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 8
Los Angeles Rams TE Tyler Higbee (hand) could be ready to play against the Miami Dolphins in Week 8, according to head coach Sean McVay Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Fantasy Spin: Higbee was forced to sit out Week 7 for his first missed game of the season. He has 18 catches on 21 targets for 222 yards and three touchdowns through six games and is a low-end TE1 most weeks.
Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick isn't being shopped for a trade, according to a source with direct knowledge Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Fantasy Spin: Fitzpatrick would definitely have at least some measure of fantasy value on any one of the NFL's current QB-needy teams, but it appears he'll be staying in Miami to mentor rookie Tua Tagovailoa. It will help Tagovailoa, but it's a shame for fantasy managers in two-QB leagues.
Tennessee Titans RB D'Onta Foreman, PK Tucker McCann, QB Trevor Siemian and LB Tuzar Skipper were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 8 Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Pittsburgh Steelers WR Deon Cain, RB Trey Edmunds, LB Jayrone Elliott and RB Wendell Smallwood were named to the team's Week 8 practice squad protection list Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers PK Greg Joseph and DT Jeremiah Ledbetter were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 8 Tuesday, Oct. 27.
New York Giants RB Alfred Morris, P Ryan Santoso, G Chad Slade and QB Clayton Thorson were named as protected practice squad players for Week 8 Tuesday, Oct. 27.
San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman (knee) could be back in the mix as soon as Sunday versus Seattle, with head coach Kyle Shanahan saying that he was hopeful that they'd have Coleman for the game. The 49ers' backfield has been a constant shuffling endeavor with Raheem Mostert (ankle) and Jeff Wilson Jr. (ankle) both now out of the mix for the foreseeable future. Coleman's return coincides with Jerick McKinnon likely moving up the depth chart, although how any share of carries would be split remains unclear. Coleman started 11 games for San Francisco last season, so despite having compiled just 30 yards across 18 carries this year, he's likely to see an increased role whenever he's officially ready to return. Check back throughout the week for updates on his status as they become available.
Los Angeles Chargers RB Kalen Ballage, RB Darius Bradwell and RB Troymaine Pope were chosen as protected practice squad players for Week 8 Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers has not been much of a season-long fantasy commodity in 2020, aside from those leagues in which two QB's are rostered. But after a three-touchdown, 371-yard passing performance last weekend, it appears that Rivers has plenty of zing left in his right arm. He gets a middle-of-the-road showdown against Detroit come Sunday, having had ample time to prepare as the Colts come off their bye week. Averaging better than an interception per game throughout his career versus the Lions, Rivers has rough waters ahead with Baltimore and Tennessee looming as potential pitfalls to his fantasy relevancy. The veteran is likely best utilized in deep season-long formats or contrarian DFS scenarios this Sunday.
Cincinnati Bengals NT Andrew Brown, G Deion Calhoun, DT Kahlil McKenzie and WR Stanley Morgan were named to the team's Week 8 practice squad protection list Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Cleveland Browns RB John Kelly, QB Kyle Lauletta, DE Cameron Malveaux and PK Matthew McCrane were protected from selection off the practice squad for Week 8 Tuesday, Oct. 27.
New York Giants running back Wayne Gallman may wind up being the bell cow out of the backfield for Monday's contest against the Buccaneers after starter Devonta Freeman (ankle) worked on the side during practice Tuesday. Freeman exited the team's game last Thursday against Philadelphia early, carrying the ball only three times. While Gallman notched his first touchdown of the season when given an increased role, he'll have a stout matchup Monday, as the Buccaneers Defense has made opposing run games obsolete in 2020. Opposing backs have combined to rush for just 66 yards per game versus Tampa Bay, the lowest mark in the league, capping Gallman's fantasy intrigue, even if he does ultimately get tabbed as the starter.
Atlanta Falcons QB Kurt Benkert, DE Austin Edwards, LB Edmond Robinson and WR Chris Rowland were designated as protected practice squad players for Week 8 Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Carolina Panthers DT Bruce Hector, G Mike Horton, DB Natrell Jamerson and WR Marken Michel were made protected practice squad players for Week 8 Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker has multiple factors working against his possible success Sunday against the Rams. The first obvious hurdle is that Tua Tagovailoa is making his first NFL start, with the two needing to establish a rapport. Additionally, Los Angeles has allowed just three touchdowns to opposing receivers this season, with All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey likely to flank Parker for much of the contest. On top of that, Parker is battling a groin ailment that may limit his output irrespective of who is throwing him the ball or covering him in the secondary. All in all, season-long and DFS fantasy managers can look elsewhere for production this weekend.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson had a breakout performance in Week 6 versus Atlanta, snagging nine receptions for 166 yards and two touchdowns. But exceeding the 100-yard plateau was not an anomaly for the rookie, who has already done so in three of his first six career outings. Green Bay presents a stout matchup for Jefferson, who saw just three targets the last time that the two teams played, but that was before Minnesota began to involve their newest passing game weapon heavily. Jefferson should be rostered in nearly every season-long format at this stage, especially with another favorable matchup versus the Lions on the horizon next weekend.
Dallas Cowboys RB Elijah McGuire was cut from the practice squad Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews has established himself as one of the preeminent TE options across the NFL in 2020, but that won't exempt him from having a tough test Sunday against Pittsburgh. In three career meetings versus the Steelers, Andrews is yet to find the end zone, and this season, the Steelers Defense has allowed just one TD to opposing tight ends. Having blossomed as a favorite target of Lamar Jackson in the passing game, Andrews will also have to combat the fact that fewer than half of the targets that TE's have seen against Pittsburgh this year have been hauled in, making him a risky DFS selection at his price tag, when also considering his two-catch outing versus the Eagles back in Week 6.
Cornerback Eli Apple was released by the Panthers on Tuesday after logging 28 defensive snaps during Sunday's loss to New Orleans. Apple made just four tackles over the course of two games with the Panthers, but the team is already set to move on from the former starter, who has spent the four previous years with the Saints and Giants. Injuries have scuttled Apple's performance and availability in 2020, with the team opting for other in-house options moving forward. The Panthers Defense is a middling season-long fantasy option due to their limited nature in accruing sacks (six in seven games), even as they have racked up 10 turnovers in that span. The release of Apple gives little reason for fantasy managers to change their tune about the unit, but the former No. 10 overall pick should likely find a landing spot in the near future.