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Jimmy Garoppolo set to return from injury for 49ers

Fri Oct 9 6:39pm ET
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.

Player Notes
Jerry Jeudy Oct 22 5:20pm ET

Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy has impressed in his first season with his quick feet and polished route-running skills, but he's seen his stock drop in the last few weeks in Denver's inconsistent offense. The 21-year-old Alabama product has just four catches on nine targets for 93 yards in the last two weeks against the Jets and the Patriots, although he did find the end zone for the first time in his career in Week 4. Out of the slot, Jeudy figures to match up with Chiefs defensive back Tyrann Mathieu this Sunday. KC's defense has allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to receivers, making this a difficult matchup for the rookie. He'll need more aerial targets and for quarterback Drew Lock to play better to be anything more than a WR4 this weekend.

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Tim Patrick Oct 22 5:10pm ET

Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick has come out of nowhere this year to post back-to-back 100-yard games with Courtland Sutton (knee) done for the year. But in Week 7 he'll be facing off against a Chiefs Defense that has allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to the receiver position in 2020. KC was second-best at stopping wideouts last year on their way to a Super Bowl championship. And it's not as though quarterback Drew Lock has lit up the scoreboard in passing yards in his two-plus games this season. Denver may be forced to throw the ball more than they'd like against the Chiefs high-scoring offense, but that won't guarantee another big day from Patrick. He's a WR4/5 for this week's matchup.

From RotoBaller

Melvin Gordon Oct 22 5:00pm ET

Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III (illness) missed last week's game with a non-COVID-19-related illness, but he's not on the injury report heading into Week 7 against the division-rival Chiefs. Gordon still faces the possibility of a suspension from the league after his DUI last week, but fantasy managers should expect Gordon to play as of right now. Phillip Lindsay led the backfield in Gordon's absence in Week 6 and ran for over 100 yards against the Patriots. Gordon will still see his fair share of touches against KC, but the presence of Lindsay will lower his ceiling and make him more of a high-end RB3/flex for fantasy managers. The Chiefs Defense has allowed only three rushing TDs to backs in 2020, and the Broncos may be forced to abandon the run if they fall behind big early.

From RotoBaller

Phillip Lindsay Oct 22 5:00pm ET

In Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay's return from a turf-toe injury in Week 6 against the Patriots, he put up a dominant performance with 23 carries for 101 yards in the upset win. Lindsay operated as the workhorse back with Melvin Gordon III out with strep throat, but Gordon is on track to return in Week 7 against the Chiefs. Expect the two backs to split up the workload this Sunday. While Lindsay's ceiling obviously won't be as high with Gordon back in the picture, he showed enough last week in his return to at least warrant RB3/flex consideration in PPR leagues. Lindsay could see more work in the passing game if the Broncos are forced to throw often, but KC's defense has yet to allow a receiving touchdown to a running back in 2020.

From RotoBaller

Drew Lock Oct 22 4:50pm ET

Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock returned from a shoulder sprain in Week 6 to lead the team to an upset win over the Patriots, but he didn't look very sharp and tossed no touchdowns and two interceptions. In the two full games Lock has played in 2020, he hasn't gone over 216 passing yards and has just one touchdown and two picks. He could once again be without his top target in tight end Noah Fant (ankle), too, which won't make life any easier on him against the juggernaut that is the Chiefs. Kansas City shut down Bills quarterback Josh Allen last week, albeit in rainy conditions. They've allowed nine passing TDs this year but have also picked QBs off seven times. Lock could rack up yards if the Broncos are forced to pass often, but he just can't be trusted as anything more than a low-end QB2 in fantasy until he shows us more.

From RotoBaller

Johnathan Abram Oct 22 4:40pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders safety Johnathan Abram will go on the COVID-19 list on Thursday because he was deemed a high-risk close contact after offensive tackle Trent Brown was placed on the COVID-19 list on Wednesday. It doesn't mean that Abram won't play in Week 7 against the Buccaneers, but he's certainly in danger of missing this weekend's game. The Raiders game for Sunday is still on against Tampa, but their secondary could be short-handed if Abram isn't cleared by then. The 23-year-old hard-hitting safety has 28 tackles (21 solo), one interception, three passes defensed and one fumble recovery in five games so far this season, but he might not be in play for IDP managers this weekend.

