Thu Nov 7 7:48pm ET
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) throws against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) scrambles away from Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) during overtime of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Richie James, left, runs as Arizona Cardinals linebacker Dennis Gardeck (42) defends during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Trash talking between Richard Sherman and Michael Crabtree. Barbs traded between coaches Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh. Incredible plays from Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick.
The once-fierce rivalry between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco had a bit of everything during a heated stretch early this decade capped by Seattle's epic win in the NFC title game in January 2014.
Now for the first time in years, this game between NFC West rivals means a lot again heading into Monday night's showdown between the Seahawks (7-2) and 49ers (8-0).
''We haven't held up our end of the bargain the last few years, but this is an exciting game,'' said 49ers left tackle Joe Staley, one of the only remaining players in San Francisco from the heyday of this rivalry. ''There's a lot riding on this game. It's meaningful. But, at the same token, we can't look at it as anything different. One of the reasons why we've been successful is we haven't changed. We've been doing exactly what we've been doing all year from training camp to now, just continuing to do the same things.''
This is the first time since Thanksgiving night in 2014 where both teams have a winning record. Seattle won that game 19-3, prompting a Twitter apology to 49ers fans from CEO Jed York and a turkey celebration dinner for Wilson and Sherman at midfield of San Francisco's home.
Harbaugh was forced out following the season and the 49ers won just 17 games in the next four seasons, taking most of the steam out of the rivalry.
But now with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo set to make his first start against Seattle after missing both meetings last year with a season-ending knee injury in Week 3 and a much-improved defense in San Francisco, the 49ers have more than enough to match up with Wilson and the Seahawks in coach Kyle Shanahan's third season.
''They've come a long way in a short time, and Kyle's done a really nice job to turn the corner to get to this point,'' Carroll said. ''Just judging off the last couple of years, they've always shown really good signs. This is a high-tech team, they're on their stuff; their schemes, their principles are really good. They've always been that, they just had trouble getting it all together and getting their wins but, they're together now. They really are sharp in all aspects of their team.''
Seattle's pass defense used to be among the elite of the NFL. Now it ranks near the bottom of the league.
The Seahawks are giving up 278 yards per game through the air, ranking 28th in the league, and have been really bad in the past two games. Seattle gave up 460 yards passing to Matt Schaub and Atlanta two weeks ago, although the yards could be reasoned because the Seahawks built a 24-0 lead and the Falcons were forced to throw in trying to catch up.
Last week against Tampa Bay may have been more concerning. Jameis Winston was barely pressured by Seattle's meager pass rush and a quarterback with a knack for careless throws made none, throwing for 335 yards and two touchdowns.
Surprisingly, Seattle is 4-0 this year when allowing more than 300 yards passing, but those four wins are by a combined 15 points.
The 49ers suffered a big loss last week when linebacker Kwon Alexander went down with a season-ending torn left pectoral muscle. Alexander had 34 tackles, one forced fumble, one interception and four pass breakups and was considered the heart and soul of the defense. Rookie Dre Greenlaw will replace him.
''Since Day 1, the defense has been what it is because of him,'' starting middle linebacker Fred Warner said. ''He was playing at a Pro Bowl level, but the things people didn't notice is what really made him stand apart.''
Seattle proved last week it can establish the run game against the best run defense in the NFL. Seattle rushed for 145 yards against Tampa Bay, led by 105 yards from Chris Carson, the first rusher to top 100 yards this year against the Bucs. When Carson is churning out yards, it creates more opportunity for Wilson to work off play-action. San Francisco is first in the NFL at stopping the pass but just 14th against the run. Getting Carson and backup Rashaad Penny going on the ground will be crucial for the Seahawks to stay away from troubling down and distance situations.
The Niners should be getting several key pieces back this week, with left tackle Joe Staley expected to return from a broken leg that sidelined him in Week 2. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk could return from a knee injury and right tackle Mike McGlinchey (knee) also might be back.
Seattle has said all the right things about supporting struggling kicker Jason Myers, but the Seahawks would prefer not to see Monday night come down to a crucial kick. Myers missed a pair of field goals and an extra point last week against Tampa Bay. He was wide left from 47 yards, wide right on the last play of regulation from 40 yards and hit the upright with one of his PATs. Myers is just 3 of 8 from 40 or more yards this season. Seattle signed Myers in the offseason to solidify its field-goal kicking, but there's much more inconsistency than expected from a Pro Bowl selection last season.
The Niners also have questions in their kicking game after Robbie Gould injured his quadriceps in practice Tuesday. The team signed Chase McLaughlin in case Gould can't play.
