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49ers prepared for 'bumps in the road' on 3-week trip

Tue Dec 1 3:11pm ET
AP Pro Football Writer

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan stands on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle, in this Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, file photo. The 49ers are set to embark on an unusual three-week road trip after being kicked out of their home stadium and practice facility because of strict new COVID-19 protocols in their home county. (AP Photo/Scott Eklund, File)

This Oct. 4, 2020, file photo, taken with a fisheye lens, shows an empty Levi's Stadium before an NFL football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles in Santa Clara, Calif. The 49ers and other teams may need to find a temporary new home after Santa Clara County on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020, banned all contact sports from holding games and practices for the next three weeks. County officials issued the directives in response to rising cases of the coronavirus in the area. The rules take effect Monday and will last for three weeks. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)

The San Francisco 49ers are set to embark on an unusual three-week road trip after being kicked out of their stadium and practice facility because of strict new COVID-19 protocols in their home county.

The Niners will fly to Arizona on Wednesday where they will practice, live and play their next two games after Santa Clara County imposed a three-week ban on games and practices for contact sports.

The new rules that went into effect Monday and will last until at least Dec. 21 were announced Saturday as the Niners were preparing to fly to Los Angeles for a game against the Rams. The team scrambled to make new arrangements and settled on Arizona.

''You always expect bumps in the road no matter what you're doing,'' coach Kyle Shanahan said Tuesday. ''The biggest bump was just the shock of finding out how long it was a day before we played. That was the biggest thing. I think our guys are pretty good at once they hear the parameters of stuff and adjusting and just dealing with whatever, especially this year. We're used to getting away for a week or so. But I can't tell you how sick of each other we are after a week in a hotel. ... A week's not the daunting thing. It's the month of December that guys get a little overwhelmed with. That's why I'm just trying to get guys not think of it that way, even though the dates say that.''

Shanahan said the team looked into the possibility of practicing in the Bay Area outside of Santa Clara County and flying to Arizona for the games. But they couldn't find a suitable location close enough to make it worth it and opted to go on the road for three weeks instead.

The Niners will fly out Wednesday afternoon and begin a normal week of practice Thursday at the site where the Arizona Cardinals held training camp in Glendale. The team will stay in a hotel near the practice facility and stadium before playing ''home'' games against Buffalo on Dec. 7 and Washington on Dec. 13.

San Francisco then plans to practice there again the following week before playing at Dallas on Dec. 20. With the next game scheduled on the road at Arizona on Dec. 26, Shanahan said he wasn't sure whether the team would return to the Bay Area if the rules were relaxed by then or just stay in Arizona for an additional week.

But he did make one thing clear: ''I just try to tell our guys that I don't care what happens, we're not going to spend Christmas without our families. We'll figure it out. That's really what I try to give to everyone just so they can say that to their families, because I think that is a concern.''

Shanahan said players could fly families down during this stretch to stay near the team although he suggested waiting a week to get situated first. He's hopeful his family can come and possibly even see a game in person because Arizona allows families at games while the 49ers had no spectators at Levi's Stadium.

The Niners have experience spending one week on the road, having done it between games back East the past two seasons. They won the second game on both of those trips.

This version won't have any of the usual bonding time for players as COVID-19 protocols limit how much time players can have contact with each other. Shanahan said a 30-minute meal after a win at New Orleans last month led to positive tests.

But with the Niners (5-6) only one game out of a playoff spot, the team has plenty of reason to rally together and make a late-season push.

''When there's more rewards and you're seeing that you are in the fight, human nature is a lot more excited,'' Shanahan said. ''It's easier to go through the grind when you have a chance to get into the tournament at the end.''

The Niners will be getting some reinforcements back with receiver Brandon Aiyuk and defensive linemen D.J. Jones expected to be activated this week from the COVID-19 list and return to practice.

Shanahan said quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) and All-Pro tight end George Kittle (foot) could get back on the field for individual workouts soon but aren't ready for practice. He held out hope the two could return for the final two games of the season.

