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 Sleepers: Week 8
Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick (hamstring) missed practice all week but is considered questionable for Week 8 against the Chargers. Patrick has been the team's most reliable fantasy receiver so far in 2020 in what has been an inconsistent offense, seeing at least four targets in each game while going over 100 yards receiving in both Weeks 4 and 6. But a full week of missed practices doesn't bode well for his availability in this divisional matchup. As of right now, you should have other options in place. If Patrick is inactive, Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler and DaeSean Hamilton would likely be the team's top three receivers. Check back on Sunday for the official inactives to see if Patrick is suiting up.
Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay (concussion) is listed as questionable for Week 8 against the Chargers. Lindsay did not practice on Wednesday, but he got in limited action both Thursday and Friday, at least giving him a chance to be cleared before Sunday's game. The 26-year-old was more effective than Melvin Gordon in Week 7 against the Chiefs before suffering a head injury, toting the rock nine times for 79 yards (8.78 yards per attempt). He's sporting a 5.2 yard-per-carry average in 2020, but Lindsay can't shake the injury bug, playing in just one full game to this point. If he's active against the Bolts, he'll once again be sharing touches with Gordon, making him a risky RB3/flex for this weekend.
Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon II could see the lion's share of the backfield work in Week 8 against his former team, the Chargers, if backfield mate Phillip Lindsay (concussion) misses another game. Because of the volume he'd see in a revenge game if Lindsay is inactive, Gordon would have RB2 upside. The first-year Bronco ran the ball 17 times for 68 yards and a touchdown in the blowout loss to the Chiefs last week, but he also lost two costly fumbles. Gordon has a potential suspension still hanging over his head after a DUI arrest several weeks ago, but he should be available for this Sunday against L.A. If Lindsay plays, Gordon will be more of a low-end RB2/high-end RB3 for fantasy managers.
Buffalo Bills TE Lee Smith was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Friday, Oct. 30.
Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock just hasn't looked good since returning from a shoulder injury two weeks ago. In a 43-16 blowout loss to the division-rival Chiefs last weekend, Lock went 24-for-40 for only 254 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions for the second straight week. He salvaged his stat line by rushing for a score. He'll face a Chargers Defense this Sunday that has given up the seventh-most fantasy points per game to signal-callers, but Lock just cannot be trusted to perform for fantasy managers in Denver's inconsistent offense. The second-year QB has yet to surpass 254 passing yards in a game this year and threw for just 189 yards in the Week 6 win over New England. He's a low-end QB2 for those in superflex leagues.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Le'Veon Bell will look to have a revenge game against the Jets in Week 8. Bell made his Chiefs debut in Week 7 and saw 33% of the backfield snaps behind rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Bell saw six carries in that span and picked up 39 yards, but was not targeted in the pass game. The Jets have allowed 105 yards per game and 45 yards receiving to opposing backs and Bell would certainly like to remind the Jets of what they've missed out on. Edwards-Helaire will continue to be the lead back for the Chiefs, but Bell could see increased action this action and beyond. Bell should be considered at RB3/flex option in Week 8 and beyond for now.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill is in a prime spot to put up big numbers in Week 8 against the Jets. The Jets Defense has struggled against wide receivers and is allowing 176 yards per game to pass catchers. Hill started a new touchdown streak in Week 7 and has now scored six of his first seven games this season. This game could wild with the Chief overpowering offense versus a winless Jets team, and the speedy receiver should be a big part of the game plan. Hill should be fired up as a WR1 Sunday.
Jacksonville Jaguars RB Chris Thompson was activated off the Reserve/COVID-19 list Friday, Oct. 30.
The Jacksonville Jaguars cut FB Bruce Miller Friday, Oct. 30.