Five Fantasy Takeaways from Week 7
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Virgil Green (ankle) sustained a considerable ankle injury during Sunday's win over the Jaguars, with head coach Anthony Lynn noting that Green will miss some time with the ailment. Used sparingly this season as an extra tight end, Green made his first touchdown catch of the season Sunday, giving him seven straight years with a TD secured. The team has not yet made a decision on whether or not to place him on injured reserve, but it appears that for at least next week's game against the Broncos, Hunter Henry should have considerable reign on the passes thrown to tight ends. Due to his role in the offense and recent injury, Green can remain on the waiver wire in all season-long formats.
Buffalo Bills kicker Tyler Bass was a busy man during the Week 7 win over the New York Jets. In fact, Bass resulted in all 18 of the Bills points on offense in this game. He connected on six of his eight field goals attempts in this one. His longest field goal of the day was a 53-yarder that he connected on. This was a fluke performance by Bass, so fantasy owners searching for kickers shouldn't expect this to happen again. The Bills offense should be able to bounce back against the New England Patriots next week.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley has been a reliable option in PPR leagues all season long. However, he posted his best game of the year against the New York Jets in Week 7. Beasley hauled in 11 of his 12 targets for 112 yards in the win. Quarterback Josh Allen couldn't get anything going down the field, so often targeted Beasley with check down passes. The Bills receivers are a little banged up right now, so Beasley could be a solid WR3 against the New England Patriots in Week 8.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs was surprisingly quiet against the New York Jets in Week 7. Diggs saw 11 targets, but was only able to haul in six of them for 48 yards in the victory. Quarterback Josh Allen loves targeting Diggs, so expect this trend to continue all season long. Diggs has been held under 50 yards during each of the last two games, but fantasy owners can be hopeful for a bounce back performance against the New England Patriots next week.
Los Angeles Chargers kicker Michael Badgley missed both a field goal and extra point during Sunday's win over Jacksonville -- marking the second straight week that it occurred -- but head coach Anthony Lynn made it clear that Badgley would be the team's kicker for Sunday versus Denver. Badgley has yet to miss a kick inside of 40 yards, but has gone 4-for-8 from beyond 40 this season. Over his first two years, Badgley missed just a single extra point, but even after having reeled off misses in two straight weeks, Los Angeles seems confident in their third-year kicker. His current rough spell means that fantasy managers can look elsewhere for kicking production at the moment, even as the Chargers' offense begins to percolate.
Buffalo Bills tight end Tyler Kroft started during the Week 7 contest against the New York Jets with Dawson Knox (calf) sidelined. Normally, Kroft wouldn't see much action in the passing game, but the Bills struggled to throw deep in this one. Which means, they looked for check down passes quite often, which resulted in decent numbers for Kroft. He hauled in all four of his targets for 64 yards in the win. Fantasy owners shouldn't expect this type of performance to happen again anytime soon.
Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary has been unable to get anything going on the ground lately. He rushed eight times for 29 yards in the Week 7 victory over the New York Jets. Over the last three games, Singletary has finished with 32 rushing yards or less in each of those contests. The fact he is splitting up the carries with rookie Zack Moss doesn't help his fantasy value. Fantasy owners shouldn't expect a much better performance from Singletary against the New England Patriots next week.
Buffalo Bills running back Zack Moss has started off fairly slow this season, but played well against the New York Jets in Week 7. He rushed seven times for 47 yards and caught all three of his targets in the passing game for 25 yards. Moss continues to split up the carries with Devin Singletary in the backfield. However, Moss could hold flex value in PPR leagues if he continues getting involved in the passing game. Fantasy owners should watch and see what he does versus the New England Patriots next week.
Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake (ankle) sustained a high ankle sprain during Sunday's win over Seattle, an injury that is expected to keep him sidelined for multiple weeks, making him an injured reserve candidate. The absence of Drake will pave the way for Chase Edmonds to see the lion's share of duties out of the backfield. Drake and Edmonds had settled into a competitive share of reps, with Drake being utilized primarily as a rusher, while Edmonds has excelled as a pass catcher. Drake catches a break with Arizona's bye coming this week, but upon their return, they'll play three games in 11 days. Check back for an update on Drake's official status, but fantasy managers can begin considering Edmonds as a legitimate RB2 option due to his unimpeded path to touches.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Ben DiNucci is being prepped as the starting quarterback for Sunday's game versus Philadelphia with starter Andy Dalton still needing to clear the league's concussion protocol before he can return to action. Dalton took a frightening hit to the head during Sunday's loss to Washington, paving the way for DiNucci to finish the game, going 2-for-3 for 39 yards. While Dallas oozes offensive weapons, DiNucci's fantasy prospects are likely not much more considerable than those of Dalton, who has been unable to do much of note in his short time under center this year. A seventh-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft out of James Madison, DiNucci is closer to being targeted for utilizing opposing defenses than for his own arm, although he did throw for nearly 3,500 yards with 29 touchdowns during his final collegiate season.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen struggled to move the ball against the New York Jets in Week 7. He completed 30 of 43 passing attempts for 307 yards with zero touchdowns and zero interceptions in the win. Allen was the leading rusher in this game with 61 yards on 11 carries, which helped salvage his fantasy value. This was a surprising dud from Allen, but he is expected to bounce back against the New England Patriots in Week 8.
