Fri Nov 27 6:59pm ET
By JOSH DUBOW
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.
Five Hot Plays: Week 12
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal (knee/foot) was a limited participant in Friday's practice and is listed as questionable heading into Sunday's divisional matchup against the Titans. Pascal has been consistently average this season, catching at least two passes in every game. He has no more than five receptions in any game and has found the end zone just two times. If he is able to play, he will match up against a Titans secondary that surrendered four catches for 33 yards to Pascal in their first meeting. He can be counted on to chip in for some fantasy points but is not going to contribute a whole lot. He is a fringe flex option in deeper formats.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers (toe) is listed as questionable following Friday's practice, but he is expected to start on Sunday. Rivers is in a little groove over the past month or so, but he still lacks big upside potential. He is throwing the ball about 35 times per game and is averaging just a little over one touchdown per game. Those definitely are not QB1 numbers, so he is best suited as a low-end QB2. He takes on a Titans Defense this week that is not great against the pass, and Rivers threw for over 300 yards and a touchdown against them in Week 10. It is a decent matchup for Rivers, but do not expect him to have a high ceiling in Week 12.
Atlanta Falcons TE Hayden Hurst (ankle) was limited during practice Friday, Nov. 27, and is listed as questionable for Week 12.
Fantasy Spin: Hurst could be a game-time decision, so fantasy players will need to check the inactive list for his status. He has been playing well over the last month and can be a low-end No. 1 fantasy tight end if he is active.
Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hamstring) did not participate in practice Friday, Nov. 27, and is listed as questionable for Week 12.
Fantasy Spin: Jones has been dealing with hamstring issues for most of the season, so he probably will be a game-time decision. He is a risky option because of the injury but can still be a starting option if he is active.
Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley (foot) was limited during practice Friday, Nov. 27, but is not on the injury report for Week 12.
Fantasy Spin: Ridley has been one of the top receivers in the NFL this season and should be a starting option in all fantasy leagues.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel gets a fantastic matchup in Week 12. The Vikings' secondary has allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to receivers. Unfortunately, Samuel has shown his fantasy managers how low his floor is, as he had just eight receiving yards two weeks ago. However, Samuel does possess week-winning upside as a flex play- and this might be the week to gamble on his potential. Only play Samuel if you have high-floor options around him. He's in the WR3/4 ranks, though he could certainly out-produce those ranked near him.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (finger) fully participated in practice Friday, Nov. 27, and is not on the injury report for Week 12.
Fantasy Spin: The Buccaneers have several targets in the passing game, but Godwin still appears to be one of the focal points for Tom Brady. He can be considered at least a No. 2 receiver in fantasy leagues.
New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara (foot) was limited during practice Friday, Nov. 27, but is not on the injury report for Week 12.
Fantasy Spin: Kamara was limited to only 45 yards last week but still has five total touchdowns in the last three games. He will continue to be a focal point in the offense and is a must-start option in all leagues.
New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas (ankle) was limited during practice Friday, Nov. 27, but is not on the injury report for Week 12.
Fantasy Spin: Thomas showed a good connection with Taysom Hill last weeks and should see a solid amount of targets this week. He should be a starting option in all fantasy leagues.
Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (hip) was logged on the team's injury report Thursday following a limited participation in practice. He was also a limited participant in Friday's practice, but it appears that he is good to go for Sunday. Jacobs is a must-start option this Sunday against a Falcons Defense that ranks 24th against opposing running backs. He has four touchdowns and is averaging 17 rushing attempts per game over his last three games. The Falcons are allowing 4.4 yards per carry and have surrendered 11 total rushing touchdowns so far this season. Fantasy owners should feel good about Jacobs' recent performances and his favorable matchup this week.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (hamstring) practiced all week and was taken off the final injury report, meaning he will return for Week 12 against the division-rival Rams. Samuel will be returning for the first time since Week 7, which is great news for a banged-up 49ers offense that will likely once again be without rookie Brandon Aiyuk, who tested positive for COVID-19. But the 24-year-old Samuel will be taking throws from backup Nick Mullens and will likely face All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey in coverage in his first game back. That's not an ideal situation, even if Samuel had six catches for 66 yards and a touchdown against LA in their first meeting. You're best off taking a wait-and-see approach with Samuel, who should be considered a risky WR4/flex in his first game back.
