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.
Sunday Morning Update: Week 7
Houston Texans tight end Jordan Akins (ankle/concussion) is out for a third consecutive game on Sunday when the Texans face the Packers. With Akins sidelined, Darren Fells will once again serve as the primary tight end. He's caught eight passes for 142 yards and two scores in the last two weeks without Akins and should be considered a high-end TE2 play this week.
One name to keep an eye on at the trade deadline: Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross III, who was a healthy scratch again in Week 7. Ross was targeted five times in Week 1. Since then, he's appeared in just two games, with no receptions. The former first round pick is clearly not in the long-term plans for the Bengals and has reportedly been pushing for a trade.
Carolina Panthers WR Curtis Samuel (knee) is active for Week 7's game against the New Orleans Saints.
Fantasy Spin: Samuel had been listed as questionable on the injury report but was able to participate in all three of the team's practice sessions during the week on a limited basis. However, he is not a recommended fantasy option this afternoon because of his lack of involvement in the Carolina offense.
The New York Jets will get two players back on Sunday. Quarterback Sam Darnold (shoulder) returns after a two-game absence, while wide receiver Denzel Mims (hamstring) is expected to make his NFL debut. Neither player is expected to be much of a fantasy asset on Sunday, though Mims could see plenty of targets with Jamison Crowder (groin) out, making the rookie an interesting emergency play in deeper leagues. Darnold will start over Joe Flacco, who is droppable if you still were holding onto the veteran in re-draft.
With tight end Austin Hooper (appendicitis) out, the Cleveland Browns are expected to start rookie Harrison Bryant at the position over David Njoku. Bryant becomes an interesting TE2 play for fantasy managers who need a streamer at the position, and while his ceiling is fairly low, he does offer some decent upside in full PPR leagues. The team clearly believes in him more than they do Njoku.
New York Jets WR Jamison Crowder (groin) has been declared inactive for the Week 7 game.
Fantasy Spin: Breshad Perriman, Denzel Mims and Braxton Berrios likely will serve as the top three receivers for the Jets this week, but fantasy players should avoid all three in their leagues.
New York Jets QB Sam Darnold (shoulder) is officially active for the Week 7 game.
Fantasy Spin: Darnold is back in the lineup after missing a few games but will be without his top receiver. He should be avoided in all standard leagues, and fantasy players in two-quarterback leagues may be able to find a better option.
Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins is inactive again in Week 7 against the Dallas Cowboys, which means Kyle Allen and Alex Smith will serve as the team's quarterbacks once again. Haskins's time in Washington appears to be done at this point, as he can't even crack the active roster on game days at this point. With the trade deadline coming up, don't be shocked to see the team move Haskins for whatever they can get.
The Washington Football Team have declared DE James Smith-Williams, LB Casey Toohill, QB Dwayne Haskins, LB Thomas Davis, OT Geron Christian, WR Isaiah Wright and WR Robert Foster inactive for Week 7.
The Houston Texans have declared WR Keke Coutee, OT Charlie Heck, CB John Reid, TE Jordan Akins and LB Peter Kalambayi inactive for Week 7.
The New Orleans Saints have declared DE Malcolm Roach, SS D.J. Swearinger, OT Derrick Kelly, WR Michael Thomas, WR Emmanuel Sanders, OG Nick Easton and CB Ken Crawley inactive for 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.