Seattle Seahawks running back Carlos Hyde (hamstring) is battling hamstring tightness ahead of Sunday's game versus San Francisco. Hyde stepped in for Chris Carson (foot) during the team's loss to Arizona on Sunday, carrying the ball 15 times for 68 yards, including his second rushing score of the year. While Carson sounds determined to return for Sunday, Hyde would see a major role increase should Carson sit out, assuming that Hyde is able to fend off any lingering hamstring issues. Fantasy managers will want to target Hyde as an RB2/Flex if he's available on the waiver wire, although there is considerable risk associated due to both his own injury concerns, along with those of Carson. Check back throughout the week for updates on the Seahawks' backfield situation as it develops.
New York Jets wide receiver Denzel Mims was able to suit up for the first time this season during the Week 7 contest with the Buffalo Bills. The second-round pick finished with four receptions on seven targets for 42 yards in the loss. Mims benefited from the fact Jamison Crowder (groin) was inactive and Breshad Perriman (head) exited early on Sunday. However, it appears Mims is going to have a significant role in this passing attack. He could be an interesting stash option down the stretch.
New York Jets wide receiver Braxton Berrios hasn't been a big part of the offense for most of the regular season. However, he saw an increased role against the Buffalo Bills in Week 7. Berrios saw seven targets, but was only able to haul in four of them for 35 yards in the loss. He benefited with Jamison Crowder (groin) sidelined and Breshad Perriman (head) exiting early. Fantasy owners can continue to ignore Berrios going forward, assuming the Jets get healthy for next week's matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (hip) would have been a limited practice participant Monday had the team taken the field following it's loss Sunday to Detroit. The Falcons will have a quick turnaround with a Thursday showdown with Carolina, a contest that Jones is now questionable for due to the ailment. Jones has found an elite rhythm over his past two contests, combining for 16 receptions, 234 receiving yards, and two touchdowns. Both he and Calvin Ridley have managed to succeed at a high level even with the presence of the other, but Ridley would undoubtedly ascend the rankings should Jones be held out. Check back later in the week for updates on the seven-time Pro Bowler as it concerns his status for what should be a favorable matchup against the Panthers' secondary.
New York Jets running back La'Mical Perine saw a bigger role in the gameplan during the Week 7 loss to the Buffalo Bills. He played 70 percent of the offensive snaps, which isn't surprising after head coach Adam Gase mentioned he wanted to get Perine more involved. Perine saw 11 carries for 39 yards and one touchdown with two receptions for 16 through the air. He could have some low-end flex value in PPR leagues against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 8.
San Francisco 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr. (ankle) is expected to miss at least the next month due to a high ankle sprain that he sustained Sunday versus New England. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said that Wilson would be headed toward injured reserve earlier in the day, with the severity of the injury revealing itself Monday night. Wilson appeared to have vaulted past Jerick McKinnon in the backfield pecking order, although it's likely McKinnon and JaMycal Hasty will see the vast majority of reps next Sunday versus Seattle. While Wilson's three-touchdown breakout performance was exhilarating, his absence should keep fantasy managers from nabbing him off the waiver wire with Raheem Mostert (knee) also apart of future 49ers backfield plans.
New York Jets wide receiver Breshad Perriman (head) was forced to exit early during the Week 7 loss to the Buffalo Bills. He hauled in both of his targets for 27 yards before suffering a head injury and landing in concussion protocol. The Jets offense is horrendous and Perriman hasn't been able to do much when healthy. He might have some low-end deep league value next week, assuming he's cleared to play.
Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee (hand) has been ruled out for Monday's contest versus the Chicago Bears, with Gerald Everett expected to see the vast majority of reps at TE1 in his place. Higbee's hand injury severely hampered him during practice throughout the week, leading to the absence. Having established a steady, yet modest rapport with Jared Goff this year, Higbee's fantasy prospects have taken a dip due just one performance with more than three receptions this season. He will have less than a week to get ready for next Sunday's matchup against Miami, with the team's bye week on the horizon. Those in season-long formats can begin to look elsewhere due to the combination of tough matchups, injuries, and a bye week ahead for Higbee.
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold was back under center against the Buffalo Bills in Week 7. He missed each of the two previous contests due to a shoulder injury. The Jets were hopeful that their offense would get a slight boost with Darnold back as the starter. He started off hot, connecting on seven of his first eight targets. However, Darnold came back down to Earth after that. He completed 12 of 23 passing attempts for 120 yards and zero touchdowns with two interceptions in the loss to the Bills. He'll get a matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 8. My condolences to any fantasy owners forced to use Darnold..