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Draft Masters - FFL: Week 13 | NFL: Week 13

McCaffrey returns to practice for short-handed 49ers

Thu Dec 1 9:21pm ET
AP Pro Football Writer

Related photo caption below

San Francisco 49ers running back Jordan Mason, left, runs past New Orleans Saints linebacker Zack Baun during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

Related photo caption below

San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23) runs against New Orleans Saints linebacker Zack Baun (53) during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vsquez)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) The San Francisco 49ers lost one of their key running backs to a knee injury, but got much better news about their other one.

Christian McCaffrey returned to practice Thursday after dealing with some ''knee irritation'' during last week's win over New Orleans.

''Everything's full speed. I feel great,'' McCaffrey said after practicing on a limited basis. ''Luckily, I might have dodged a bullet.''

Having McCaffrey in the lineup is crucial Sunday after Elijah Mitchell went down with a knee injury last week that is expected to sideline him for the rest of the regular season.

Mitchell had just returned last month from a knee injury that had sidelined him for six games. Mitchell, who led the team in rushing with 963 yards as a rookie last season, was averaging 5.6 yards per carry in his limited work this season.

''It's brutal,'' McCaffrey said. ''I've been there before. It's a pretty lonely and miserable place to be. I haven't known Elijah for a long time, but the one thing I do know is he's a fighter. The thing that I keep telling him is just to just to keep going. This is a marathon. He's going to have a marathon of a career. This won't be the first or the last time that he's going to have to go through adversity. He's going to play for a really long time.''

With Mitchell sidelined again and Jeff Wilson Jr. having been traded to this week's opponent, Miami, after McCaffrey was acquired, the Niners will be relying on rookies Jordan Mason and Ty Davis-Price to shoulder some of the load behind McCaffrey.

Mason showed some positive flashes late in last week's win over the Saints with Mitchell out and McCaffrey nursing his sore knee.

The undrafted rookie, who had just five carries the first 10 games, had four of his five carries on the final drive that helped San Francisco run out the final 6:18 in a 13-0 win

Mason finished with five carries for 25 yards, converting two first downs on the final drive and earning a nickname from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for wearing a glove only on his right hand.

''He was awesome,'' Garoppolo said. ''The one glove man. I didn't know he wore one glove until he was in the huddle with us and it kind of caught me off guard a little bit, but I didn't want to say it at the time, so I saved it for after the game. But J.P. did a great job. He came in, was real calm. For a rookie to come in that situation and run the clock out like that, getting a couple crucial first downs that was some big stuff.''

Mason had moved ahead of third-round pick Davis-Price on the depth chart but both could be needed Sunday.

After having 14 carries for 33 yards in Week 2, Davis-Price has had just two carries and 14 offensive snaps the last nine games and has been inactive for four straight games.

''He's hungry to learn'' McCaffrey said. ''Unbelievably dynamic. He's fast, physical, can run. Both the young backs are very talented guys who can do a lot.''

NOTES: Arik Armstead (foot, ankle), who has been out since Week 4, practiced again on a limited basis and said he's coming back this week. ... WR Deebo Samuel (quadriceps) missed practice Thursday, a day after being limited. ... G Spencer Burford (ankle) and DL Charles Omenihu (knee) returned to practice on a limited basis.

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Starts, Sits and Sleepers: Week 13

Player Notes
Juwan Johnson Dec 1 9:30pm ET
Juwan Johnson

New Orleans Saints tight end Juwan Johnson (ankle) was unable to get on the practice field on Thursday. Johnson played a season-low 47 percent of the offensive snaps in the Week 12 loss to the San Francisco 49ers and he failed to catch either of his two targets after a stretch of three straight games with a touchdown. His ankle was likely bothering him last weekend, but he still has two more days to get back on the practice field. If Johnson is questionable for Week 13, he'll be an easy fade with the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming on Monday night. If Johnson is unable to play this week, Adam Trautman would step in as the team's starting tight end against the Bucs. If active, Johnson will be a volatile touchdown-dependent TE2.

