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
Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson II (concussion) and linebacker Khalil Mack (ankle) are both questionable for Week 8 against the Saints. Robinson is on the wrong side of questionable since he hasn't practiced at all this week, so fantasy managers need to be making plans to be without him this Sunday. An A-Rob absence would mean more targets for Anthony Miller and rookie Darnell Mooney, but they'd still both be low-upside deep league flex options in Chicago's stagnant offense. If Robinson does suit up, he'd be a risky low-end WR2 at risk of re-injury. The Bears Defense remains in the streaming conversation, but they'll lose some luster if Mack is ruled out and Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) returns to action.
Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel has ruled out rookie cornerback Kristian Fulton (knee) and safety Dane Cruikshank (groin) for Week 8 against the Bengals. The good news is that linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (knee) returned to practice on Friday and has been removed from the final injury report. Tennessee's secondary might be a little bit more vulnerable this weekend against Cincinnati, but they're still a streamable fantasy defense against rookie quarterback Joe Burrow. But it's surely something to watch, as the Titans Defense has allowed the seventh-most passing yards per game (282.3), and the Bengals have plenty of weapons in the passing game at all levels. They also rank 31st in the NFL with just seven sacks, so the upside is limited with Tennessee's D.
The New York Giants Defense has not been a consistent unit for fantasy managers this season and faces another bad matchup in Week 8. Tampa Bay allows the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing defenses and even though the Buccaneers are banged-up, New York isn't a recommended start in fantasy. New York is in the bottom third of the NFL in total defense and shouldn't pose much of a threat to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers Monday night.
The Minnesota Vikings placed cornerback Mike Hughes (neck) on Injured Reserve on Friday and signed safety Curtis Riley in a corresponding move. Hughes has missed two games this season and wasn't able to get healthy during the team's bye last week. The third-year cornerback had posted 13 tackles (nine solo) and one pass defensed in his four games (two starts) this season. It's more bad news for a Vikings Defense that has really crumbled to this point in the 2020 season. They rank 29th in the league in overall fantasy points and have allowed 297.8 passing yards per game, which is the fourth-most in the NFL. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers passing game could go off this Sunday in the divisional matchup.
New York Jets WR Jamison Crowder (groin) suffered a setback in practice Friday, Oct. 30, with his groin injury, and has been downgraded to doubtful on the team's Week 8 injury report. He is not expected to play Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Fantasy Spin: Crowder, the Jets' leading receiver with 29 receptions for 383 yards and two TDs in four games, likely will miss a second straight contest, meaning his fantasy owners will need to line up an alternate WR2 plan again this week.
New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate has been trending downward in the Giants offense and faces another tough test Monday against the Buccaneers. Tate caught a touchdown last week versus the Eagles, but it was his only catch of the game making it back-to-back weeks the veteran receiver had just one catch. Tate has just three targets over the past two weeks and has virtually no upside in a Giants offense that ranks 28th in the NFL in passing yards. Fantasy managers can do better than relying on Tate in Week 8.
Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller is having another solid season and will have a great opportunity to continue that this week against the Browns. Waller is currently third in fantasy points per game among tight ends, and the Browns rank 28th against opposing tight ends this season. He is leading the Raiders in both targets and receiving yards, and the Browns will have a difficult time matching up against him this week. He had a tough matchup against the Buccaneers last week and still managed to catch 6 balls for 50 yards and a touchdown. This is a much easier matchup, and he is definitely a must-start option. Look for Waller to have a big Week 8.
After undergoing an MRI exam on Friday, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (ankle) is considered day-to-day, according to a source. Ridley will have a chance to return for the Week 9 game against the Broncos after some extra rest, according to interim head coach Raheem Morris. The 25-year-old third-year receiver had his ankle rolled up on in the second quarter of the Thursday night win over the Panthers and never returned to the game. He caught three of his four targets for 42 yards before leaving, but he was in line for a much bigger game for his fantasy managers. Ridley has been a must-start fantasy wideout this year, catching 43 passes for 657 yards and six touchdowns through eight games. Keep a close eye on his practice status next week leading up to the game against Denver's inexperienced secondary.
Updating a previous report, Green Bay Packers RB Aaron Jones (calf) on Friday, Oct. 30, was ruled out of the team's Week 8 game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Fantasy Spin: No surprise as Jones will miss a second straight week. Hopefully his fantasy owners were able to secure or have been rostering backup Jamaal Williams, who had 23 touches for 114 yards and a TD in Jones' stead a week ago against the Houston Texans.
Chicago Bears LB Khalil Mack (ankle) returned to limited participation in practice Friday, Oct. 30, and is listed as questionable on the team's Week 8 injury report.
