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
Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt (ribs) and wide receiver Jarvis Landry (hip/ribs) were both limited during practice Thursday, marking the second consecutive day that their workload was managed. Despite the limited practice time, there's no reason to believe that either is in danger of not suiting up Sunday against the Raiders for what should be an advantageous matchup for both. With Nick Chubb (knee) still out of the equation, Hunt should remain the bell cow out of the backfield, while Landry should see an increase in targets in the wake of Odell Beckham Jr.'s (knee) season-ending knee injury. Check back prior to kickoff Sunday just to make sure that both eventually get the green light, but something would have to go sideways over the coming days for either to be held out.
Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor will have a great opportunity to put up a good fantasy performance against the Lions this week. The Lions rank 30th against opposing running backs, and Taylor continues to improve on his yards per carry. The Lions Defense is giving up 4.5 yards per carry and have surrendered nine rushing touchdowns so far this season. Taylor is averaging 16 carries per game since being name the starter, and he has picked up three rushing touchdowns in those five games. He has mostly put up respectable fantasy performances, and he should be able to again this week. Taylor is a must-start option in Week 8.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jalen Reagor (thumb) is in line to play Sunday against Dallas, making his first appearance since Week 2. Reagor sustained a torn UCL in his right thumb, but is expected to revamp the team's wide receiving corps after losing DeSean Jackson (ankle) to injured reserve. Taken with the team's first-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, Reagor combined to make five catches for 96 yards in his first two games, logging 60 snaps in his final outing before hitting IR. With limited consistent options in the passing game for Carson Wentz to target, Reagor carries WR3/Flex potential this Sunday, especially when considering his matchup against an exploitable Cowboys secondary.
Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby (calf/back) was held out of practice Thursday for the second consecutive day, a worrisome note that may force Green Bay to get creative Sunday against Minnesota. Crosby has been the team's kicker for every game since Week 1 of the 2007 season, continuing to excel this year while going 9-for-9 on field-goal attempts. Special teams coach Shawn Mennenga is confident that he'll have Crosby at his disposal, but even if that's the case, current weather projections have the wind gusts in Green Bay expected to approach 40 MPH. The combination of injury concerns and bad weather opens the door for season-long fantasy managers to consider another placekicking option Sunday despite Crosby's sustained excellence.
Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay (concussion) was able to practice in a limited capacity Thursday, leaving the door open that he could be cleared from the league's concussion protocol in time to suit up Sunday against the Chargers. Lindsay has reclaimed his prior form over his last two games, having compiled 180 yards rushing on 32 carries. The return of Melvin Gordon III is sure to complicate Denver's backfield situation moving forward, but when given the green light, Lindsay holds RB2/Flex appeal due to past success. With that being said, his matchup Sunday against a Chargers Defense that has allowed just one rushing touchdown all year -- when combined with his injury -- makes for an avoidable DFS spot. Check back to get updates on Lindsay's status as they become available.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers will face off against the Lions in Week 8. Rivers is coming off his best performance of the season against the Bengals, but he will likely to revert back to what he was prior to Week 6. The Lions Defense has actually been fairly good against the pass, currently ranking ninth against opposing quarterbacks. They are allowing less than two passing touchdowns per game, and opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of just 94. Week 6 was the only game of the year where Rivers threw multiple touchdown passes, and that is largely due to them falling behind early. Fantasy owners can feel comfortable with Rivers on the bench this week.
Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard (groin) is moving in the right direction as it pertains suiting up Sunday versus Detroit, as he was a full practice participant Thursday. Leonard has been out of the mix for the past two games due to a groin ailment, but the Colts Defense has still soared out into elite company through its first six games. In the three full contests that he has appeared this season, Leonard already has two double-digit tackle efforts, while also having defended two passes. Having led the NFL in tackles as a rookie in 2018 before being named an All-Pro last year in just 13 games, Leonard's addition to the Colts linebacking core makes them an even more vaunted unit moving forward.
Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee (hand) was limited again at practice Thursday as he works his way back from a hand contusion that kept him out of the team's game Monday. The short week may prove problematic for Higbee, with an early Sunday start time against Miami on the horizon. In his absence, Gerald Everett (illness) secured his first touchdown of 2020, but he has also been tagged as questionable due to an illness. While Higbee has been consistent when on the field, his three-reception, 37-yard average leaves much to be desired from where many fantasy managers thought his production could be. If he does play Sunday, it sounds as if he'll still be nursing the injury, at best. Check back for the final word on his condition over the coming days.
Tennessee Titans LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee), CB Kristian Fulton (knee), CB Johnathan Joseph (illness), OT Dennis Kelly (knee) and C Daniel Munyer (hand) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 29. S Dane Cruikshank (groin) and CB Tye Smith (shoulder) were limited during practice. DT Jeffery Simmons (non-injury) fully participated in practice.