From RotoBaller

Daniel Bellinger Dec 1 9:20pm ET
Daniel Bellinger

New York Giants wide receiver Richie James (knee) and rookie tight end Daniel Bellinger (eye) were both listed as limited participants in practice on Thursday. The Giants didn't actually practice on Thursday, so the designations were estimations. James picked up a DNP on Wednesday, so he's making progress and should be able to play in Week 13 against the Washington Commanders. James has scored in each of the last two games, but he hasn't gone over five receptions or 59 yards in a single game in 2022, making him a tough-to-trust WR4/flex, even in deep leagues. Bellinger is hoping to return for the first time since fracturing his eye socket in Week 7. There is long-term upside here, but expect him to be eased back into action if he plays against Washington on Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Treylon Burks Dec 1 8:20pm ET
Treylon Burks

Tennessee Titans rookie wide receiver Treylon Burks (illness) popped up on the injury report on Thursday when he missed practice due to an illness. Burks will most likely play in Week 13 against the Philadelphia Eagles, but it's worth keeping an eye on his status leading up to Sunday's game. The 22-year-old rookie has missed some time due to injury in his first NFL season and has played in only seven games, but he's becoming a bigger part of the offense in the second half of the season. Burks has arguably the most upside of any Titans receiver at this point and has caught 11 of his 14 targets for 181 yards in the last two weeks. If Burks is active this weekend, he'll have some nice WR3/flex upside in a game in which Tennessee could be forced to throw more than they'd like.

From RotoBaller

Darius Slayton Dec 1 8:20pm ET
Darius Slayton

New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton (illness) was added to this week's injury report on Thursday when he missed practice due to an illness. There's still a good chance that Slayton will be able to play in Week 13 against the Washington Commanders, but it's something fantasy managers will want to keep an eye on heading into Sunday's contest. The 25-year-old has turned into the Giants' top receiving threat in a run-first offense this year. In 10 games, he has caught 27 of his 44 targets for 476 yards and only two touchdowns. In half-point PPR scoring, Slayton isn't even a top-50 fantasy receiver, giving him low upside as a WR3/flex in starting fantasy lineups this weekend if he's active.

From RotoBaller

David Njoku Dec 1 8:10pm ET
David Njoku

Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (knee) missed his second straight day of practice this week on Thursday. On top of it, Njoku is also dealing with a new knee injury than the one that caused him to miss several games earlier this season. He could still return to practice on Friday and have a shot at playing in Week 13 against the Houston Texans, but it's not looking good right now. Fantasy managers that were planning on starting him this weekend should be looking for backup options at this time. If the 26-year-old cannot play, Harrison Bryant and Pharaoh Brown would see more usage at the position in quarterback Deshaun Watson's season debut against his old squad.

From RotoBaller

Matthew Wright Dec 1 7:50pm ET
Matthew Wright

Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Matthew Wright will head on the road to take on the Atlanta Falcons in Week 13. Atlanta is allowing the 12th-most fantasy points per game to opposing kickers while their defense is allowing 330.5 yards per game, the fifth-most in the league. That should lead to plenty of kicking chances for Wright, although the Pittsburgh offense has not been able to move the ball consistently enough to support their kicker in fantasy. Treat Wright as a low-end fantasy option heading into Week 13.

From RotoBaller

Travis Etienne Dec 1 7:50pm ET
Travis Etienne

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. (foot) and wide receiver Zay Jones (chest) were both limited in practice for the second straight day on Thursday. Etienne suffered a minor left foot sprain last week, and the Jaguars admitted that they held him out of the rest of the Week 12 game as a precaution. Backup JaMycal Hasty may have been a popular waiver-wire addition this week, but all signs are pointing toward Etienne suiting up as a strong RB2 for fantasy managers this Sunday against the Detroit Lions. Jones is coming off a career game (11 catches for 145 yards) and is also on the right track to play this weekend in a good matchup. Consider him an intriguing upside WR3/flex play in Week 13.