Tennessee Titans TE Jonnu Smith (ankle) fully participated in practice Friday, Nov. 27, and is not on the injury report for Week 12.
Fantasy Spin: Smith has been posting disappointing yardage totals over the last several weeks but does have two touchdowns in the last three weeks. He could be a low-end No. 1 tight end in some leagues but is not a must-start option.
Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (non-injury) fully participated in practice Friday, Nov. 27. The Steelers did not hold a practice Friday, so this is an estimation.
Fantasy Spin: Roethlisberger has played well this season is a risky option this week because there is still a chance the game will not be played when scheduled. Fantasy players can bench Roethlisberger if they have decent alternatives available.
Pittsburgh Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (non-injury) fully participated in practice Friday, Nov. 27. The Steelers did not hold a practice Friday, so this is an estimation.
Fantasy Spin: Smith-Schuster is usually a solid No. 2 fantasy receiver each week but is a risky option this week because of the uncertainty of the team's Week 12 game. Players can consider benching Smith-Schuster this week if they have solid alternatives available.
Pittsburgh Steelers TE Eric Ebron (non-injury) fully participated in practice Friday, Nov. 27. The Steelers did not hold a practice Friday, so this is an estimation.
Fantasy Spin: Ebron has become a reliable fantasy option over the last several weeks but is a risky option this week because of the uncertainty of the Week 12 game. He could be benched if fantasy players have decent alternatives available.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson has an excellent matchup in Week 12 against the Vikings' secondary. Anderson has had a couple of quiet fantasy outings recently but has remained a target hog in this offense, as he's averaged 8.8 looks per contest over his last five games. There should be plenty of openings over the middle of the field for Anderson, who is looking like a lock for at least eight targets in this game. If he sees that kind of volume, he'll bounce back in a big way against a bad defense. Start Anderson as a WR2 but don't be surprised if he finishes among the top-12 at his position.
New England Patriots RB Rex Burkhead (knee) confirmed via social media earlier in the week that he will not play again this season. Multiple sources believe Burkhead suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Week 11 against the Houston Texans.
Fantasy Spin: Head coach Bill Belichick confirmed Sony Michel will be active for Week 12, but it remains to be seen what kind of role he can carve out with Damien Harris performing as well as he has in recent weeks. From a playing time perspective, James White figures to benefit the most from Burkhead's absence and should be a solid flex option in PPR leagues when New England finds itself in negative game scripts. Running backs coach Ivan Fears downplayed the likelihood of J.J. Taylor playing more, so fantasy owners can eliminate him from consideration.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore (shoulder) was a full participant in practice all week and is good to go for Week 12 against the Vikings. Minnesota has allowed the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers and the second-most touchdowns, making this a smash spot for Moore, who is coming off a 127-yard performance last week. The 23-year-old has exceeded 50 receiving yards in six of his last seven games. He's a legit WR2 with WR1 upside this week.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Adam Humphries (concussion), tight end MyCole Pruitt (knee) and cornerback Adoree' Jackson (knee) have been ruled out for Week 12 against the division-rival Colts. Humphries was injured in Week 8 and hasn't played since, recording 22 catches (31 targets) for 219 yards and two touchdowns in six games this year. Pruitt has just three receptions for 17 yards and a score in six games in 2020 as the backup to Jonnu Smith. Kalif Raymond and Cameron Batson will mix in on three-receiver sets behind A.J. Brown and Corey Davis with Humphries still out. Brown and Smith are the only two realistic Titans pass-catchers that are realistic fantasy starts against a Colts Defense that has proven to be one of the best in the NFL this year.
Tennessee Titans WR Adam Humphries (concussion) was limited during practice Friday, Nov. 27, but has been ruled out for Week 12.
Fantasy Spin: Humphries is making progress but has not been cleared at this point. A.J. Brown and Corey Davis will continue to see most of the targets in the passing game, and both should be starting fantasy options.