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 Sleepers: Week 7
Washington Football Team wide receivers Dontrelle Inman and Isaiah Wright have a great matchup versus a struggling Cowboys Defense in Week 7 and can be considered in 14-plus team fantasy leagues as flex options. Dallas allows the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Both players had five targets last week as Washington desperately needs another WR to step up opposite Terry McLaurin. Wright hasn't scored a touchdown this season and neither has more than 45 yards in a game - so there's heavy risk involved in playing Inman or Wright - but they do have sleeper appeal thanks to a good matchup and are solid low-cost DFS plays in tournaments.
Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin has his best matchup in several weeks as the Dallas Cowboys head to the nation's capital. Over the last five weeks, McLaurin has been opposite four Pro Bowl cornerbacks as well as James Bradberry who is well on his way to earning "shutdown corner" status this season. Despite the murderer's row of cornerbacks, McLaurin is averaging over 80 yards per game and has not been targeted less than seven times in a game this season. This bodes well for Scary Terry as he is set to face a Cowboys Defense that allows the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Start McLaurin with confidence as a WR1 in Week 7.
Washington Football Team quarterback Kyle Allen will get the nod under center for the second-straight week and will face a good matchup versus a struggling Cowboys Defense. Allen played well in his first start last week throwing for 280 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. This week, he'll face another soft matchup versus Dallas who's pass defense has just one interception against 14 passing touchdowns allowed. Allen won't light up the scoreboard, but he's a viable starter in two-QB fantasy leagues.
New England Patriots wide receiver Damiere Byrd has put together a couple of decent games for this offense thus far. The passing attack in New England hasn't been pretty, but Byrd is making the most of it. He hauled in three of his four targets for 38 yards in the loss to the Denver Broncos last week. He'll get a tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 7. A secondary that has allowed the third-fewest amount of yards this season in the passing attack. Byrd has hauled in at least three receptions in each of the last four games. He might be a desperation deep league option here.
New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman has been having a difficult time getting anything going over the last few weeks. It doesn't seem that quarterback Cam Newton and Edelman are able to develop any kind of chemistry together. Last week, Edelman finished with two receptions for eight yards in the loss to the Denver Broncos. It's highly unlikely that Edelman holds much better value here versus the San Francisco 49ers. A team that has been solid against the passing attack all season. Maybe, Edelman can hold low-end WR3 value if he's lucky.
New England Patriots wide receiver N'Keal Harry has been a tough player to own in fantasy leagues this season. It's almost impossible to predict his fantasy value on a weekly basis. He finished with zero receptions on two targets in the loss to the Denver Broncos last week. It's unlikely that things are going to head in a positive direction against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 7. A defense that has allowed the third-fewest passing yards per game this season. Harry can be benched in most standard leagues this week.
New England Patriots running back Rex Burkhead has not seen a big role in the offense since the return of James White. Last week, Burkhead saw five carries for 14 yards in the loss to the Denver Broncos. It won't get easier for Burkhead against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 7. He'll be against one of the best run defenses in the league and James White has taken over the majority of the receiving duties. It's unlikely that Burkhead has much value in any formats going forward.
New England Patriots running back James White has been a reliable PPR option over the last few weeks. This team doesn't have many weapons on offense, which often leads to screen passes and short routes to White. Last week, White hauled in eight receptions for 65 yards in the loss to the Denver Broncos. Often times, White doesn't get more than a handful of carries out of the backfield. Most of his value comes from the receiving game, which makes him an intriguing PPR option against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 7.
New England Patriots running back Damien Harris has become the lead back, but was unable to do much last week. He rushed six times for 19 yards in the loss to the Denver Broncos. It won't get any easier for Harris as he faces the San Francisco 49ers in Week 7. A team that has allowed the second fewest amount of fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. The 49ers have not allowed a back to get over 100 yards yet. Harris belongs on the bench in most standard formats this week.
