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49ers getting Samuel, possibly other key players back

Fri Nov 27 6:59pm ET
AP Pro Football Writer

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) The San Francisco 49ers could be getting a handful key players back from injuries this week but may have to wait longer for six players on the COVID-19 list to return.

Receiver Deebo Samuel has been cleared to return for Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Rams after missing the past three games with a hamstring injury.

Leading rusher Raheem Mostert (ankle), starting cornerback Richard Sherman (calf) and backup running back Jeff Wilson Jr. (ankle) are set to be activated from injured reserve on Saturday and are all questionable to play this week. Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw was activated from the COVID-19 list Friday and is also questionable to play against the Rams.

It wasn't all good news for the 49ers, who have been decimated by injuries and the coronavirus all season. Left tackle Trent Williams, receiver Brandon Aiyuk, defensive linemen D.J. Jones and Jordan Willis, linebacker Joe Walker and tight end Daniel Helm all remain on the COVID-19 list. Coach Kyle Shanahan said he believes only Williams has an ''outside chance'' of playing this week.

The team has also been hampered by a lack of practice time this week.

''I know we had some guys out, maybe had to switch the practice schedule around as far as walkthrough and how much live reps we get, but it hasn't been too bad,'' quarterback Nick Mullens said. ''We had virtual meetings. Our circumstances are different a little but the same info is getting distributed as far as the game plan goes, the same reps.''

The lack of healthy bodies has limited the 49ers to just one full practice since losing at New Orleans on Nov. 15. They shut down the facility during their bye week after defensive lineman Arik Armstead tested positive for the coronavirus.

They had a full practice Wednesday before holding essentially walkthroughs the next two days after tight end Jordan Reed and linebackers Dre Greenlaw and Azeez Al-Shaair were sent home with illnesses. All three are questionable for Sunday.

''It's been a challenge,'' Shanahan said. ''The meetings has been the easier part. Everyone in the league is getting used to Zooming. We had to do it a lot in the offseason. ... The biggest challenge was coming back from having a week off and knowing how much work we had to get to get crisp and really only having Wednesday.''

San Francisco even lost a player in the walkthrough when offensive lineman Tom Compton suffered a concussion on Thursday. He will miss the game and be replaced at right guard by rookie Colton McKivitz.

NOTES: RB Tevin Coleman (knee), LB Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles (hamstring) and CB K'Waun Williams (ankle) are all out this week.

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Tyler Higbee Nov 27 7:00pm ET

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay said that tight end Tyler Higbee (elbow) will be a game-time decision for Week 12 against the division-rival 49ers. Already coming into this game as a low-end and unreliable TE2, Higbee should be avoided by fantasy managers this weekend. He scored three times on five catches in Week 2 but hasn't scored since and has over three receptions since then just one time. Gerald Everett hasn't done much to talk about either, but he'd become a more attractive TE2 sleeper in DFS and deeper leagues if Higbee were inactive Sunday. The 49ers Defense has also excelled against the tight end position this year, allowing the second-fewest fantasy points per game to the position and only two touchdowns all season.

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Mike Davis Nov 27 7:00pm ET

Carolina Panthers running back Mike Davis is likely to get another start as the team's lead back in Week 12 against Minnesota. With Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) on the wrong side of questionable, look for Davis to see around 15 to 20 touches against the Vikings, who rank 24th against the run. The Panthers clearly have no problem with Davis as their lead runner, so fantasy managers should go back to the veteran one more time. He's a solid RB2 option, though he has a safer floor in PPR formats.

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Lamar Jackson Nov 27 7:00pm ET

The Pittsburgh Steelers placed defensive end Stephon Tuitt, defensive tackle Isaiah Buggs and offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday. Tuitt could be a big loss for the elite Steelers Defense with their game being moved to Tuesday night in Week 12 due to COVID-19 issues in the Ravens organization. The 27-year-old pass-rusher ranks ninth in fantasy points among defensive linemen in IDP leagues with 23 tackles, seven sacks and two forced fumbles in 10 games for Pittsburgh. It's unclear if Tuitt actually tested positive for the virus, but his status will be in question for Tuesday regardless. The Steelers defense has become riskier with the threat of the game being postponed, but if the game is played, they should be considered a top-10 fantasy unit with Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson out due to COVID-19.

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Teddy Bridgewater Nov 27 6:50pm ET

Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (knee) was a full participant in practice all week and is good to go for his revenge game against the Vikings in Week 12. Bridgewater has thrown for at least two touchdowns in three of his last four games and has added two rushing scores in that time span. The former Viking will look to dissect the 25th-ranked secondary of his former employer, making him a streamer-worthy candidate. He's best utilized in 2QB formats, though he can also be used as a streamer in leagues that only start one signal-caller.

