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 8
San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman (knee) could be back in the mix as soon as Sunday versus Seattle, with head coach Kyle Shanahan saying that he was hopeful that they'd have Coleman for the game. The 49ers' backfield has been a constant shuffling endeavor with Raheem Mostert (ankle) and Jeff Wilson Jr. (ankle) both now out of the mix for the foreseeable future. Coleman's return coincides with Jerick McKinnon likely moving up the depth chart, although how any share of carries would be split remains unclear. Coleman started 11 games for San Francisco last season, so despite having compiled just 30 yards across 18 carries this year, he's likely to see an increased role whenever he's officially ready to return. Check back throughout the week for updates on his status as they become available.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers has not been much of a season-long fantasy commodity in 2020, aside from those leagues in which two QB's are rostered. But after a three-touchdown, 371-yard passing performance last weekend, it appears that Rivers has plenty of zing left in his right arm. He gets a middle-of-the-road showdown against Detroit come Sunday, having had ample time to prepare as the Colts come off their bye week. Averaging better than an interception per game throughout his career versus the Lions, Rivers has rough waters ahead with Baltimore and Tennessee looming as potential pitfalls to his fantasy relevancy. The veteran is likely best utilized in deep season-long formats or contrarian DFS scenarios this Sunday.
New York Giants running back Wayne Gallman may wind up being the bell cow out of the backfield for Monday's contest against the Buccaneers after starter Devonta Freeman (ankle) worked on the side during practice Tuesday. Freeman exited the team's game last Thursday against Philadelphia early, carrying the ball only three times. While Gallman notched his first touchdown of the season when given an increased role, he'll have a stout matchup Monday, as the Buccaneers Defense has made opposing run games obsolete in 2020. Opposing backs have combined to rush for just 66 yards per game versus Tampa Bay, the lowest mark in the league, capping Gallman's fantasy intrigue, even if he does ultimately get tabbed as the starter.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker has multiple factors working against his possible success Sunday against the Rams. The first obvious hurdle is that Tua Tagovailoa is making his first NFL start, with the two needing to establish a rapport. Additionally, Los Angeles has allowed just three touchdowns to opposing receivers this season, with All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey likely to flank Parker for much of the contest. On top of that, Parker is battling a groin ailment that may limit his output irrespective of who is throwing him the ball or covering him in the secondary. All in all, season-long and DFS fantasy managers can look elsewhere for production this weekend.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson had a breakout performance in Week 6 versus Atlanta, snagging nine receptions for 166 yards and two touchdowns. But exceeding the 100-yard plateau was not an anomaly for the rookie, who has already done so in three of his first six career outings. Green Bay presents a stout matchup for Jefferson, who saw just three targets the last time that the two teams played, but that was before Minnesota began to involve their newest passing game weapon heavily. Jefferson should be rostered in nearly every season-long format at this stage, especially with another favorable matchup versus the Lions on the horizon next weekend.
Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews has established himself as one of the preeminent TE options across the NFL in 2020, but that won't exempt him from having a tough test Sunday against Pittsburgh. In three career meetings versus the Steelers, Andrews is yet to find the end zone, and this season, the Steelers Defense has allowed just one TD to opposing tight ends. Having blossomed as a favorite target of Lamar Jackson in the passing game, Andrews will also have to combat the fact that fewer than half of the targets that TE's have seen against Pittsburgh this year have been hauled in, making him a risky DFS selection at his price tag, when also considering his two-catch outing versus the Eagles back in Week 6.
Cornerback Eli Apple was released by the Panthers on Tuesday after logging 28 defensive snaps during Sunday's loss to New Orleans. Apple made just four tackles over the course of two games with the Panthers, but the team is already set to move on from the former starter, who has spent the four previous years with the Saints and Giants. Injuries have scuttled Apple's performance and availability in 2020, with the team opting for other in-house options moving forward. The Panthers Defense is a middling season-long fantasy option due to their limited nature in accruing sacks (six in seven games), even as they have racked up 10 turnovers in that span. The release of Apple gives little reason for fantasy managers to change their tune about the unit, but the former No. 10 overall pick should likely find a landing spot in the near future.
Denver Broncos defensive tackle Mike Purcell (foot) will miss the remainder of the 2020 season due to a Lisfranc fracture, serving an additional blow to the depth of the Broncos Defense. Purcell, who had started all six games to begin the year, combined for 15 tackles, including two for a loss, while adding one quarterback hit and one sack prior to his season coming to an end. Denver has McTelvin Agim and Sylvester Williams at its disposal to fill-in at nose tackle, but neither has seen much playing time this season. Denver's defense continues to see its fantasy prospects fade as injuries mount, with difficult matchups versus the Falcons and Raiders on the horizon, as well.
The Detroit Lions are acquiring defensive end Everson Griffen from the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday in exchange for a 2021 sixth-round pick, according to sources. The Cowboys are now 2-5 after their loss to Washington and are officially sellers with the trade deadline approaching and franchise quarterback Dak Prescott (ankle) out for the season. In seven games for Dallas this year, the veteran pass-rusher had 20 tackles (10 solo), six QB hits and 2.5 sacks. Griffen is a four-time Pro Bowler during his 10-year run with the Vikings and will provide veteran leadership to a Lions Defense that ranks 30th in the league in overall fantasy points. You should continue to ignore Detroit's D in Week 8 against the Colts.
Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy doesn't think now is the time for him to give up play-calling duties after the Monday night loss to the Rams. The Bears offense currently ranks 27th in the league in scoring. "Right now, where we're at, that's not where we think it's at, but at the same point in time, I'll always continue each week to look at it," Nagy said. Chicago ranks 32nd in rushing yards per game with just 84.1, with receiver Cordarrelle Patterson as the current backup to David Montgomery. The Bears have a chance to rebound against a Saints team in Week 8 that has allowed the 12th-most points through seven weeks, but they also allow the fourth-fewest rushing yards per contest (89.7). Wideout Allen Robinson II and Montgomery are the only offensive weapons worth starting in standard-sized leagues in this stagnant Bears offense.
The Los Angeles Rams are waiving rookie kicker Samuel Sloman on Tuesday. Sloman connected on all three of his extra points in the Monday night win over the Bears but had one of his two field-goal tries blocked. He hadn't seen enough volume (11 field-goal attempts) this year in the Rams offense in seven games to be considered anything more than a shaky streaming option for fantasy managers. Sloman also missed his lone attempt from 50-plus yards and was one of two from 40-plus yards. The Rams figure to go with Kai Forbath now as their kicker heading into Week 8 against the Dolphins. The 33-year-old was perfect on 11 tries last year with the Cowboys and Patriots, but he'll be an uninspiring option in this LA offense.
New York Jets head coach Adam Gase gave quarterback Sam Darnold a vote of confidence after one of the worst statistical games of his career in the Week 7 loss to the Bills. Darnold was expected to make a second-year leap under Gase, but instead he's showed signs of regression for the 0-7 Jets. It has sparked speculation that New York might draft Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence next year if they secure the top pick. Darnold threw for just 120 yards against Buffalo with two interceptions for a passer rating of 31.1, the second-lowest of his career. Gase put most of the blame on the offensive line, but Darnold has twice as many interceptions (six) as touchdowns (three) in five starts this year. The second-year signal-caller faces another tough matchup in Week 8 against the Chiefs. He could rack up some garbage-time numbers in that one, but Darnold remains a low-end QB2 in this broken Jets offense.
Washington Football Team safety Landon Collins (Achilles) will have surgery to fix a torn left Achilles tendon that he suffered in the Week 7 win over the Cowboys. An MRI exam confirmed the diagnosis on Monday, and Collins will miss the rest of the season. He will eventually be placed on Injured Reserve. Collins had a sack fumble that led to a safety in the first quarter against Dallas and finished with four tackles and a QB hurry. He was signed to a six-year deal worth up to $84 million in 2019 and will be replaced by Kam Curl in the Washington secondary. Fantasy managers will have to go in another direction now in IDP leagues, as Collins was a weekly starting option.
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (ankle), who has been designated to return from Injured Reserve, is wearing a red jersey again on Tuesday, which means he won't take part in practice. With the Panthers playing on Thursday night against the Falcons, it increases the likelihood that McCaffrey won't be available. The 24-year-old All-Pro will be a long shot to play in Week 8 against Atlanta, so his fantasy managers will likely need to wait one more week to make his return against the Chiefs. With McCaffrey likely out for one more week, Mike Davis will have one more week of RB1 upside for those that scooped him off the waiver wire when McCaffrey went down in Week 2.
The Baltimore Ravens are signing wide receiver Dez Bryant to their practice squad on Tuesday, according to a source. It's a notable signing for the three-time Pro Bowler, but this doesn't mean that the former Cowboys star receiver will make Baltimore's active roster at any point during the rest of the season. Bryant hasn't played in the NFL since 2017, when he had 69 catches on 132 targets for 838 yards and six touchdowns. He's a big-bodied receiver at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, but there's no telling how much he actually has left in the tank after tearing his Achilles several years ago in a comeback attempt with the Saints. For now, it's just a cool story and fantasy managers can leave him to the waiver wire.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers officially signed wide receiver Antonio Brown on Tuesday, according to a source. Brown will receive a $750,000 base salary and $250,000 per game as a roster bonus. The 32-year-old played in just one game last year with the Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady, catching four passes (eight targets) for 56 yards and a touchdown. The dynamic will be a bit different in Tampa, but he'll reunite with Brady in an explosive offense that will be missing Chris Godwin (finger) in Week 8 against the Giants. Brown's presence could have a negative effect on wideout Mike Evans, but it remains to be seen exactly how Brown will fit in. But the seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro needs to be owned in all fantasy leagues.
Free-agent WR Dez Bryant (Cowboys) was signed to the Baltimore Ravens' practice squad Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (finger) will miss the team's Week 8 contest against the Giants after fracturing his left index finger in the win over the Raiders. Godwin reportedly suffered the injury while making his touchdown grab in the fourth quarter against Las Vegas. Unfortunately, the injuries keep on piling up for Godwin and his fantasy managers, as he's already dealt with a concussion and a bad hamstring. Fortunately, the team is optimistic that he'll only miss their Week 8 contest and be able to return for Week 9 against the Saints. In Godwin's absence, Mike Evans (ankle) and Scotty Miller (hip) will pick up the receiving reps, with Antonio Brown not expected to suit up until the New Orleans game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans (ankle) was asked by head coach Bruce Arians what health percentage he was at before the Week 7 game, and Evans said 80 percent.
Fantasy Spin: It shows. Evans is only receiving about 5.5 targets per game, whereas he has been between 8-9 targets per game the last two years. He's unfortunately probably not going to be the 80-catch, 1,200-yard receiver you hoped for, but his six touchdowns are a great start after he had five, eight and eight the last three years. He's a top-notch WR2.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (finger) suffered a fractured left index finger in Week 7 that required surgery Tuesday, Oct. 27. He has been ruled out for Week 8, but he could return for Week 9.
Fantasy Spin: Rob Gronkowski has had eight targets in each of the last two games and has emerged as a low-end TE1. Godwin's absence will benefit him again Monday night. Tyler Johnson also benefits as he has vultured a touchdown in each of the last two games. He'll be in the flex mix.