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton has thrown for less than 200 yards in three of his four games this season. The veteran quarterback has been able to salvage his fantasy value by running the ball. He rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown in the loss to the Denver Broncos last week. Newton doesn't have the best weapons in New England, so it's unlikely he carves up the 49ers Defense. They've been strong against the pass, so the best way for Newton to do damage is with his legs. Fantasy owners should expect more of the same with Newton in this one.
Detroit Lions LB Jarrad Davis received reps with the first-team defense during practice Friday, Oct. 23, and could be in line to see increased playing time after being successful in a limited role.
Las Vegas Raiders S Jeff Heath appears to be the leading candidate to start at strong safety in place of SS Johnathan Abram for Week 7's contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After being on the field for an average of just 10 percent of the team's defensive snaps through the first four games, Heath began to see more playing time in Week 6's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, when he was on the field for 42 percent of the Raiders' defensive plays.
New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley (knee) is scheduled to undergo reconstructive surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament next week and doctors are optimistic that he will be ready for training camp. Barkley needed to wait for his medial collateral ligament injury to heal before he was eligible to undergo ACL surgery.
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch has both made and received calls about WR Dante Pettis recently, although no deal appears imminent, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan.
The Las Vegas Raiders defense has been statistically one of the worst defenses in the league this season. They are averaging under two fantasy points per game and face an ascending Buccaneers offense this week. Tom Brady is currently fourth in the league in passing touchdowns, and this Tampa Bay offense is ascending after hanging 31 offensive points on Green Bay in Week 6. The Raiders rank 27th in scoring defense and 24th in yards allowed. There is nothing to suggest they will have a good performance this week and should be kept on the bench or dropped entirely.
Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller has a tough test against the Buccaneers this week, but he should be able to produce a solid fantasy performance. Waller has been great at home this season, with 21 catches, 193 yards, and a touchdown in two games. The Buccaneers have one of the league's best defenses, but the Patriots are the only team to hold Waller under five catches so far this season. He currently ranks third in fantasy points per game among tight ends, and he leads the Raiders in targets. The Buccaneers rank sixth in the league against tight ends, but fantasy owners should feel comfortable starting him based on his performances so far this season.
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III will have a tough matchup against a good Buccaneers secondary in Week 7. Ruggs had a breakout performance in his last game against the Chiefs, but his value rests with the deep ball at this time. That is not great news considering the Buccaneers are one of the best defenses against the deep ball, ranking third in the league in allowing receptions of over 20 yards. He was able to get loose in the Chiefs secondary with a 72-yard reception in the first half but caught just one other pass the rest of the game. Ruggs' big-play potential makes him a fringe flex option in deeper leagues, but don't expect a lot of targets for the rookie this week.
Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs will face one of the league's best run defenses this week in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers are allowing just three yards per carry and rank second in the league in total rushing yards allowed. Jacobs is having a productive year and is certainly a must-start option, but he is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry on the season. Jacobs has just one game this season where he has rushed for over four yards per carry. With that being said, he is still seventh in points per game among running backs. It will not be an easy day for Jacobs, but fantasy owners should feel encouraged that he can put up a solid fantasy performance despite a difficult matchup.
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr will have one of his most difficult tests of the year against a great Buccaneers Defense. The Buccaneers defense has allowed just seven passing touchdowns and have grabbed eight interceptions in their six games this season. Opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of 82 against this Todd Bowles defense. They confused Aaron Rodgers and made him uncomfortable, so this will not be an easy day for Carr. With that being said, Carr has thrown for almost 600 passing yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions in two home games this season. The Raiders are coming off a bye, and Carr is having a career year. However, he is likely a bench option this week due to the matchup.
Kansas City Chiefs RB Le'Veon Bell is expected to see some snaps against the Denver Broncos in Week 7.
Fantasy Spin: It is no surprise that the Chiefs plan to ease Bell into action. There is no denying his upside, but he needs to be left on the bench until his role and workload become clear.