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 7
Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Tyler Eifert (neck) was held out of Thursday's practice as he continues to work his way back from a neck injury. Eifert was able to log just five offensive snaps last Sunday versus Detroit before being removed, which doesn't bode well for his shot at suiting up this Sunday against the Chargers. James O'Shaughnessy would take over a larger role should Eifert remain out, although the veteran logged 75 percent of the team's offensive snaps last week and saw just one target (with zero catches). With wide receivers DJ Chark Jr. (ankle) and Laviska Shenault Jr. (hamstring) joining Eifert on the injury report, Jacksonville may wind up facing a stingy Chargers Defense without its full allotment of offensive talent.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown (knee) popped up on the injury report Thursday after missing practice due to a knee ailment. Brown has already missed two games this season due to knee issues, so his latest injury development may not be insignificant. Since returning, Brown has hauled in 12 receptions for 140 yards and three touchdowns, making him a high-end WR2 in season-long formats moving forward. With Corey Davis and Adam Humphries both back in the mix, an absence from Brown would pave the way for the aforementioned duo to see increased roles Sunday against a stout Pittsburgh secondary. Check back throughout the week for updates on Brown's status as they become available.
Los Angeles Rams running back Darrell Henderson Jr. (thigh) and tight end Tyler Higbee (hand) were both absent from Thursday's practice, throwing their status for Monday's game against Chicago into flux. This is the first of an injury concern for either, which could mean that the move was a precautionary one by the Rams with an extra day allocated for playing on Monday Night Football. Henderson appears to have wrestled full-time RB1 duties away from Malcolm Brown, thereby becoming a high-end RB2 in most season-long formats. Higbee has established a safe floor, making at least two receptions in each of his first six games, but he has logged more than three catches just once. The duo will have two additional days of potential practice to get in, so it's worth keeping an eye on their status until there's further clarification.
Green Bay Packers tight end Robert Tonyan (ankle) did not practice Thursday, marking yet another day that he was unable to return in any capacity ahead of Sunday's game versus Houston. Tonyan returned to play last Sunday against the Buccaneers and hauled in three receptions for 25 yards, but he has backtracked that progress by notching two consecutive DNPs. Having amassed five touchdowns over his first three games (including three in one contest), Tonyan has massive upside when given the green light to suit up, which would be the case if he can work through his ankle injury to play Sunday. Check back for an update to his status prior to Sunday.
Houston Texans tight end Jordan Akins (ankle/concussion) was held out of practice Thursday, a trend that indicates that he could miss his third consecutive game Sunday when his squad faces Green Bay. An absence by Akins would keep Darren Fells in season-long consideration as a low-end TE1 or in DFS contests as a high-upside selection, even as the Packers have yielded just one touchdown to opposing TEs this year. Having hauled in 14 of the 15 balls that he has been targeted on this season for 168 receiving yards, Akins has trended toward becoming a consistent fantasy commodity when not stunted by injury. Check back over the coming days to see if he can make a drastic pivot in fortunes and take the field.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins (hamstring) once again did not practice Thursday, putting his status for Sunday's contest against Denver up in the air. Watkins was considered questionable to play Monday due to a hamstring injury, with Kansas City at least leaving the door open that he could have played; his extended practice absence may be a means of keeping him fresh for game action Sunday, but that remains unclear. Averaging a career-low 10.6 yards per reception through five games this season, Watkins would be a roll of the dice fantasy selection for season-long or DFS lineups Sunday even if he's able to recover in time. Check back throughout the week to monitor his status, as an absence from Watkins could pave the way for Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman to see increased roles.
The Buffalo Bills Defense gets the fortune of playing what is on track to be a decimated Jets offense Sunday. Joe Flacco is likely to start under center again for Sam Darnold (shoulder), while Jamison Crowder (groin) was held out of practice Thursday. But on their side of the ball, Josh Norman (hamstring) and Tre'Davious White (back) were both limited practice participants, joining Matt Milano (pectoral) as question marks to suit up Sunday. In season-long formats, the Bills defense is a definite must-roster, irrespective of the final status on White and Norman; but in DFS, absences from either or both could make the unit a slippery slope when considering it's sky-high price tag. Check back throughout the week for updates on the corner situation specifically.
Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant (ankle) was able to practice in full Thursday, a significant step in the right direction concerning his availability for Sunday's contest against the Chiefs. Fant has missed each of Denver's two prior contests, with his return to practice on a full-time basis marking the first time in three weeks that he has had no restrictions. With Drew Lock also recovered from injury and back under center, Fant has some legitimate TE1 appeal in season-long formats, in addition to drawing some DFS upside due to the rapport that the two established last season. Having hauled in five receptions in three of his four games this season, Fant presents a solid floor in any-sized format.
