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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
Cameron Brate Dec 1 10:30pm ET
Cameron Brate

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate (illness) didn't practice Thursday. He will have two more chances to practice this week ahead of Monday's game against the New Orleans Saints. The 31-year-old is in a timeshare with rookie tight end Cade Otton. Brate out-targeted Otton 5-0 and finished with two catches for 15 yards in last Sunday's overtime loss to the Browns. Brate has been mostly quiet this season, posting 16 catches for 137 yards over seven games. Fantasy managers can avoid using Brate outside deep-league formats even if he is active against the Saints Monday.

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Arik Armstead Dec 1 10:20pm ET
Arik Armstead

San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Arik Armstead (ankle, foot), who hasn't played since Week 4, told reporters on Thursday that he plans to play in Week 13 against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. In his three games played in 2022, Armstead has five tackles (four solo) and a tackle for loss. The 29-year-old defensive tackle will be an upgrade in the trenches for the Niners, but he could be eased back into the rotation after the long layoff. Armstead put in a limited practice on Thursday. San Fran's defense/special teams unit is typically a top-five fantasy option, but they'll have their work cut out for them against the high-flying offense of the Dolphins this weekend.

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Cam Akers Dec 1 10:10pm ET
Cam Akers

Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers (illness) did not practice Thursday. He has been out sick and has yet to practice this week. The 23-year-old is trending in the wrong direction toward suiting up for Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks. Akers has rushed for 274 yards on 84 attempts and a touchdown over nine games in 2022. The former second-round pick would serve as Ram's backup RB behind Kyren Williams if active for Week 13. Fantasy managers should continue to monitor the situation, but Akers is mainly a flex play at best in deep-league formats if he does play on Sunday.

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Isaiah Likely Dec 1 10:10pm ET
Isaiah Likely

Baltimore Ravens tight end Isaiah Likely (ankle) was a full participant in Thursday's practice. He was limited on Wednesday but is trending in the right direction toward suiting up against the Broncos after logging an entire session Thursday. The 22-year-old has 18 catches for 206 yards and two touchdowns over 10 games in 2022. Likely will serve as the Ravens' TE2 behind star Mark Andrews, making him a boom-or-bust fantasy option against Denver in Week 13.

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Marcus Mariota Dec 1 9:50pm ET
Marcus Mariota

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota has been a solid streaming option for fantasy players this season. The veteran signal-caller is the QB10 for the year, averaging 15.5 fantasy points per game. More importantly, he has played well over the past two months. Over the past eight weeks, Mariota has averaged 16.7 fantasy points per game, scoring 17.7 or more five times. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers have given up 18.7 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season. However, they have surrendered fewer than 10.5 fantasy points in half the contests with T.J. Watt playing this year, including last week. With only two teams on a bye this week, fantasy players can find a safer streaming option than Mariota for Week 13.

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Cordarrelle Patterson Dec 1 9:50pm ET
Cordarrelle Patterson

Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson has had a season of two halves this year. Over the first four games this season, the veteran running back averaged 14.5 rushing attempts and 14.2 half-point PPR fantasy points per game. However, he has averaged only 9.8 rushing attempts and 10 fantasy points per game in the four games since returning from a knee injury. More importantly, the former first-round pick has scored 22 total fantasy points over the past three games. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers have held running backs to only 172 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown over the past three weeks. While he remains the lead back in Atlanta's backfield, Patterson is splitting snaps with the rookie Tyler Allgeier. Fantasy players should consider the veteran running back a low-end flex option this week.

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Tyler Allgeier Dec 1 9:50pm ET
Tyler Allgeier

Atlanta Falcons running back Tyler Allgeier has struggled since the return of Cordarrelle Patterson. In the four games the veteran missed, the rookie averaged 14.5 rushing attempts and 9.2 half-point PPR fantasy points per game. Furthermore, he scored 11 or more fantasy points in his final two games as the starter. Unfortunately, his production has fallen off a cliff since Patterson's return. Over the past three weeks, the former BYU star has averaged only nine rushing attempts and 4.7 fantasy points per game. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers have held running backs to only 172 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown over the past three weeks. Unless Patterson leaves the game early with an injury, Allgeier lacks the upside to warrant a starting spot in fantasy lineups.

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Drake London Dec 1 9:50pm ET
Drake London

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Drake London was a massive bust last week. With Kyle Pitts (knee) having season-ending surgery, fantasy players expected the rookie wide receiver to earn more targets. Instead, the former USC star had only four targets and scored 3.9 half-point PPR fantasy points despite a fantasy-friendly matchup against the Washington Commanders. Furthermore, London was coming off back-to-back games with a touchdown before last week's matchup. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers have surrendered 34.3 fantasy points per game to wide receiver this season, the most in the NFL. They have also given up the most receiving touchdowns to wide receivers this year (15). While the matchup is excellent, fantasy players should consider other options over the unreliable rookie.

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Olamide Zaccheaus Dec 1 9:50pm ET
Olamide Zaccheaus

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus is coming off his best performance this season in Week 12. The veteran receiver caught five of eight targets for 91 receiving yards last week and scored 11.6 half-point PPR fantasy points against the Washington Commanders, all season-highs. Yet, fantasy players shouldn't expect similar production this week despite the appealing matchup. The Pittsburgh Steelers have surrendered 34.3 fantasy points per game to wide receiver this season, the most in the NFL. They have also given up the most receiving touchdowns to wide receivers this year (15). Fantasy players in deeper leagues can consider taking a shot on Zaccheaus if they are desperate for a flex option. However, they should prepare themselves for a disappointing performance.

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MyCole Pruitt Dec 1 9:50pm ET
MyCole Pruitt

Atlanta Falcons tight end MyCole Pruitt caught a touchdown in last week's loss to the Washington Commanders. The veteran tight end had three targets in the game, catching two for nine yards and the four-yard touchdown. With Kyle Pitts (knee) out for the season, Pruitt will be Atlanta's top receiving tight end moving forward. However, he had only four targets before last week's game. Furthermore, the veteran tight end had only 7.9 half-point PPR fantasy points despite scoring a touchdown. Meanwhile, the Steelers have held tight ends to only one receiving touchdown over their past eight games. Fantasy players have no reason to start Pruitt this week, or any week for that matter.

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Younghoe Koo Dec 1 9:50pm ET
Younghoe Koo

Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo has been a hot-and-cold player this season. The veteran is the K7 for the year, averaging 8.1 fantasy points per game. However, he has scored six or fewer fantasy points in half of the games this season, including five of the past eight contests. Yet, the veteran kicker has scored 12 or more fantasy points in 41.7% of the games this year, including two weeks ago against the Chicago Bears. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers have surrendered eight fantasy points per game to kickers this year. However, they have held kickers to seven or fewer fantasy points in 72.7% of the games this season, including three of the past four contests. Fantasy players who need a boom-or-bust type of kicker should play Koo this week.

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Jarvis Landry Dec 1 9:40pm ET
Jarvis Landry

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Jarvis Landry (ankle) and running back Mark Ingram II (foot) were both limited in the team's first practice of the week on Thursday. The Saints are likely just taking it easy on both veteran players early in the practice week, so barring any setbacks, they should both be active on Monday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the last three games, Landry has eight catches for 90 yards and one touchdown. In this low-scoring Saints offense, it's really hard to recommend either Landry or Ingram as starting options for fantasy lineups. Consider Landry more of a touchdown-dependent WR5, while Ingram should be avoided as Alvin Kamara's backup. Ingram saw just four carries for 10 yards on 17 offensive snaps in his return last week.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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