NOTES: CB Jamar Taylor will go on IR with a season-ending torn ACL. ... CB Ken Webster (hamstring) also will be placed on IR. ... Shanahan said he doesn't expect C Weston Richburg (knee), DE Ronald Blair (knee) or DE Dee Ford (back) to return this season.

Player Notes
Marquez Callaway Dec 1 3:10pm ET

New Orleans Saints rookie wide receiver Marquez Callaway (knee) suffered a minor knee sprain in the Week 12 win over the Broncos and could miss a little time. Callaway hasn't been targeted in the passing game in the last three games and has just 15 receptions on 19 targets for 136 scoreless yards in his first nine NFL games with the Saints. The 22-year-old out of Tennessee represents receiver depth for New Orleans and also has contributed in the kick-return game in his rookie season. If anything, he's just a stash candidate in dynasty/keeper leagues. Tre'Quan Smith and Deonte Harris will continue battling for No. 3 duties behind Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.

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George Kittle Dec 1 3:00pm ET

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is "holding out hope" that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) and tight end George Kittle (foot) can return for the last few weeks of the regular season. Garoppolo is recovering from a high-ankle sprain and shed his walking boot several weeks ago. The 29-year-old wasn't doing a whole lot for the Niners when he was healthy, though, and he should remain on waiver wires in single-season formats. Nick Mullens will continue to start at QB for the foreseeable future. Kittle, one of the best tight ends in the league when healthy, was a huge loss for San Fran and fantasy managers. It might be worth stashing him in an Injured Reserve spot for a potential Week 16 game (the fantasy championship in most leagues), but don't expect much if Kittle makes it back by then. Jordan Reed and Ross Dwelley should continue to split the tight end duties in his absence.

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Colt McCoy Dec 1 3:00pm ET

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said that defensive end Carlos Dunlap (foot) is dealing with a sore foot and will go for an MRI exam on Tuesday. Dunlap left the Monday night win over the Eagles with the injury, and depending on the results of his tests, the 31-year-old pass-rusher could miss some time. Acquired from the Bengals this year, Dunlap has been a godsend for the Seahawks Defense, recording 12 tackles (five for loss), eight QB hits and four sacks in his four games. He had just 18 tackles (two for loss), four QB hits and one sack in seven games with Cincinnati to begin the season. Seattle's turnaround on that side of the ball coincided with Dunlap's arrival, so losing him for any amount of time would be bad news. However, fantasy managers should still consider Seattle's D as a top-five fantasy play against a Giants team in Week 13 that will likely be using Colt McCoy as their starting quarterback.

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Carson Wentz Dec 1 2:50pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said he hasn't been assured of his job status moving forward, although he said his relationship with owner Jeffrey Lurie "is good." The Eagles lost to the Seahawks on Monday night and dropped to 3-7-1, putting them in third place in the NFL's worst division. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported that Lurie is unhappy with the team and that performances like Monday's "will have him seriously assessing his coach's status." The Eagles have scored exactly 17 points in three straight games and haven't gone over 30 points all year, so the solution might be a change in play-calling. Pederson continues to say that quarterback Carson Wentz is the starter, but something might have to give if Wentz's play doesn't improve soon. A big factor has been a rotating cast on the offensive line, as Philly used their 10th different starting offensive line on Monday night.

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Philadelphia Eagles Dec 1 2:40pm ET

The Philadelphia Eagles released safety Will Parks on Tuesday, according to a source. Parks had signed a one-year contract with the Eagles in the offseason and was supposed to replace Malcolm Jenkins in the secondary while moving around to other positions as well. The 26-year-old missed the first five games of the season with a hamstring injury that landed him on Injured Reserve. He played a season-high 72 percent of the defensive snaps in the Monday night loss to the Seahawks but started only three of his six games played in 2020. Parks had just 13 tackles (11 solo) for the Eagles and will look to latch on with another team as secondary depth. Philly's defense has another really bad matchup in Week 13 against the high-octane Packers offense. Fantasy managers should be looking to avoid them for that game.