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry will look to get back on track in Week 8 versus the Denver Broncos. Henry only had 23 yards on three catches in Week 7 and hasn't topped 50 yards since Week 3. Henry has been targeted seven or more times by quarterback Justin Herbert in all but one game this season, but he hasn't done much with those opportunities recently. Henry will look to turn that around in Week 8 in a favorable matchup versus the Broncos, a defense that has been allowing 52 yards per game to tight ends. Henry has an opportunity to put together a strong game, but Denver hasn't allowed a touchdown to a tight end since Week 1 and that will limit Henry's upside. Henry should be treated as a low-end TE1 in Week 8.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce will look to get back on track with a Week 8 matchup against the New York Jets. Kelce was held to just three catches for 31 yards in Week 7, but managers shouldn't worry. The Jets are currently allowing 47 yards a game against tight ends. The Chiefs are expected to score a lot on Sunday versus the winless Jets and that puts Kelce in a prime position to help managers. Kelce can safely be plugged in lineups every week as a TE1.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is gearing up for a feast against the 0-7 New York Jets in week 8. Mahomes had a quiet Week 7 by his standards, but also sat out part of the fourth quarter due to the Chiefs large lead and that could again happen on Sunday. The Jets Defense is allowing 29 points per game and 268 yards passing per game and has allowed two or more touchdowns in every game besides two. The Chiefs clearly outmatch the Jets and it's scary to envision what this matchup will like. Managers should be aware that if the score gets out of control, Mahomes will likely be rested, but he should be fired up as a QB1.
Kansas City Chiefs rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire will look to keep his strong season alive in a favorable matchup against the New York Jets in Week 8 that is allowing opposing runners to gains 105 yards per contest and 45 yards per catch, both which bode well for the rookie. Managers should be aware that veteran Le'Veon Bell should see some run in a revenge and moving forward. The Chiefs have a clear edge of talent in this contest and that means that in addition to giving up snaps to Bell, CEH could have a shorter day than normal if the score goes as expected. Either way, Edwards-Helaire should be fired up as a RB1 in Week 8.
The New York Jets waived DE Daeshon Hall with a failed-physical designation Friday, Oct. 30.
Free-agent LB Elijah Lee (Lions) was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Browns Friday, Oct. 30.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Justin Jackson will have a tough task in Week 8 versus a tough Denver Broncos run defense. Jackson has been the starter with Austin Ekeler (hamstring) sidelined, but he has been splitting the backfield work with rookie Joshua Kelley. Jackson only picked up five carries for 12 yards in Week 7, but he did secure five catches for 43 yards. The Broncos Defense has only allowed 90 yards per game to opposing runners, but running backs are averaging close to seven catches a game against them, and that works to Jackson's benefit. Between a tough matchup and splitting work with Kelley, though, Jackson shouldn't be viewed as more than a flex option in deeper leagues this Sunday.
Los Angeles Chargers rookie running back Joshua Kelley will look to get his season back on track in Week 8 versus a stingy Denver Broncos Defense that has allowed just 90 yards per game to opposing runners. Kelley has really struggled over his last three games and has been splitting work with Justin Jackson in the backfield while Austin Ekeler (hamstring) has been sidelined. Neither Jackson or Kelley has run away as the top back for the Chargers, but Jackson has been operating as the starter in a close to 50-50 timeshare and seems to be preferred the option for coach Anthony Lynn. Kelley is best served as a bench option in Week 8.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams will look to get back on track in Week 8 against the Broncos. Williams is fully healthy after dealing some injuries earlier in the season, but he has been inconsistent on the season. The big receiver only had one catch for four yards in Week 7, but has a chance to put together a good performance against a Broncos Defense allowing 164 yards per game versus wide receivers. Due to his inconsistency, managers shouldn't count on Williams to be more than a WR4/WR5 with upside on Sunday.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen will look to keep producing against the Denver Broncos in Week 8. Allen has been a target machine for quarterback Justin Herbert and enters Sunday with 44 receptions, 481 yards and a pair of touchdowns over the first six games of the season. Allen has been heavily featured and remains the top option for a Chargers offense that has become more pass friendly with the arrival of Herbert and running back Austin Ekeler (hamstring) sidelined. The Broncos are allowing 164 yards per game to opposing pass catchers and Allen should be very involved in a game that is expected to go back and forth on Sunday. Allen should be considered a WR2 in Week 8.
Los Angeles Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert will look to keep his strong debut season going against the Denver Broncos in a Week 8 battle on Sunday. Herbert picked up his first victory versus the Jaguars in Week 7 and looked brilliant in doing so. The Broncos Defense has been playing very of late and has only allowed one touchdown over their last three games, but Herbert has been challenged early in his career and has come through. The rookie will come into Sunday's game with 1542 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and three interceptions and has also rushed 25 times for 121 yards and a pair of touchdowns over his first five games. It should be a close matchup between the Broncos and Chargers in Week 8 and Herbert should be considered a QB2 with the potential to put up QB1 numbers.