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (shoulder) was able to practice in full Thursday, an indication that he's ready to play Sunday against Kansas City with no remaining injury concerns. Darnold was able to suit up last Sunday, but it led to a rocky 12-for-23 performance that included two interceptions. While the Jets' offense is incrementally more reliable with Darnold under center as opposed to Joe Flacco, there's still little reason to fade away from the Chiefs Defense in both season-long and DFS formats. New York's offensive line has given Darnold very little time to make much happen in the passing game, making him a difficult QB to roster, even in two-QB leagues. Barring a significant setback, expect Darnold to be the starting signal caller Sunday.
Green Bay Packers CB Kevin King (quadriceps) and TE Marcedes Lewis (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 29. OT David Bakhtiari (chest), LB Krys Barnes (biceps, shoulder), LS Hunter Bradley (groin), RB Tyler Ervin (wrist), LB Rashan Gary (ankle), S Raven Greene (oblique), DT Tyler Lancaster (shoulder), TE John Lovett (knee), LB Kamal Martin (knee), S Darnell Savage (quadriceps), LB Preston Smith (shoulder), LB Za'Darius Smith (ankle) and WR Equanimeous St. Brown (knee) were limited during practice. CB Jaire Alexander (hand, knee) fully participated in practice.
Indianapolis Colts TE Trey Burton (non-injury) fully participated in practice Thursday, Oct. 29.
Fantasy Spin: Burton has been a reliable target for Philip Rivers over the last few weeks and has taken over the starting role. He can be a low-end No. 1 tight end in deeper leagues.
Indianapolis Colts TE Jack Doyle (non-injury) and C Ryan Kelly (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 29. TE Mo Alie-Cox (knee) was limited during practice. DE Denico Autry (non-injury), S Julian Blackmon (non-injury), DE Justin Houston (non-injury), LB Darius Leonard (groin) and OT Chaz Green (back) fully participated in practice.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson (concussion) and linebacker Khalil Mack (ankle) were both unable to suit up for practice Thursday ahead of Sunday's game against New Orleans. Robinson is working his way through the league's concussion protocol, which puts his status for Sunday heavily in jeopardy. Mack, who has been limited during practice for the vast majority of 2020, could be getting some extra rest, but may also be trending in the wrong direction to ultimately suit up. Should Robinson be held out versus the Saints, Anthony Miller would likely become Chicago's premier WR option, while the Saints Defense would also teeter into season-long consideration. If Mack is ultimately held back, the Bears Defense would essentially become a non-roster commodity, especially in light of the difficult matchup against New Orleans' high-octane offense.
Chicago Bears LB Khalil Mack (ankle), WR Cordarrelle Patterson (quadriceps) and C Cody Whitehair (calf) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 29. S Eddie Jackson (knee) and CB Sherrick McManis (hamstring) were limited during practice. OG Rashaad Coward (finger), WR Ted Ginn Jr. (non-injury), TE Cole Kmet (back) and OT Jason Spriggs (back) fully participated in practice.
New York Jets OG Conor McDermott (illness) and S Bradley McDougald (shoulder) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 29. PK Sam Ficken (groin), LB Jordan Jenkins (ribs, shoulder), OT Josh Andrews (shoulder), LB Blake Cashman (hamstring) and OG Alex Lewis (shoulder) were limited during practice. OT Mekhi Becton (shoulder), OT George Fant (knee) and TE Trevon Wesco (hand) fully participated in practice.
Chicago Bears WR Allen Robinson (concussion) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 29.
Fantasy Spin: Robinson has a few days to pass his concussion tests, but he is in danger of missing the Week 8 game. Fantasy players will need to monitor the situation because Robinson should be a starting option if he is active for the game.
Chicago Bears TE Jimmy Graham (non-injury) fully participated in practice Thursday, Oct. 29.
Fantasy Spin: Graham has been targeted at least five times in each of the last five games but has been held to under 35 yards in each of the last four games. He will have a solid role in the passing game especially if Allen Robinson misses the game and can be a low-end No. 1 tight end.
New York Jets WR Breshad Perriman (concussion) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 29.
Fantasy Spin: Perriman needs to pass the concussion tests before he is cleared to play, so he may not be able to play in Week 8. Denzel Mims will see more work if Perriman is ruled out but should not be a starting option this week against the Kansas City Chiefs.
New York Jets WR Jamison Crowder (groin) was limited during practice Thursday, Oct. 29.
Fantasy Spin: Crowder appears to have a chance to play this week but could be a game-time decision. He is the team's main option in the passing game and can be a No. 3 receiver or flex option if he plays.