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III is likely not a volume receiver in Week 8 against the Browns but certainly has big-play potential. He showed why he was so dangerous in Week 5 against the Chiefs, getting loose in the secondary for a 72-yard touchdown. However, it seems as if that is where his value lies at the time. The good news is that he will be matching up against a Browns secondary that is prone to the big play. They have allowed 24 passing plays over 20 yards or more, which is tied for fifth most in the league. The Browns have also allowed 116 receptions on first down plays, which is tied for second most in the league. This could point to the Raiders taking shots down the field with Ruggs in early downs. Ruggs is definitely a volatile option but has the potential for a good fantasy performance if he can connect with Derek Carr on a couple big plays.
The Green Bay Packers have ruled out running back Aaron Jones (calf) for the Week 8 game against the division-rival Vikings. Things were trending this way with Jones having not seen the practice field at all this week. He tweaked his calf in practice last week and didn't play in the Week 7 win over the Texans, so this will be Jones' second straight missed game. Jamaal Williams filled in for Jones last week as the primary running back and carried the ball 19 times for 77 yards and a touchdown. He also caught four of his five targets in the passing game for 37 additional yards. Williams serves as a fine plug-and-play RB2 once again this weekend. It remains to be seen if Jones can return for a Week 9 showdown with the 49ers.
Updating a previous report, Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook (groin) is listed as questionable on the team's updated Week 8 injury report.
Fantasy Spin: Cook still seems like a good bet to return and play Sunday, but fantasy GMs will likely now have to wait until pregame Sunday to make sure he is indeed active. If so, plug him back in as a RB1.
Chicago Bears WR Allen Robinson (concussion) did not practice Friday, Oct. 30, and is listed as questionable on the team's Week 8 injury report. However, Robinson could still play Sunday in Week 8 if he's able to clear the concussion protocol this weekend, according to a team beat reporter.
Fantasy Spin: It may be a slim one, but there's still a chance for Robinson, and his fantasy owners are likely going to need to monitor his situation up until the pregame inactives list is released Sunday. The bad news is that the Bears have a late-afternoon kickoff (4:25 p.m. ET) this week.
Updating a previous report, Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (groin) is listed as questionable to play in Week 8 against the Packers. The Vikings previously had taken Cook off the final injury report, but they've since made an adjustment. Cook has had the last two weeks to heal up and returned to practice this week, so he's still on track to play this Sunday in the divisional matchup, but fantasy managers will need to check the team's inactives on Sunday morning. If active, the 25-year-old has high-end RB1 upside after rushing for two touchdowns against Green Bay in Week 1. The Packers Defense has been very vulnerable to opposing running backs in 2020. Alexander Mattison would revert to a backup role if Cook returns.
New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton is coming off back-to-back two-catch games and faces another stiff test Monday versus Tampa Bay. Slayton has had some boom games this season including multiple 100-yard efforts, but he also has a tendency to disappear in New York's inconsistent offense. Slayton has three or fewer catches in five of seven games this season so it is risky to chase his upside as the top receiver for the Giants. Slayton is a boom-or-bust WR3 for fantasy in Week 8.
Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs had his worst performance of the year in Week 7, rushing for just 17 yards on 10 carries. He will have an opportunity to rebound this week, but rushing yards still will not come easy. Jacobs is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry on the season, and the Browns are allowing just 3.8 yards per carry, which ranks sixth best in the league. However, the Browns have allowed nine rushing touchdowns so far this season. Jacobs has been a productive back this season but has not been the RB1 fantasy owners were hoping for coming into the season. He is averaging 23 yards per game less than what he did as a rookie but can hopefully have a breakout performance in Week 8. He is still a must-start option in all fantasy formats.
New York Giants tight end Evan Engram has been a major disappointment in fantasy and now faces another stiff test Monday against the Buccaneers. Engram is averaging just 32 yards-per-game and is yet to find the end zone this season. The small sliver of good news for fantasy managers is Engram had nine targets last week, but he is simply too risky to trust as a starter in fantasy besides 14-team leagues and deeper.
Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker (groin) is expected to play in Week 8 against the Los Angeles Rams, head coach Brian Flores said Friday, Oct. 30.
Fantasy Spin: Parker looks as if he'll be out there Sunday as a top target for rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa in his first start. Considering the health issue and a new quarterback, Parker is a WR3/flex consideration this week.
Green Bay Packers PK Mason Crosby (back, calf) was present for the team's practice Friday, Oct. 30.
Fantasy Spin: Good sign for Crosby, who missed practice the previous two days, and now we'll wait to see what his level of participation was and his status for Week 8.