The New York Giants have declared S Adrian Colbert, DT R.J. McIntosh, TE Eric Tomlinson, LB Jabaal Sheard, WR C.J. Board, CB Darnay Holmes and OT Jackson Barton inactive for Week 7.
Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph is a name that multiple NFL teams have reportedly asked after ahead of the Trade Deadline on Nov. 3, according to Albert Breer of the MMQB. Minnesota has already moved defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to Baltimore, an indication that the organization could be open for making other shrewd moves that look beyond 2020. Rudolph's role in the passing game has diminished from where it's been over the past decade, having compiled just 14 targets (10 receptions) over his first six games this year. With essentially little season-long value currently attached, Rudolph could benefit from a change of scenery in an offense that would be hoping to highlight his red zone abilities. Keep an ear out around his name as the Deadline approaches.
For the second consecutive day Thursday, Jacksonville Jaguars wide receivers DJ Chark Jr. (ankle) and Laviska Shenault Jr. (hamstring) were both limited practice participants. Neither appears in any immediate danger of missing Sunday's contest against the Chargers, but their status is something to keep an eye on, even as Chark compiled a season-high 14 targets last Sunday. The duo makes up much of the fantasy intrigue at WR for the Jaguars, so an absence by either would thereby enhance the other's upside. Should Chark ultimately be cleared, he'd be a must-start in the vast majority of season-long formats, while Shenault continues to make a case for being rostered in medium-sized and smaller leagues. Check back over the coming days to see if their practice status progresses.
Atlanta Falcons WR Russell Gage Jr. (shoulder) was limited during practice Thursday, Oct. 22.
Fantasy Spin: Gage posted 65 yards in the last game but has been targeted only 15 times over the last four games. Fantasy players probably can find better options to use, but Gage has a chance to be a flex option in deeper leagues.
Los Angeles Chargers WR K.J. Hill (hip), OT Storm Norton (knee) and OG Trai Turner (groin) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 22. WR Keenan Allen (back), OT Bryan Bulaga (back), RB Justin Jackson (knee) and DT Linval Joseph (elbow) were limited. QB Tyrod Taylor (ribs) and OT Sam Tevi (thumb, ankle) practiced in full.
New England Patriots RB James White (non-injury) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 22. DL Adam Butler (shoulder), DB Kyle Dugger (ankle), WR Julian Edelman (knee), OL Shaq Mason (calf) and DE Derek Rivers (back) were limited. OL Jermaine Eluemunor (ankle) was not given a practice designation.
Carolina Panthers WR Curtis Samuel (knee) was limited during practice Thursday, Oct. 22.
Fantasy Spin: Samuel was not able to play in the Week 6 game but appears to have a chance to play this week. He has not been a big part of the offense so far this season and can be avoided in fantasy leagues.
Carolina Panthers RB Mike Davis (ankle) fully participated in practice Thursday, Oct. 22.
Fantasy Spin: Davis has posted outstanding numbers since taking over for Christian McCaffrey and will continue to receive plenty of touches as long as McCaffrey is sidelined. He is a must-start option all leagues.
The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Jack Driscoll, WR Alshon Jeffery, WR Quez Watkins, S K'Von Wallace, DL Malik Jackson, RB Miles Sanders and QB Nate Sudfeld inactive for Week 7.
New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder (groin) was deemed out of Thursday's practice as he continues to work his way through a groin ailment. The only steady offensive producer that the Jets have deployed this season, Crowder has seen double-digit targets in each of the four games that he has suited up for. His fantasy stock has taken a dip across the board with Joe Flacco filling in for Sam Darnold (shoulder), but Flacco's stock would shift to essentially zilch should Crowder ultimately be held out Sunday against a stout Bills Defense. Crowder compiled seven receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown when he faced Buffalo back in Week 1, but the combination of injury and new signal caller may make some fantasy managers reluctant to utilize him with the same vigor.
Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley (elbow) was limited during practice Thursday, Oct. 22.
Fantasy Spin: Ridley has cooled off a bit recently but still has four 100-yard games so far this season. He will be a big part of the passing game this week and should be at least a No. 2 receiver in fantasy leagues.
Jacksonville Jaguars OG A.J. Cann (shoulder), TE Tyler Eifert (neck), DE Adam Gotsis (non-injury), LB Myles Jack (ankle), TE James O'Shaughnessy (non-injury) and S Jarrod Wilson (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 22. LB Dakota Allen (foot), DE Joshua Allen (knee), OT Ben Bartch (foot, knee), WR DJ Chark Jr. (ankle), DT Abry Jones (ankle), PK Josh Lambo (hip), OG Andrew Norwell (ankle) and WR Laviska Shenault Jr. (hamstring) were limited. RB Devine Ozigbo (hamstring) and OG Brandon Linder (non-injury) practiced in full.