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Noah Fant Nov 27 6:50pm ET

Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant has been trending toward 100 percent health this week after practicing in full all week while dealing with a ribs injury. Fant's fantasy managers were expecting more this year when he scored in the first two games of the season, but he hasn't scored since and was slowed by an ankle injury. He's also been held back by the shoddy quarterback play of second-year signal-caller Drew Lock. Fant still has TE1 upside at a thin position, though, and he could benefit from a healthy amount of targets if rookie receiver Jerry Jeudy (Achilles, ankle) is limited or out this weekend. The Saints Defense has allowed six touchdowns to tight ends this year, so Fant will be looking to reach the end zone again for the first time since Week 2.

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Jerry Jeudy Nov 27 6:40pm ET

Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (Achilles, ankle) was limited in practice on Friday and is questionable for Week 12 against the Saints. If Jeudy is not able to go, Tim Patrick would be the unquestioned No. 1 wideout and would have WR3/flex appeal, while fellow rookie K.J. Hamler would also become a more attractive WR4/flex in deeper leagues in a game in which the Broncos are likely to have to throw more than they'd like to. Jeudy is impressive as a route-runner and has seen at least eight targets in each of the last four games, but quarterback Drew Lock has been terribly inaccurate and inconsistent when targeting the rookie from Alabama. The Saints Defense is more vulnerable through the air, but they also feature some veteran cornerbacks. If Jeudy suits up, he'll be a WR4/flex option for fantasy managers.

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Drew Lock Nov 27 6:40pm ET

Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (ribs) practiced in full all week and wasn't on the team's final injury report for Week 12 against the Saints. Lock was questionable last week but played in the surprising win over the Dolphins. The second-year QB was more of a game manager in Week 11 with the running game doing its job. We'd expect Lock to have to throw the ball more against New Orleans, but that won't necessarily make him an attractive QB2 streamer. The Saints secondary has begun to tighten up in recent weeks, too, and Lock has thrown 11 interceptions in eight games, including at least one in each of the last six weeks. He can be avoided in single-QB leagues and is a low-end QB2 in superflex leagues against a strong Saints Defense.

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Sammy Watkins Nov 27 6:30pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said there's a "pretty good chance" that wide receiver Sammy Watkins (calf, hamstring) will play in Week 12 against the Buccaneers. Watkins has been out since Week 5 but is worth an addition off the waiver wire if he was dropped by his previous owner. He practiced in full on Friday and was taken off the final injury report. The 27-year-old wideout can go off in this explosive offense at any moment, but fantasy managers may want to take a wait-and-see approach just in case KC eases him back into an offense with plenty of other weapons. He has two touchdowns and has seven receptions in two separate contests, but he'll be a boom/bust WR4/flex in his first game back. His return also makes both Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson even tougher to predict as boom/bust home run threats.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Nov 27 6:30pm ET

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense should be avoided in Week 12 when they take on the Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City has just seven total turnovers on offense and has allowed 12 sacks. Not only is there limited upside for the Buccaneers defense, but the Chiefs also lead the league in points per game. Stay away from Tampa Bay's defense this week, if possible.

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Marquez Valdes-Scantling Nov 27 6:20pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (Achilles) missed practice on Friday and is questionable for Week 12 against the division-rival Bears. Valdes-Scantling injured himself in practice on Thursday and looks unlikely for this weekend's game. MVS does have three touchdowns in the last three games, including two scores in Week 9 against the 49ers, but he had just three catches for 55 yards with Allen Lazard back in the lineup in Week 11. Lazard had just two catches on four targets for 18 yards as he was eased back in, but Lazard will be the more exciting upside flex option to close out the year as he gets closer to full health. We wouldn't recommend using Lazard as a WR4/flex just yet against Chicago's very strong secondary.

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Rob Gronkowski Nov 27 6:20pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski prepares to face off with the defending champion Chiefs in a Week 12 battle. Gronkowski has been giving to fantasy owners in all formats lately, as he's scored at least 10 standard points and 13 PPR points in four of his last six games, averaging 5.8 targets per contest. With the tight end position more of a dice roll than usual, Gronkowski offers something of good value- he checks in among the leaders at the position in red-zone targets. That's worth starting him as a solid TE1 in a game that could end up with a high point total.

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Irv Smith Jr. Nov 27 6:20pm ET

Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. (groin) is doubtful to play in Week 12 against the Panthers. Smith missed practice the last two days, so fantasy managers need to remove him from their starting lineups. The second-year tight end hasn't gone over four receptions or 64 yards receiving in a single game this year and has just two touchdowns, so he's been more of a TE2 in 2020. Kyle Rudolph should benefit from Smith's absence, as he saw a season-high five targets in the only other game in which Smith didn't play this year. Rudolph could also benefit from extra looks with wide receiver Adam Thielen unlikely to play because of COVID-19. Rudolph can be considered a TE2 sleeper in DFS and deeper single-year formats.