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Michael Thomas Oct 22 3:30pm ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) was not present during the period of practice open to the media on Thursday after he was limited on Wednesday. Thomas hasn't appeared in a game since suffering a high-ankle sprain in the season-opener, and he tweaked his hamstring in practice this week, potentially making him questionable for Week 7 against the Panthers. The All-Pro wideout was set to return in Week 5 before the team's bye, but he punched a teammate in practice and was held out for disciplinary reasons. His practice status on Friday will be telling. Even though the Panthers have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to wideouts this year, Thomas is a must-start in fantasy if he returns on Sunday after being the top-scoring fantasy receiver in 2019.

From RotoBaller

Diontae Johnson Oct 22 2:30pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson (back) practiced fully on Wednesday and appears to be trending up ahead of his Week 7 matchup with the Tennessee Titans. Johnson left during Week 5 with a back injury and was inactive for Week 6's game against the Cleveland Browns. His ability to practice on Wednesday bodes well for his availability for Sunday's game. If Johnson is able to suit up, his role as the No. 1 receiver could be in question as Chase Claypool has exploded for five touchdowns over the past two games. Fantasy gamers can start Johnson as a WR3 but keep expectations in check until we see how the target distribution shakes out this weekend.

From RotoBaller

Eric Ebron Oct 22 2:30pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Eric Ebron disappointed in a plus matchup against the Cleveland Browns last week, finishing with just two catches for nine yards. He will look to make amends in yet another good matchup against the Tennessee Titans in Week 7. Tennessee's defense has struggled against tight ends this season, allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game to the position through five games. That being said, Ebron has not been a big part of the Pittsburgh offense and now isn't even the top red-zone threat on his team thanks to the emergence of rookie Chase Claypool. Fantasy gamers can treat Ebron as a TE2 for Week 7.

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JuJu Smith-Schuster Oct 22 2:20pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has been overshadowed and out-produced by rookie wideout Chase Claypool over the past few weeks. While Claypool has five touchdowns in his past two games, Smith-Schuster has just six catches for 34 yards over that same span. He draws a tasty Week 7 matchup against a Tennessee Titans pass defense that ranks just 24th in DVOA and is allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers. Despite the great matchup, Smith-Schuster is tough to trust as anything more than a WR3 due to his recent slump.

From RotoBaller

Sterling Shepard Oct 22 1:40pm ET

The New York Giants activated wide receiver Sterling Shepard (toe) from Injured Reserve on Thursday, and he'll be eligible to play on Thursday night against the Eagles. Shepard was expected to be one of the team's leading receivers in 2020, but he missed the last four games due to turf toe. In the first six quarters of the season, Shepard caught eight passes for 76 yards. He's the team's longest-tenured player and has started 54 of the 55 regular season games that he's played in and has 255 career catches for 2,838 yards and 17 touchdowns. The 27-year-old is certainly worth owning in 12-team leagues after leading the Giants in receiving last year, but he's a risky option for your starting lineups this week and could have his snap count limited in his first game back.

From RotoBaller

Daniel Jones Oct 22 12:50pm ET

The New York Giants plan on using first-round left tackle Andrew Thomas in the starting lineup on Thursday night against the Eagles, according to an informed source. Thomas was benched in the first half of the Week 6 win over the Washington Football Team for violating a team policy, but he will return this week in good standing with the coaching staff. The tackle from Georgia will return to his role as the blind-side protector of quarterback Daniel Jones for this divisional matchup. The Eagles Defense ranks fourth in the NFL this year with 21 total sacks through six weeks, too, so Thomas will have a tough task in keeping Jones' jersey clean throughout the night.

From RotoBaller

Danielle Hunter Oct 22 12:40pm ET

Minnesota Vikings star defensive end Danielle Hunter (neck) will have season-ending surgery to clean up a herniated disc in his neck. The Vikings will have to decide if they want to make Hunter the highest-paid defender in the league this offseason or trade him away. Minnesota was optimistic in August that Hunter could rehab his injury and return this year, but that didn't turn out to be the case. At 1-5 on the year, the Vikings Defense loses Hunter for the entire season after just trading Yannick Ngakoue to the Ravens. The 25-year-old was a Pro Bowler each of the last two years while recording 14.5 sacks in each season as a top IDP pass-rusher. You can now safely drop him in single-year IDP formats.

