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 Waiver Wire Adds: Week 7
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (shoulder) will be limited in practice on Wednesday. It's a positive step for Darnold, who has missed the last two games with a sprained shoulder. Even if the 23-year-old gets cleared to return to the field this Sunday, he'll be hard to trust as a low-end QB2 in superflex leagues against the Bills. Darnold was 21-for-35 for 215 yards, one touchdown and an interception in the 27-17 loss to Buffalo back in Week 1. Veteran Joe Flacco hasn't been any better in the last two games in place of Darnold, going 39-for-77 for 381 yards, one touchdown and an interception against the Cardinals and Dolphins. The only player you should be using in your starting lineups for the 0-6 Jets is wide receiver Jamison Crowder.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson's passing numbers are down across the board through six weeks this season, from completion rate to passing yards and touchdowns, but he says it has nothing to do with his mechanics. Jackson's sidearm delivery has been scrutinized over the last three seasons, but quarterbacks coach James Urban isn't worried about Jackson's delivery. Last year's MVP ranks 24th in completion rate (63 percent), 25th in passing yards (1,135), 23rd in yards per attempt (7.01) and 14th in passer rating (99.2). He ranks 13th with 10 touchdown passes after leading the league in 2019. Baltimore doesn't seem too worried, but it's certainly not the start Jackson's fantasy managers were hoping for. Hopefully he'll pick it up in the passing department after the team's Week 7 bye, but Jackson remains a high-end QB1 for his elite rushing ability.
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said it would be hard to get wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (foot) ready on a short week against the Giants on Thursday night. Jeffery has been limited so far in practice this week, but the Eagles remain cautious with him since he has yet to play in 2020 while coming off foot surgery. The good news is that Philly could get DeSean Jackson (hamstring) back in Week 7. Regardless, Travis Fulgham remains the most attractive fantasy wideout for the Eagles against a shaky Giants Defense on Thursday night. Rookie John Hightower and Greg Ward will also see playing time even if Jackson is active. Jeffery could return in Week 8 against the Cowboys and is a stash option for receiver depth.
The Carolina Panthers placed kicker Joey Slye and offensive lineman Trent Scott on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday. They are going on the list not because of a positive COVID-19 test, but because of close contact, according to a source. Slye has made a league-leading 16 field goals on 18 tries this year, so this is a blow to fantasy managers that were planning to use him in Week 7 against the Saints. He's also made 10 of his 12 extra points, ranking him fourth in fantasy points among kickers through six weeks. Slye hasn't been officially ruled out for this weekend, but you need to make other plans at this point.
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said that he anticipates both wide receiver DeSean Jackson (hamstring) and offensive tackle Lane Johnson (ankle) playing on Thursday night against the Giants. Jackson has missed the last three games and has been limited in practice so far this week. The 33-year-old deep threat could be listed as questionable again, but he's on the right track to return. Even against a beatable New York secondary, D-Jax is a risky boom/bust WR4/flex option at risk of re-injury. His return to the lineup could also make things more difficult for Travis Fulgham, Greg Ward and rookie John Hightower in the receiving pecking order. Johnson's return would be great news for quarterback Carson Wentz and running back Boston Scott.
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton said the team hasn't decided on whether wide receiver Michael Thomas (ankle) will play in Week 7 against the Panthers. "We'll see. I think he's feeling better. We really don't get into injuries or predictions, so you guys will be the first to know," Payton said. It was believed that Thomas was read to go in Week 5 -- the Saints had a bye in Week 6 -- but the All-Pro wideout was inactive because of a disciplinary decision after he got into a fight with a teammate at practice. The 27-year-old could be listed as questionable with his injury this week, but all signs point to him making his return this weekend. If Thomas is active for the first time since the season-opener, fantasy managers must get him back into their lineups.
Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram II's (ankle) MRI exam showed a mid- to high-ankle sprain that isn't considered serious, according to a source. With the Ravens on bye this week, head coach John Harbaugh said on Monday that Ingram will likely be back on Nov. 1 for the Week 8 game against the Steelers. Those types of ankle sprains can often sideline players for multiple weeks, so we wouldn't consider it a lock that the 30-year-old veteran will be ready for the Week 8 showdown with Pittsburgh. Rookie J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards would see more work in the backfield if Ingram is limited or out in Week 8, making them worth waiver wire pickups if you're looking two weeks into the future. Ingram has rushed the ball 50 times for 225 yards (4.5 yards per carry) and two touchdowns in six games in 2020.
Buffalo Bills WR John Brown (knee) wasn't 100 percent recovered from injury against the Kansas City Chiefs Monday, Oct. 19, according to head coach Sean McDermott.
Fantasy Spin: It may help to explain Brown's disappointing catch-less performance. He scored a touchdown in each of the first two games of the season but has clearly taken a backseat to Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley. He'll be a risky FLEX play in Week 7, even against the New York Jets.
Los Angeles Rams PK Kai Forbath was placed on the Exempt/Commissioner Permission list Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Dallas Cowboys DE Randy Gregory was activated from the Exempt/Commissioner Permission list Tuesday, Oct. 20.
New Orleans Saints tight end Jared Cook was Drew Brees primary red zone threat while Michael Thomas remained sidelined, but with the All-Pro wideout expected back Sunday versus Carolina, Cooks time as a TE1 in season-long formats may have passed. While Cook managed to receive seven targets Week 1 when Thomas was alongside him, the veteran has been a touchdown-dependent option since then. In addition, the Panthers Defense has been stout against opposing tight ends this season, allowing just 221 yards and two touchdowns across six games. With a plethora of options at Brees disposal, Cook remains an appealing play, albeit a tenuous one that carries sizable risk.
New York Jets QB Mike White was designated as a protected practice squad player for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Pittsburgh Steelers WR Deon Cain, RB Trey Edmunds, DE Henry Mondeaux and RB Wendell Smallwood were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers PK Greg Joseph and DT Jeremiah Ledbetter were protected from selection off the practice squad for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Tennessee Titans LB Daren Bates, PK Tucker McCann, G David Quessenberry and QB Trevor Siemian were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was given a vote of confidence from head coach Mike McCarthy on Tuesday, confirming that the star running back would be the starter for Sundays contest against Washington. Elliott lost two fumbles Monday versus the Cardinals, ceding way to Tony Pollard at times, but with Andy Dalton once again to likely receive the start, Elliott will need to be relied upon for Dallas to have success offensively. Unfortunately for Elliott, the teams offensive line is heavily banged up due to injuries. Factoring that in on top of his fumble woes (five in 2020, four of which have been lost), DFS fantasy managers may want to look elsewhere Sunday, especially considering his price tag. Season-long managers can continue to role Elliott out and bank on his perpetual upside paying off.
Jacksonville Jaguars TE Ben Ellefson, LB Joe Giles-Harris, DB Doug Middleton and TE Eric Saubert were protected from selection off the practice squad for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Las Vegas Raiders PK Dominik Eberle, DE David Irving, DB Dylan Mabin and DE Chris Smith were chosen as the team's protected practice squad players for Week 7 Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has made each of the five defenses that he has faced 2020 look rather pedestrian on his way to becoming the favorite to claim the NFLs MVP trophy this season. On paper, his matchup Sunday versus Arizona should be another such instance, which is backed up by his gaudy DFS price tag. But gleaning his numbers against the Cardinals over the past two seasons tells a different story; over their last four matchups, he has exceeded the 200-yard passing threshold just once and has not rushed for a touchdown in any of those outings. The Cardinals Defense ranks in the top half of the league in passing yards allowed per game this season (226.5), another notch in the belt of why DFS fantasy managers may want to consider other QB options during Week 7.