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Derrick Henry Dec 1 1:00pm ET

The Cleveland Browns activated pass-rusher Myles Garrett from the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday and placed Ronnie Harrison Jr. (shoulder) on Injured Reserve in a corresponding move. Harrison may have a chance to return later in the season or for a potential playoff run. Garrett missed the last two games after a positive COVID-19 test, but he'll return to being a must-start defensive lineman in IDP leagues against Tennessee. They'll need Garrett to try to slow down the NFL's rushing leader in running back Derrick Henry after the Titans just whooped up on the Colts in Week 12. While the return of Garrett makes Cleveland's D much better, they're better off faded for their Week 13 meeting with Tennessee.

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Carson Wentz Dec 1 11:10am ET

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has seen a huge drop-off in production this year compared to his last three seasons. Wentz had a 98.3 passer rating from 2017-19 and has a 73.4 passer rating in 2020. Since 1950, he's the sixth quarterback, and only one under the age of 30, to have a passer rating more than 24 points below his combined rating over the previous three seasons. Four of the five QBs on that list retired immediately following that season. Wentz went 25-15 from 2017-19 with 81 touchdowns and 21 interceptions, and he's 3-7-1 this year with 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He was sacked a career-high 37 times in 2019, but he's already been sacked 46 times in 2020 with five games to go. It doesn't help that he doesn't have many weapons around him in the passing game. Things won't get any easier in Week 13 against the Packers. Continue to treat Wentz as a turnover-prone QB2 in superflex leagues.

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Jake Elliott Dec 1 12:30am ET

Philadelphia Eagles kicker Jake Elliott got two chances to kick on Monday Night Football in Week 12, making a 42-yard field goal but missing an extra point. Elliott hadn't missed an extra point until after the first Eagles touchdown in this game. Despite his consistency, he hasn't been much of a fantasy kicker mostly due to his lack of opportunities. The Eagles aren't scoring many touchdowns and they are leading the league in two-point conversion attempts. Elliott should remain a decent NFL kicker, but won't be a recommended fantasy option in most weeks.

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Philadelphia Eagles Dec 1 12:30am ET

The Philadelphia Eagles Defense didn't do much in a Week 12 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football. They allowed 23 points, recording two sacks and no turnovers. In standard scoring, that's good for just two fantasy points. While the Eagles defense was the only reason the team was even remotely in the game as the offense struggled mightily yet again, they didn't do too much to help their fantasy managers. They'll have another tough matchup against the Green Bay Packers in Week 13.

From RotoBaller

Jason Myers Dec 1 12:20am ET

Seattle Seahawks kicker Jason Myers wasn't the top option of the week, but he finished quite well in the team's Week 12 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday. He went 3-for-3 on his field goals and he nailed both of his extra points. This is the type of game that you've been looking for out of Myers. His team's red-zone efficiency was lacking in this game, and he was rewarded appropriately. Myers should be a solid starting kicker in fantasy over the next couple weeks with matchups against the Giants in Week 13 and the winless Jets in Week 14. If you currently roster him, you might not have a better option available to you on the waiver wire.

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Travis Fulgham Dec 1 12:20am ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Travis Fulgham doubled his production from the past two weeks in Week 12. That wasn't a good thing though, as Fulgham had gone two straight games with one catch for eight yards. In Week 12, he made two catches for 16 yards. Progress! He was only targeted twice, as almost all Eagles pass catchers struggled to separate from the objectively bad Seahawks Defense. Fulgham came on strong seemingly out of nowhere this season, but quickly reminded everyone why he was in the nowhere he came from. He hasn't put up more than two fantasy points since Week 8.

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Seattle Seahawks Dec 1 12:20am ET

The Seattle Seahawks Defense hasn't been the best group this season, but they've been playing well of late, especially in the team's Week 12 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday. They harassed the Eagles offense all night long and they had a great stat line going until they gave up a late score to allow 16 total points. They finished the game with six sacks and they were also able to come away with an interception on the night. They'll see the New York Giants and the New York Jets in consecutive weeks in Weeks 13 and 14. If you tend to stream defenses, they might be the move for you in the next two weeks in deeper leagues.