From RotoBaller

Jerry Jeudy Dec 1 7:40pm ET
Jerry Jeudy

Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (ankle) was not practicing on Thursday. Jeudy has yet to practice this week and is trending towards missing his third straight game with an ankle injury in Week 13 when the team takes on the Baltimore Ravens on the road. The 23-year-old last suited up in the Week 10 loss to the Tennessee Titans and was injured early in that contest. If Jeudy misses another game -- KJ Hamler (hamstring) also remains out indefinitely -- Courtland Sutton and Kendall Hinton will continue to serve as Denver's top wideouts. In the Broncos low-scoring offense, only Sutton can realistically be started in standard 12-team leagues.

From RotoBaller

Lamar Jackson Dec 1 7:30pm ET
Lamar Jackson

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (quadriceps) was officially a full participant in practice on Thursday. Jackson was unable to finish Wednesday's practice due to a quadriceps injury, but it's a great sign that he didn't have any restrictions a day later. The 25-year-old dual-threat signal-caller shouldn't have any problems playing this Sunday against the Denver Broncos, where he'll be a must-start QB1 for fantasy managers. Jackson has left something to be desired on a weekly basis at the QB position in fantasy, but he still ranks as the overall QB5 and is second in the NFL in rushing yards at his position. The Broncos defense isn't the easiest matchup for opposing QBs, but fantasy managers shouldn't be benching Jackson.

From RotoBaller

Pat Freiermuth Dec 1 7:30pm ET
Pat Freiermuth

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth has caught at least four passes in all but three of his games played in the 2022 season. He will look to stay hot on the road against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 13. Atlanta's defense is allowing the 11th-most fantasy points per game to the tight end position in 2022, setting Freiermuth up for a plus matchup. With just one touchdown on 71 targets in 2022, Freiermuth is due for some positive touchdown regression. Fantasy gamers can trust Freiermuth as a top-six option heading into Week 13.

From RotoBaller

Deebo Samuel Dec 1 7:30pm ET
Deebo Samuel

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (quadriceps) wasn't seen at practice on Thursday in the portion open to the media. Samuel was listed as a limited participant on Wednesday, so perhaps the Niners are just giving him a veteran's day of rest ahead of their big Week 13 matchup against the Miami Dolphins. The 26-year-old's status is up in the air, but if he does play this Sunday, he could see more work out of the backfield with running back Elijah Mitchell (knee) out six to eight weeks with another MCL sprain. Samuel hasn't been nearly as productive in fantasy in 2022 as he was last year, but he still checks in as the WR20 in half-point PPR scoring. He'll be facing a Miami defense that has been tough on opposing wideouts in terms of fantasy points in the last three games.

From RotoBaller

Kaiir Elam Dec 1 7:20pm ET
Kaiir Elam

With Buffalo Bills starting cornerback Tre'Davious White (knee) expected to play a bit more in his second game of the season on Thursday night against the New England Patriots, first-round rookie cornerback Kaiir Elam is a healthy scratch. White, a two-time Pro Bowler, played just 16 defensive snaps in the Thanksgiving Day win over the Detroit Lions last Thursday, but he's expected to take on a much bigger role in Week 13. In his first year in the NFL, Elam has had his ups and downs and currently has 34 tackles (24 solo), two interceptions and three passes defensed in nine games played (six starts) for the Bills. Buffalo will surely need him down the stretch if they want to make a run to the Super Bowl.

From RotoBaller

Josh Jacobs Dec 1 7:20pm ET
Josh Jacobs

Las Vegas Raiders running backs Josh Jacobs (calf) and Brandon Bolden (calf) were both limited in practice on Thursday for the second straight day. The Raiders were hoping Jacobs would be available to play in Week 13 against the Los Angeles Chargers after he aggravated his left calf injury in Week 12, and all signs are pointing toward Jacobs being available. The 24-year-old is now the overall RB1 in half-point PPR scoring after going off for a career-high 229 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries last Sunday. He also caught six of seven targets for a season-high 74 yards in the overtime win over the Seattle Seahawks. If Jacobs is active on Sunday, which is looks like he will be, he's an absolute must-start RB1 against the Chargers' shaky run defense.

