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.
Sunday Morning Update: Week 7
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage (knee) left Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions with a knee injury and was deemed questionable to return. Luckily, he has made his return to the game early in the second half. Gage had two catches for seven yards on three targets in the first half. In the midst of a close game against the Lions, Gage should help give Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense a boost the rest of the way.
Tennessee Titans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (knee) is questionable to return to Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He left the game early in the third quarter after suffering a knee injury. The Steelers offense dominated the Titans Defense in the first half of Sunday's game. Titans cornerback Kristian Fulton (knee) also suffered a knee injury and is questionable to return as well, making things even tougher on the Titans defense.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Le'Veon Bell could play around 30 percent of the offensive snaps for the Chiefs in his debut for the team, according to James Palmer of the NFL Network. That would be a pretty significant amount of play for Bell in his first game with the team, making him an intriguing flex play in a game where the snow and wind should lead to a lot of rushing attempts. It also knocks a few touches off of our projection for Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette (ankle) is active for Sunday's meeting with the Raiders. But with Ronald Jones II playing so well over the past month, Fournette being available doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things, as he projects to see very few touches and isn't a viable fantasy play right now. Maybe when he's fully healthy, the team will find a way to get him more involved.
Washington Football Team safety Landon Collins has been carted to the locker room after an apparent Achilles injury against the Dallas Cowboys. Collins would be a big loss for this Washington defense and his absence could help the Dallas Cowboys offense get something going in the second half of Sunday's game.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (knee) has been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Beckham was injured while making a tackle after a Baker Mayfield interception. Jarvis Landry would see an uptick in usage should Beckham miss additional time following this game, and the Browns will also likely involve their tight ends more often.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been taken to the locker room after getting injured during an interception return for the opposing Bengals. It appeared to be a knee issue for Beckham, who was limping as he left the field. Jarvis Landry will see more targets if Beckham is unable to return, as would tight end Harrison Bryant.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage (knee) is questionable to return to Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions. A solid No. 3 receiver for Atlanta, Olamide Zaccheaus would see an increased workload should Gage be unable to return to Sunday's contest.
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Ryquell Armstead hasn't appeared in a game this season as he's been on the NFL's COVID-19 list since training camp. It now appears that Armstead is done for the rest of 2020, as complications from the disease have led him to be hospitalized twice. Armstead's case is a reminder that COVID-19 is a serious illness with long-term health effects for many who get it.
Houston Texans tight end Jordan Akins (ankle/concussion) is out for a third consecutive game on Sunday when the Texans face the Packers. With Akins sidelined, Darren Fells will once again serve as the primary tight end. He's caught eight passes for 142 yards and two scores in the last two weeks without Akins and should be considered a high-end TE2 play this week.
One name to keep an eye on at the trade deadline: Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross III, who was a healthy scratch again in Week 7. Ross was targeted five times in Week 1. Since then, he's appeared in just two games, with no receptions. The former first round pick is clearly not in the long-term plans for the Bengals and has reportedly been pushing for a trade.
Carolina Panthers WR Curtis Samuel (knee) is active for Week 7's game against the New Orleans Saints.
Fantasy Spin: Samuel had been listed as questionable on the injury report but was able to participate in all three of the team's practice sessions during the week on a limited basis. However, he is not a recommended fantasy option this afternoon because of his lack of involvement in the Carolina offense.
The New York Jets will get two players back on Sunday. Quarterback Sam Darnold (shoulder) returns after a two-game absence, while wide receiver Denzel Mims (hamstring) is expected to make his NFL debut. Neither player is expected to be much of a fantasy asset on Sunday, though Mims could see plenty of targets with Jamison Crowder (groin) out, making the rookie an interesting emergency play in deeper leagues. Darnold will start over Joe Flacco, who is droppable if you still were holding onto the veteran in re-draft.
With tight end Austin Hooper (appendicitis) out, the Cleveland Browns are expected to start rookie Harrison Bryant at the position over David Njoku. Bryant becomes an interesting TE2 play for fantasy managers who need a streamer at the position, and while his ceiling is fairly low, he does offer some decent upside in full PPR leagues. The team clearly believes in him more than they do Njoku.
New York Jets WR Jamison Crowder (groin) has been declared inactive for the Week 7 game.
Fantasy Spin: Breshad Perriman, Denzel Mims and Braxton Berrios likely will serve as the top three receivers for the Jets this week, but fantasy players should avoid all three in their leagues.
New York Jets QB Sam Darnold (shoulder) is officially active for the Week 7 game.
Fantasy Spin: Darnold is back in the lineup after missing a few games but will be without his top receiver. He should be avoided in all standard leagues, and fantasy players in two-quarterback leagues may be able to find a better option.
Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins is inactive again in Week 7 against the Dallas Cowboys, which means Kyle Allen and Alex Smith will serve as the team's quarterbacks once again. Haskins's time in Washington appears to be done at this point, as he can't even crack the active roster on game days at this point. With the trade deadline coming up, don't be shocked to see the team move Haskins for whatever they can get.
The Washington Football Team have declared DE James Smith-Williams, LB Casey Toohill, QB Dwayne Haskins, LB Thomas Davis, OT Geron Christian, WR Isaiah Wright and WR Robert Foster inactive for Week 7.
The Houston Texans have declared WR Keke Coutee, OT Charlie Heck, CB John Reid, TE Jordan Akins and LB Peter Kalambayi inactive for Week 7.