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Alshon Jeffery Dec 1 12:20am ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery made his first two catches of the year on Monday Night Football in Week 12. Jeffery made the two catches, gaining 15 yards on four total targets. Like all of the other Eagles, Jeffery had a hard time getting open despite playing against a historically bad Seahawks Defense. A former WR1, Jeffery has shown nothing to make anyone believe he's even close to the fantasy radar at this point in his career.

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Jalen Reagor Dec 1 12:20am ET

Philadelphia Eagles rookie wide receiver Jalen Reagor was second on the team in targets on Monday Night Football with seven. He only made three catches, gaining 11 total yards. Even though he's known for his speed and the Seahawks are known for their terrible defense, Reagor was unable to get open or gain any separation in another ugly game for the Eagles offense. Reagor still has plenty of long-term upside, but he's looking like he won't be much of a difference maker in his rookie year.

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Greg Ward Dec 1 12:20am ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Greg Ward made just one catch in Week 12, gaining three yards. Ward was targeted three times, but his only grab came on a screen pass that was quickly blown up by the Seahawks suddenly decent defense. Ward has been used for short passes and quick screens and hasn't run too many significant routes lately, making him a very low-upside fantasy player regardless of matchup or format.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Lockett Dec 1 12:10am ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett was unable to get much going in the team's Week 12 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night. He caught three of his four targets for 23 yards on the night. Lockett was one of the most consistent players earlier in the season, but that has begun to fade as the team's ceiling has lowered in the last month. Over the next few weeks, you'll be hoping for bounce-back performances in very solid matchups against the Giants and Jets in Weeks 13 and 14, respectively. The matchups bode well for that happening and he should be due for some big outings down the stretch for his fantasy managers.

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Boston Scott Dec 1 12:10am ET

Philadelphia Eagles running back Boston Scott ran the ball twice for seven yards and caught the ball five times for 40 yards through the air. The Eagles were unable to do anything on the ground (and barely anything on offense in general), but Scott soundly outplayed starter Miles Sanders (six runs for 15 yards, two catches for seven). Scott ended up tied for third on the team with his six passing game targets. If Sanders gets going, Scott probably sees the field a bit less, but Scott has shown plenty of times that he's able to hold his own on an NFL field. He's an extremely valuable backup and worth a bench spot on most fantasy rosters.

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Dallas Goedert Dec 1 12:10am ET

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert led the Eagles in all receiving categories on Monday Night Football. He caught seven passes, gaining 75 yards and scoring a touchdown. He was targeted 10 times, three more than any other Eagles player. Goedert's score came on a three-yard pass near the end of the first half. He was clearly quarterback Carson Wentz's favorite target and looked like the only Eagles pass catcher who was able to get any separation at all against a bad Seahawks secondary. Goedert will continue to be a TE1 even when Zach Ertz (ankle) returns to the lineup.

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Richard Rodgers Dec 1 12:10am ET

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Richard Rodgers accidentally caught a touchdown at the end of Week 12's Monday Night Football contest against the Seattle Seahawks. Quarterback Carson Wentz threw a deep Hail Mary into the end zone with less than a minute to go in the game. It ricocheted off a receiver's hands and landed in Rodgers' hands in the end zone for a 33-yard touchdown. Rodgers has maintained some semblance of fantasy value, scoring touchdowns in each of the past two weeks, but with Zach Ertz (ankle) expected back next week, Rodgers will fall back to third on the tight end depth chart.

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Russell Wilson Dec 1 12:00am ET

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had a good matchup in Week 12, but he didn't do a ton with it against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night. He completed 22 of 31 passes for 230 yards and a score. He also had five carries for 13 yards. The Seahawks focused a ton on balance in this game, as they had 33 dropbacks compared to 29 runs. After the torrid pace he was on to start the season, Wilson has cooled off tremendously over the last month. Heading into the fantasy playoffs, he has a great matchup against the winless Jets in Week 14. If you have Wilson on your roster, you're not benching him. He gets a great matchup against the Giants in Week 13.

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