medical staff being extra cautious. If you roster Jones, you should already be making plans to be without him this weekend. If he's inactive again, Jamaal Williams should be a plug-and-play RB2 against a Vikings Defense that has really struggled in 2020. Williams had a season-high 19 carries for 77 yards (4.05 yards per carry) and a touchdown in Week 7 while also catching four of five targets for an additional 37 yards.
Philadelphia Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery (calf) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 29.
Fantasy Spin: Jeffery has missed the entire season so far and probably will miss another game. Greg Ward Jr. and Travis Fulgham will continue to be the main options in the passing game, and both can be at least flex options.
Philadelphia Eagles DE Genard Avery (elbow), OT Jack Driscoll (ankle), DE Vinny Curry (illness), LB Nathan Gerry (ankle) and CB Craig James (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 29. DT Malik Jackson (quadriceps), OT Lane Johnson (ankle, knee) and CB Cre'Von LeBlanc (quadriceps) were limited during practice. S K'Von Wallace (neck) fully participated in practice.
Detroit Lions running back Adrian Peterson (abdomen) was limited in practice on Thursday. Peterson wasn't listed on the injury report on Wednesday, so this is something to watch for the aging future Hall of Famer. He had 12 touches in the Week 7 win, carrying the ball 11 times for 29 yards. He also caught one pass for one yard. The 35-year-old veteran is still seeing plenty of touches each week, but he just hasn't been producing and could be on his way out as the team's lead back in favor of rookie D'Andre Swift. Against a Colts Defense in Week 8 that is allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs, AD is a poor starting option in 12-team leagues and is an uninspiring RB3/flex in deeper leagues.
New York Giants WR Sterling Shepard (shoulder, toe) was limited during practice Thursday, Oct. 29.
Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will know more about Shepard's status later in the week. He has been targeted 18 times in three games this season and has posted 135 yards during that span. He will have a tough matchup this week but can still be a flex option in most leagues.
New York Giants OT Cameron Fleming (non-injury), C Nick Gates (non-injury), OG Shane Lemieux (non-injury), C Spencer Pulley (non-injury) and OT Andrew Thomas (non-injury) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 29. WR C.J. Board (concussion), S Adrian Colbert (shoulder) and CB Darnay Holmes (neck) were limited during practice.
Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram II (ankle) and cornerback Jimmy Smith (Achilles) both missed practice on Thursday. It's Ingram's second straight missed practice after he suffered an ankle injury in Week 6. The Ravens had a bye last week, so the fact that he's still not practicing doesn't bode well for his availability in Week 8 against the Steelers. Don't plan on having him this weekend for fantasy purposes. Gus Edwards should see work on early downs if Ingram is sidelined, with rookie J.K. Dobbins used as the change-of-pace back. But the Steelers have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs in 2020, making both Edwards and Dobbins low-upside RB3/flex choices if Ingram is inactive.
New York Giants running back Devonta Freeman (ankle) did not take part in practice on Thursday. Freeman suffered an ankle injury in the Thursday night loss to the Eagles last week and is off to a bad start if he wants to play on Monday night against the Buccaneers in Week 8. Wayne Gallman worked as the primary running back after Freeman was injured last week, and he'd be the preferred fantasy choice over Dion Lewis if Freeman isn't cleared by Monday night. The Buccaneers improved defense has allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing rushers this year, however, so nobody from the Giants backfield will be more than a low-end RB4/flex in deeper leagues in Week 8.