Mon Dec 3 8:47pm ET
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman sits on the bench late in the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman argues a penalty with head linesman John McGrath during the first half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) The San Francisco 49ers will be without another key offensive piece with leading rusher Matt Breida sidelined at least a week with an injured ankle.
Breida hurt himself in warmups before Sunday's 43-16 loss at Seattle that officially eliminated the 49ers from playoff contention. Breida tried to play through the injury but eventually couldn't and left the game.
He finished the game with five carries for six yards and three catches for 51 yards.
Rookie Jeff Wilson fared well in just his second career game, carrying 15 times for 61 yards and adding eight catches for 73 yards. He also lost a disputed fumble near the goal line that coach Kyle Shanahan felt should have been ruled down by contact.
''He hits the hole and he runs hard,'' Shanahan said. ''He's a very good zone runner. He doesn't mess around. He sets his track. When he sees an open gap, he puts his foot down and goes for it.''
Breida has been one of the few bright spots on offense this season for the 49ers, rushing for 744 yards and ranking third in the league with an average of 5.64 yards per carry.
He got his chance because projected starter Jerick McKinnon went down with a season-ending knee injury a week before the opener. San Francisco also lost starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a season-ending knee injury in Week 3 and has struggled for any consistency on offense.
The Niners will get a bit of a boost this week with the expected return of speedy receiver Marquise Goodwin to the lineup. Goodwin has missed the past two games while dealing with a serious family matter but was at the facility Monday and expected to be back at practice on Wednesday.
Shanahan had challenged the Niners before their bye to come back focused for the stretch run of what has been a mostly lost season. Instead, San Francisco returned from the bye and lost 27-9 at Tampa Bay and then was hammered by the Seahawks.
The 49ers will try to avoid tying a franchise worst with a third straight loss by at least 17 points at home on Sunday against Denver. The Niners had three-game skids of losses of at least 17 points in 1963, 1999, 2005 and 2016.
''We didn't play very well,'' Shanahan said. ''That doesn't go into they didn't respond to my challenge. You have to play very good football to win games and we haven't done that enough consistently in all three phases throughout the year. Magic words don't make people different. I want people to focus and worry about what they can control. We have four games left. We know we're eliminated from the playoffs. So is this year over? This year has everything to do, for me, about next year.''
Shanahan also explained why he got so incensed at the officials after an offside call in the third quarter against Elijah Lee, who was trying to run on the field to replace Fred Warner while the Seahawks were in hurry-up mode.
Shanahan said Warner's shoe fell off on the previous play and Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw it out of the way, forcing Warner to run and pick it up behind the line of scrimmage and Lee to try to rush on to take his place.
''I'm not saying he did that maliciously or anything. Who knows?'' Shanahan said. ''But it was an unusual situation and it was my tipping point.''
NOTES: Edge rusher Dekoda Watson will be placed on IR with a torn calf muscle. ... S Jaquiski Tartt will miss this week's game with a stinger.
The battle to be the backup quarterback rages this offseason for the Seattle Seahawks, but Geno Smith is getting a lot of compliments from the coaching staff so far. Head coach Pete Carroll made specific mention of Smith's comfort with handling the huddle and making adjustments at the line, and he compared Smith's savvy to that of longtime backup Tarvaris Jackson. That's high praise from the coach since it's incredibly rare that a backup QB is held in high a regard as Jackson was, but Smith has to win his competition with Paxton Lynch first. Lynch signed with Seattle early in the offseason, but the coaching staff hasn't made any indications about who is winning the job yet. For now, it looks to be a battle that will go on throughout all of training camp.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jaron Brown filled a red-zone niche for the team last year, but head coach Pete Carroll seems to already be scheming for him in 2019. Carroll told reporters that he felt the team had "underused" him last season and expects to get more out of his this year. Brown only caught 14 passes last year, five for touchdowns, but he's still incredibly fast. With D.K. Metcalf in the mix, Brown could see more utilization in a dual deep threat type of set, and fantasy owners shouldn't forget that Russell Wilson is one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the league on deep balls. If Carroll is telling the truth about the team's plans, Brown could be a surprise star in Seattle.
The Seattle Seahawks see big things in wide receiver Tyler Lockett, even if he's not very large. With the retirement of their steady No. 1 receiver Doug Baldwin over the offseason, Seattle will be trying to fill big shoes in the passing game. It all begins with Lockett. Lockett had a breakout season in 2018 as Baldwin dealt with injuries that would eventually end his career, and it looks like the torch can be passed in most ways. Both are small, quick receivers who run excellent routes and have steady hands, so the feel of the offense shouldn't change dramatically. The real question will be how much use Lockett will get, even if he is the go-to guy. Seattle is notorious for spreading the ball around and not letting Russell Wilson do too much of the work, but there's no clear-cut No. 2 receiver behind Lockett, so he will likely see the vast majority of the looks, especially on third down.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver David Moore burst onto the scene in 2018 by making a host of acrobatic, highlight-reel catches to announce his presence. Unfortunately, he slowed down with time, and it turned out that his acrobatics covered up for the fact that he struggled to get open on a consistent basis. His highs have been outstanding and stick in peoples' minds, but he also fades into the background during most games. Entering camp in 2019, Moore will be competing against Jaron Brown and D.K. Metcalf to try to lock up the No. 2 spot in the wide receiver pecking order. His competition is talented, but all three receivers have their warts. If Moore can improve his ability to get separation on a regular basis, he could easily run away from the others (metaphorically speaking).