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Gardner Minshew II Nov 27 6:10pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II (thumb) is listed as questionable for Week 12 against the Browns. Minshew hasn't played since Week 7, but head coach Doug Marrone already named Mike Glennon the starter against Cleveland earlier this week. But it looks as though Minshew is nearing full health, so he could have a shot at earning the starting gig back if Glennon, who is making his first start since 2017 with the Bears, struggles on Sunday. Minshew isn't guaranteed anything the rest of the year, but he'd become a low-end QB2 option in superflex leagues if he were to regain the starting job to close out the season.

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Davante Adams Nov 27 6:10pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (ankle) returned to practice on Friday and isn't on the team's final Week 12 injury report against the division-rival Bears. Adams looked completely healthy last week while catching seven passes for 106 yards and his eight touchdown in the last five games. He's arguably the best fantasy wideout right now, so he's a high-end, must-start wideout this Sunday, even against a tough Bears Defense. Chicago has allowed a league-low 11.2 catches per game to opposing pass-catchers, and they're getting star safety Eddie Jackson back from the COVID-19 list. Expect Adams to see plenty of cornerback Kyle Fuller in this one, although Green Bay may move Adams around to avoid him at times.

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Tevin Coleman Nov 27 6:00pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman (knee) has been ruled out for Week 12 against the division-rival Rams. Raheem Mostert (ankle) and Jeff Wilson Jr. (ankle) will be activated from Injured Reserve on Saturday and are expected to play on Sunday, joining Jerick McKinnon in a crowded backfield. Mostert was the leader of this backfield before his injury, but head coach Kyle Shanahan could change things up in what is becoming a big headache for fantasy managers. Coleman may not even have much of a role when he returns to action, making him droppable for better options in shallow leagues. If Mostert is active, he'll be a shaky WR3/flex against a tough Rams defensive line.

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Jakeem Grant Nov 27 6:00pm ET

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jakeem Grant Sr. (hamstring) is listed as questionable for Week 12 against the Jets. Grant was limited in practice the last two days, so he has a pretty good chance of facing the winless Jets. The 28-year-old has drawn 17 targets for 10 catches and a touchdown in the last three weeks and seems to have good chemistry with rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. However, Tagovailoa looked terrible in Week 11 and might not play this weekend after injuring his thumb in practice on Wednesday. If Grant is active, he'll be a WR4/5 in deeper leagues despite the excellent matchup with New York. If Grant sits, DeVante Parker could see a huge target load, while Mack Hollins, Antonio Callaway and rookies Malcolm Perry and Lynn Bowden Jr. could have a chance to make some noise.

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Antonio Brown Nov 27 6:00pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown has been a strong producer since joining the team. Aside from the blowout loss to New Orleans, Brown has put up 7-69-0 and 8-57-0 receiving lines on eight and 13 targets, respectively. Those are essentially WR2-level workloads, though the matchup against the Chiefs is certainly a tough one. Considering that Kansas City has surrendered the third-fewest targets to wide receiver this year, a slight downgrade to Brown's prospects is necessary. However, this game could go the way of the shootout, which would give Brown WR2 upside.

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Chris Godwin Nov 27 5:50pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin has developed a nice chemistry with Tom Brady over the last few games. Godwin has compiled at least six receptions and 50 receiving yards in each of the last two games against relatively tough matchups. He has proven to be a reliable receiver over the middle of the field, as Brady has looked deep less often recently. Godwin is a good bet for around seven to 10 targets again in what is looking like a high-scoring contest, even though the Chiefs have been tough against wideouts. Lock him in lineups as a strong WR2 option.

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Jeff Wilson Nov 27 5:50pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running backs Raheem Mostert (ankle) and Jeff Wilson Jr. (ankle) and cornerback Richard Sherman (calf) will be activated from Injured Reserve on Saturday and will be questionable for Week 12 against the Rams. Mostert has been out since Week 6 but could be inserted back into the lead-back role, albeit in a crowded backfield, if he's active on Sunday. He will certainly be a nice addition to fantasy lineups that are trying to make a postseason run, but Mostert will be a somewhat shaky RB3/flex if he's eased back into the fold in a crowded backfield against a Rams Defense allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to RBs in 2020. Wilson has been out since Week 7 but was effective when asked to step up for San Fran. Mostert will be the most attractive fantasy back on the Niners if he plays, but this backfield will still be a headache for fantasy managers in Week 12.

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Mike Evans Nov 27 5:40pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans faces a Chiefs Defense that has been stingy to opposing wideouts. The Chiefs have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to the position, though there's a good chance this game turns into a battle between Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes. If that happens, Evans would surely be one of the beneficiaries. Over the last four games, he's averaging 8.3 targets and 61.3 receiving yards- he has three touchdowns in that span. He has remained a steady producer despite the addition of Antonio Brown to the offense. Keep Evans in the lineup as an upside WR2 despite the seemingly tough matchup.

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