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 7
Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (calf) is inactive for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans. Jones had been trending down all week, and Jamaal Williams will slide in as the starting running back on Sunday. Williams is a low-end RB1 option due to Houston's defensive struggles, as they're allowing the most rushing yards per game to opposing teams. We could also see some A.J. Dillon, though Williams is the player to go to for season-long and DFS managers looking for a Jones replacement.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel (knee) is officially active for Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints. Samuel's been a versatile player for the Panthers, seeing work as a receiver and a running back, though from a fantasy perspective, his production hasn't been consistent enough to make him more than a deep-league flex option at this point. His return could cut into Mike Davis's carries a little, as well as Robby Anderson's targets.
Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones is not a candidate to be moved before the trade deadline, according to sources.
Fantasy Spin: Jones has dealt with injuries this season but has posted at least 137 yards in two of his four games in 2020. He is one of the better receivers in the NFL when healthy and should be a weekly starting option.
New York Jets QB Sam Darnold will not be moved before the trade deadline, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Darnold is returning to the lineup after being sidelined but does not have a lot of weapons to work with in the passing game. He should be considered a low-end No. 2 quarterback in fantasy leagues.
The Detroit Lions have declared QB David Blough, WR Quintez Cephus, CB Desmond Trufant, OG Logan Stenberg, RB Bo Scarbrough and SS Miles Killebrew inactive for Week 7.
The Green Bay Packers have declared RB Aaron Jones, OT David Bakhtiari, QB Jordan Love, RB Tyler Ervin, DL Tyler Lancaster, CB Kevin King and S Darnell Savage inactive for Week 7.
Philadelphia Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery is on the trade block leading up to the trade deadline.
Fantasy Spin: Jeffery has not been able to play yet this season and there is no timetable to return. He could be traded in the next week but does not have a lot of fantasy value.
Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan is not a candidate to be moved before the trade deadline, according to sources.
Fantasy Spin: Ryan has thrown 11 touchdowns in six games this season and has one of the better receiving corps to work with on offense. He can be considered a low-end No. 1 quarterback most weeks and can be a bye week replacement over the next few weeks for fantasy players.
After striking out on signing wide receiver Antonio Brown, the Seattle Seahawks are reportedly back to waiting on the league to potentially reinstate Josh Gordon in the coming weeks to help bolster a wide receiver corps that's really strong at the top with D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett but drops off quickly after. Of course, we've all been down the "will Josh Gordon be reinstated" road many times, so fantasy managers probably shouldn't be counting on Gordon to return to the field, even if the Seahawks seem to be.
Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory is expected to play on Sunday against the Washington Football Team, returning for the first time since being suspended in 2018. Gregory had six sacks that season and should immediately step into a pass-rushing role on a Cowboys Defense in need of playmakers. We know the Dallas defense has struggled all season, but they might be a decent streaming play against a weak Washington offense, especially with the addition of Gregory.
New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) has a Grade 1 hamstring strain, according to a recent MRI exam. He is expected to be sidelined one to two weeks, which means that he is likely to miss Week 8's game versus the Chicago Bears, according to multiple sources. Thomas has already been ruled out for Week 7's contest versus the Carolina Panthers.
Fantasy Spin: With both Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders scheduled to miss the Carolina game, Tre'Quan Smith is expected to serve as New Orleans' No. 1 receiver this afternoon. He is expected to see a great deal of targets and should be viewed as a decent WR3 or flex option in most fantasy formats.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (foot) is considered week-to-week by the team. Mixon has already been ruled out for Week 7 and could potentially miss Week 8 against the Titans as well. Backup Giovani Bernard is set to operate as the team's lead back against the Browns in Week 7 and would do the same if Mixon is indeed ruled out for next week. Bernard has averaged 19.4 PPR points per game in Mixon's absence, so he could potentially find his way into the RB2 discussion for a couple of weeks.
Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hamstring) will play in Week 7's game against the Detroit Lions, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Jones had been listed as questionable on the injury report after participating in two of the team's three practice sessions during the week on a limited basis. He is a must-start option in all fantasy formats with a favorable matchup this afternoon versus the Detroit defense.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown is expected a make the deal official with the team on Monday. The contract is worth up to $2.5 million, including incentive bonuses if Brown hits on individual statistic marks or if Tampa Bay wins the Super Bowl. The mercurial wideout seems to have a good relationship off the field with Tom Brady, which bodes well for their playmaking-potential on the field. Of course, we all saw this connection play out for one week in 2019 when Brown hauled in four receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown against the Dolphins. He'll be competing with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin for targets, though Brown may force his way into the conversation as a weekly fantasy starter at some point.
New York Jets WR Jamison Crowder (groin) is not expected to play in Week 7's game against the Buffalo Bills, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Crowder had been listed as questionable on the injury report originally after participating in two of the team's three practice sessions during the week on a limited basis, before being downgraded to doubtful Saturday, Oct. 24. WRs Breshad Perriman, Denzel Mims and Braxton Berrios should see more targets this afternoon, assuming that Crowder is held out of action.
Green Bay Packers tight end Robert Tonyan (ankle) is expected to play while left tackle David Bakhtiari (chest) has been ruled out for Sunday's contest against the Texans. Tonyan was able to practice in limited fashion after missing a session earlier in the week and gets a good matchup against a leaky Texans' secondary. Bakhtiari's injury is certainly a blow to an offense that will likely be without star running back Aaron Jones (calf). Backup tackle Rick Wagner will likely be paving lanes for halfbacks Jamaal Williams and rookie A.J. Dillon.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) is in jeopardy of missing Week 8 against the Bears. Thomas has already been ruled out for Week 7 after tweaking the hamstring in practice on Wednesday, further complicating his status moving forward. The All-Pro wideout underwent an MRI that showed a Grade 1 strain, which is expected to keep him out for 1-2 weeks. It's another blow to what has been a rough year for Thomas and his fantasy managers. With Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19) also expected to be sidelined in Week 8, it's becoming increasingly likely that the Saints will be without their top two wideouts for a second straight week. It's an incredible opportunity for Tre'Quan Smith, who should see more chances against a tough Panthers secondary.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Le'Veon Bell has impressed so far in practice and will be debuting as a Chief against the Broncos in Week 7. Bell has impressed the Kansas City coaching staff with his quick grasp of the playbook and has reportedly looked very good. Not only does his veteran presence and skill-set project to work well in the Chiefs' scheme, but his mere presence also seems to have lit a fire under rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who gashed Buffalo for 161 rushing yards. This is still the rookie's backfield, though Bell could start to eat into his workload a bit-particularly as a receiver- as it gets later into the season. For now, Edwards-Helaire should be looked at as a low-end RB1, with Bell checking in as just a flex option.
Detroit Lions running back D'Andre Swift may have earned himself an expanded role in the offense after a strong performance in Week 6. The appropriately-named Swift broke out in a big way against the Jaguars, totaling 116 rushing yards on 14 carries with two touchdowns scored. Veteran Adrian Peterson is the starter, though it seems like a matter of time before Swift grabs the bull by the horns and becomes the starter. The rookie should be in all lineups, as he's in another smash spot against a Falcons Defense surrendering the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.
New York Jets wide receiver Denzel Mims (hamstring) was activated off Injured Reserve on Saturday and is expected to make his rookie debut on Sunday against the Bills. It comes at a good time for the Jets, as top wideout Jamison Crowder (groin) is looking doubtful for the contest, likely granting Mims a large role right out of the gate. The 23-year-old had two 1000-yard seasons at Baylor and excelled at making contested catches. Mims should get a good opportunity against Buffalo, especially with Sam Darnold (shoulder) back in the lineup. However, it's best to see how he does before rolling him out there in lineups, especially given the amount of time he's been out.