From RotoBaller

George Pickens Dec 1 7:20pm ET
George Pickens

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens is coming off a three-catch, 57-yard outing against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 12. Pickens has a chance for a big game in a plus matchup against the Atlanta Falcons on the road in Week 13. The Falcons are allowing the third-most fantasy points per game to enemy wide receivers in 2022 while their pass defense ranks just 29th in DVOA. The entire Pittsburgh passing offense has been inconsistent this season but Pickens is worth a look as a high-end WR3 heading into Week 13.

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Jakobi Meyers Dec 1 7:10pm ET
Jakobi Meyers

New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers (shoulder) is officially active for the Week 13 matchup against the Buffalo Bills. The assumption was that Meyers would play after being limited throughout the week. He injured his shoulder during last Thursday's game, but will be cleared to play this Thursday. The 26-year-old has been the most consistent fantasy contributor out of the wideouts in New England this season. He could have low-end WR3 or flex appeal for this Thursday Night matchup.

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Diontae Johnson Dec 1 7:10pm ET
Diontae Johnson

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson is averaging 8.6 targets per game in 2022 but he continues to do very little with all of those looks. Johnson has gone over 60 receiving yards just twice all season and has yet to score a touchdown. He will look to break out on the road against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 13. The Falcons have struggled to defend wide receivers in 2022, allowing the third-most fantasy points per game to the position thus far. Johnson has a prime matchup but his struggles to produce in the Pittsburgh passing game leave him as a low-end WR3 heading into Week 13.

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Mike Williams Dec 1 7:00pm ET
Mike Williams

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams (ankle) did not suit up for practice on Thursday. The good news is, Williams was working on the side with trainers, so it appears he's making progress. Despite that, Williams is viewed on the downside of questionable for Sunday's matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders. Keenan Allen is a must-start with Williams out, while Joshua Palmer and DeAndre Carter could be possible streaming options for Week 13. Fantasy managers should check back on Friday to see if Williams is able to return to practice.

From RotoBaller

DeVonta Smith Dec 1 6:50pm ET
DeVonta Smith

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith (groin) was limited once again during practice on Thursday. The 24-year-old has been limited in back-to-back practices, which could possibly be for rest purposes. Fantasy managers should consider Smith on the optimistic side of questionable for the Week 13 matchup with the Tennessee Titans. This season, Smith has been a top-30 wideout, but the Titans have a good secondary. Fantasy managers should consider Smith a low-end WR2, assuming he plays. Otherwise A.J. Brown could see his usage skyrocket.

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Justin Fields Dec 1 6:40pm ET
Justin Fields

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (shoulder) was able to get in a full practice session on Thursday. The 23-year-old appears to be trending in the right direction for the Week 13 matchup against the Green Bay Packers. Last week, Fields sat out, which resulted in Trevor Siemian (oblique) drawing the start. The Bears will likely be forced to start Nathan Peterman against the Packers if Fields is unable to play. Fields will be a must-start QB1, assuming he plays on Sunday. Fantasy managers will have to check back for another update after Friday's practice session.

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Kenny Pickett Dec 1 6:40pm ET
Kenny Pickett

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett draws a plus matchup against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 13. Atlanta is allowing the 10th-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks while their pass-defense DVOA ranks just 29th in the league. That being said, it remains to be seen whether Pickett is able to take advantage of this excellent matchup. The rookie quarterback has just three passing touchdowns through eight games and has yet to post more than one passing score in a single game at this point in his career. Treat Pickett as a low-end QB2 heading into Week 13.

From RotoBaller