The Eagles are bringing back running back Darren Sproles for one more season. After playing in just six games last year, it looked like Sproles might be done in the NFL, but the Eagles decided to bring Sproles back to an already crowded backfield that features Jordan Howard, Corey Clement, and Miles Sanders. Clement might be in the most trouble from the Sproles signing, but overall it's looking more and more like this is a running back committee that fantasy owners should stay away from. This move does almost guarantee that either Josh Adams or Wendell Smallwood are cut before the season opens.
Denver Broncos QB Joe Flacco threw three interceptions during practice Saturday, July 20.
Fantasy Spin: Flacco is on track to be the starting quarterback this season and will look to post better numbers than he did last season. He will have a decent receiving corps to work with this season but likely will only be a low-end No. 2 quarterback in fantasy leagues.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers DE Jason Pierre-Paul (neck) likely will open training camp on the Active/Non-Football Injury list.
Denver Broncos TE Troy Fumagalli (hip) is considered day-to-day because of a hip injury.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill could be on his way out of KC, according to Mike Florio. Hill has been cleared of his suspension, but the team is not close to an extension with Hill. The Chiefs have some depth at wide receiver, so losing Hill would not be the end of the world. There's a possibility of a tag-and-trade next offseason, but Hill will likely remain in Kansas City this upcoming season. The two sides may continue to talk extension, but it doesn't sound like either side is close at all.
Buffalo Bills FS Kurt Coleman is expected to battle with Siran Neal and Jaquan Neal for defensive snaps as the team's third safety. SS Micah Hyde and FS Jordan Poyer will remain the starters.
With the onslaught of new talent brought in by the Oakland Raiders this offseason, running back Jalen Richard could find more success despite being further down the list of the teams top offensive weapons. Richard will primarily work once again as a pass-catching back, limiting his playing time to third downs and spelling off rookie Josh Jacobs. In 2018, Richard finished seventh among running backs in receptions (68) and targets (81) while picking up 607 receiving yards in the process. With the more dynamic players on the offense creating more space for him to maneuver, he could be the right change-of-pace back the team needs in certain scenarios especially with his proven chemistry with quarterback Derek Carr. Richard is a player to watch as a potential handcuff to Jacobs, and could find value in PPR leagues if he finds more work in the red zone.
Joining the new offensive formula for the Oakland Raiders this season, wide receiver Hunter Renfrow hopes to be a part of it in a big way in 2019. The fifth-round rookie has his eyes on the job for the teams starting slot receiver, sandwiched on the field between fellow newcomers Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams. Battling Ryan Grant and JJ Nelson for the position, Renfrow has a dynamic skill set that forced GM Mike Mayock to trade up for him at this years draft. His 510 frame, reliable hands, and excellent route-running abilities give him the proper skill set, but hell have to prove hes the right man for the job during training camp and the preseason. Renfrow is a name to watch out for in the buildup to the regular season and is solely on the dynasty league radar until we know more about his role going forward.
Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray was impressive during offseason workouts, and he is getting ready for his first training camp with practice starting July 25. He is expected to get the starting nod in Week 1 ahead of veteran journeyman Brett Hundley, and he has impressed early on. "I was impressed with how smart he is, how determined he is. His future is extremely bright," future Hall of Fame wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said after the rookie's minicamp showing. Murray is already moving up the pre-draft cheat sheets, and he is considered a borderline low-end QB1 or top-end QB2 in most fantasy formats, while having considerably higher value in long-term dynasty formats.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has been impressed by the quick learning by rookie quarterback Kyler Murray and his familiarity with the offense. "I know him running (Oklahoma head coach) Lincoln Riley's offense is very similar to what Coach Kliff (Kingsbury) runs," Fitzgerald says, "but on the first day he's calling audibles and getting us in plays that are favorable to the offense. So I was really impressed by his ability to take a leadership position first day at the offense." Fitzgerald also remarked that the Arizona offense will be much faster in tempo, with players expected to process pre-snap adjustments considerably faster. Fitzgerald is getting a little long in the tooth, but the up-tempo style should keep him rather productive heading into 2019. He's a reliable WR3/4 or flex fantasy option in most formats.
Denver Broncos RB Khalfani Muhammad had a 'solid' practice Friday, July 19, capping the session with a long catch on a wheel route, according to Andrew Mason of DenverBroncos.com.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE Cameron Brate (hip) said he has been medically cleared and will be 100 percent for training camp.
Fantasy Spin: Brate likely will be sharing playing time with O.J. Howard but could still have a decent role in the passing game. He has a chance to be a No. 2 tight end in some fantasy leagues in 2019.
Free-agent RB Darren Sproles (Eagles) signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles Friday, July 19. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Free-agent RB David Williams (Jaguars) officially signed with the Denver Broncos Friday, July 19. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.
The Denver Broncos have signed running back David Williams, who the team originally drafted in 2018 before letting go. Williams was a Jaguar last season, but carried the ball just eight times for 36 yards with Jacksonville. It's hard to imagine a situation where Williams has fantasy value in a Broncos backfield that already has Royce Freeman and Phillip, but stranger things have happened. He's not draftable in any format, but a good training camp could put him in the mix for some of Devontae Booker's snaps as the number-three back.
Free-agent DE/LB Connor Barwin (Eagles) told Sirius XM NFL Radio during an interview Friday, July 17, that he has spoken with general manager Howie Roseman about re-signing. Barwin indicated the Eagles want to take a look at their younger players for a few weeks in training camp first but suggested the two sides will reconvene after that.