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Dez Bryant Oct 22 12:30pm ET

The Baltimore Ravens are planning to sign veteran wide receiver Dez Bryant to their practice squad if his workout goes well and he passes a physical, according to a source. The Ravens worked Bryant out in August, but he is expected to finally land in Baltimore. The 31-year-old is back in the NFL after last playing in a game in 2017 with the Cowboys when he caught 69 passes (132 targets) for 838 yards and six touchdowns over a full season. Bryant latched on with the Saints several years ago but tore his Achilles before he could even get on the field with them. It remains to be seen what kind of condition he's in at this juncture or if he even has a realistic chance to make the team's active roster, but it's interesting nonetheless. There's no need to run to the waiver wire and pick up Bryant just yet.

From RotoBaller

Calais Campbell Oct 22 12:20pm ET

The Baltimore Ravens and Minnesota Vikings are finalizing a trade on Thursday that would send defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to the Ravens for a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 conditional fifth-round selection, according to sources. The Vikings sent a 2021 second-round pick and a 2022 conditional fifth-rounder to the Jaguars to acquire Ngakoue earlier this year. A Ravens Defense that was already one of the top units in the league gets better and pairs Ngakoue with Calais Campbell on the defensive front. Ngakoue had just two solo tackles in Week 6 against the Falcons, but he's recorded five sacks, two forced fumbles and seven QB hits in six games this year and has been a top-10 IDP defensive lineman. He could become even more productive in Baltimore's defense the rest of the way.

From RotoBaller

Jarvis Landry Oct 22 12:20pm ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry revealed to reporters on Thursday that he is playing through a broken rib. The Cleveland wideout took a big hit during his team's Week 5 game against the Indianapolis Colts and had to crawl off the field. He wound up missing just five plays in the eventual win. Landry is admittedly in pain but he is not expected to miss any games at this point, although he may practice sparingly going forward. Even before the rib injury, Landry was off to an extremely slow start in 2020. With a cracked rib now affecting him, it is hard to be bullish on his fantasy prospects going forward. Landry will presumably be in uniform when the Browns take on the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 7 but he is not a recommended play as anything more than a flex.

From RotoBaller

Tyrod Taylor Oct 22 12:20pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Tyrod Taylor (lung), who has been out around a month with a punctured lung, has been medically cleared, according to a source. Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert has played exceptionally well in Taylor's absence and remains the starter coming out of the bye week, but Taylor could return as the backup in Week 7 against the Jaguars if all goes well in practice this week. The 31-year-old veteran began the year as the Chargers signal-caller, but we all knew it was a temporary gig until the Bolts felt comfortable giving the keys to the rookie from Oregon. Taylor was always more of a low-ceiling QB2 to begin with, and now he's completely off the fantasy radar unless Herbert gets injured and misses time.

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Dez Bryant Oct 22 11:53am ET

Free-agent WR Dez Bryant (Cowboys) is expected to join the Baltimore Ravens' practice squad if his workout goes well, and he passes a physical.

From TheHuddle

Tyrod Taylor Oct 22 11:53am ET

Los Angeles Chargers QB Tyrod Taylor (lung) has been medically cleared to resume practicing. He could return as backup this week.

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Zach Ertz Oct 22 11:50am ET

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz (ankle) is expected to miss four to six weeks after suffering a high-ankle sprain in the Week 6 loss to the Ravens. As a result, the Eagles placed him on the short-term Injured Reserve, meaning he'll be eligible to return in Week 10 against the Browns, but he could easily be out longer than that. With Dallas Goedert (ankle) potentially also out until Week 10, Richard Rodgers will become the club's top pass-catching tight end. Rodgers is worth a pickup in deeper leagues or if you're hurting at the tight end position, but he should be considered a low-end TE2 with target upside in this injury depleted Eagles offense. Ertz should be stashed everywhere, as he could return to help fantasy teams that advance to the playoffs.

From RotoBaller