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 Hot Plays: Week 13
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (foot) and wide receiver Michael Thomas (ankle) were both limited participants in Thursday's practice. Both Thomas and Kamara have had their practice reps capped in each of the past two weeks as they continue to deal with their respective injuries. There's nothing to suggest that they won't be on the field come Sunday, though fantasy managers would be wise to keep a watchful eye on Friday's injury report. Both players should be in fantasy lineups if they're active, though they both carry a bit more risk than normal in the absence of Drew Brees (ribs, lung).
New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard has been the team's top-receiver since coming back from a toe injury in Week 7 and will look to stay hot against a beatable Seahawks secondary. Shepard has at least six catches in every game since Week 7 as he's been the lone trustworthy Giants receiver in fantasy. New York will likely be starting backup QB Colt McCoy this week so Shepard's ceiling is lowered some. However, Shepard should be started as a low-end WR2 in fantasy given his target share and a matchup with Seattle, who allows the most PPR fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.
New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton has been a boom-or-bust option for fantasy all season and is a risky start despite a good matchup in Seattle. Slayton's targets have been sporadic with a season-high of 11 targets and a season-low of one target. He's eclipsed 90 yards thrice, but has also been held under 10 yards twice. To make matters worse, New York will likely be without starter Daniel Jones (hamstring) and turn to 10-year journeyman Colt McCoy. Slayton is not a recommended start despite facing a Seahawks Defense that allows the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.
New York Giants tight end Evan Engram has been the top-pass catcher in the offense over the last month and will look to keep that momentum in a road date with the Seahawks. Engram has nine-plus targets in four of his last five games and put up a season-high 129 yards last week. New York will likely be starting backup QB Colt McCoy this week, but fantasy managers should still trust Engram's volume given the dearth of startable tight end options. Engram is a must-start tight end in all formats.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (hamstring), running back Todd Gurley II (knee), and tight end Hayden Hurst (ankle) all missed Thursday's practice. All three were able to practice in a limited fashion on Wednesday, so it's certainly not ideal to see a downgrade in their activity levels. Still, the Falcons could just be exercising caution with three important offensive players ahead of a divisional tilt with New Orleans. It is worth noting that Jones and Gurley missed last week's contest due to their injuries. If Jones or Hurst were unable to play, it would open up even more targets for Calvin Ridley (foot, ankle), who has gotten in two limited sessions so far this week. Backups Brian Hill and Ito Smith would operate in a committee if Gurley were to miss the contest.
New York Giants kicker Graham Gano has been solid over the last several games but becomes a risky fantasy start with Big Blue likely starting backup QB Colt McCoy in Seattle. Gano is 5-for-five on 40-plus yard kicks over the last three weeks and hasn't missed a field goal since Week 2. Despite the accuracy, there's the risk the New York offense struggles to put up points making Gano a risky start in fantasy. Most fantasy managers should be able to find a better kicker option on waivers.
The New York Giants Defense has been a solid unit in fantasy in recent weeks, but that ends in Week 13 with a daunting matchup in Seattle. Russell Wilson and company have been one of the best offenses in football this season and New York hasn't been good enough to trust when they have a bad matchup. To make matters worse, the Giants will likely be starting backup QB Colt McCoy which puts the defense at risk to be playing with bad field position most of the afternoon. The Giants defense is not a recommended start in fantasy for this matchup.
New York Jets LB Blake Cashman (hamstrings), OL Alex Lewis (non-injury), DL John Franklin-Myers (non-injury) and RB Frank Gore (non-injury) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 3. OL George Fant (knee, ankle), OL Pat Elflein (shoulder) and WR Breshad Perriman (shoulder) were limited. OL Connor McGovern (elbow), QB Sam Darnold (shoulder) and OL Chuma Edoga (ankle) practiced in full.
Chicago Bears TE Jimmy Graham (non-injury) fully participated in practice Thursday, Dec. 3.
Fantasy Spin: Graham has been held to under 40 yards in seven of his last eight games and can be avoided in most fantasy leagues.
San Francisco 49ers tight end Jordan Reed has seen exactly six targets in each of his past two games. He caught five of his six targets for 62 yards in Week 10, but only managed two catches for 18 yards in Week 12. This week, the 49ers have a favorable matchup against the Buffalo Bills, who are allowing 373.1 yards from scrimmage per game on the year. Reed should see around six targets once again, which gives him a chance to deliver a decent PPR game, but his upside is limited. He shouldn't be started in any non-PPR leagues.
New York Giants running backs Alfred Morris and Dion Lewis have split time as the backup to Wayne Gallman and neither has seen enough work to trust in fantasy. Morris has been the change-of-pace runner, but is yet to see double-digit carries in a game and has just one target on the season. Lewis, on the other hand, has been a passing-downs back and has just one game with more than three carries and that was back in Week 2 when Saquon Barkley (knee) left mid-game. Both can be left on waivers in fantasy.
The 49ers Defense had a fantastic outing in Week 13, forcing four turnovers against the Los Angeles Rams. This week, however, they are in a tough spot as they face a Buffalo Bills team that is averaging 27.2 points per game on the year. While they may end up forcing a few Josh Allen turnovers, the 49ers could surrender around 30 or more points this week, which would make for a rough fantasy week. They can remain on the waiver wire this week as you look for other options.
Las Vegas Raiders S Johnathan Abram (knee), WR Nelson Agholor (ankle), DT Maliek Collins (hamstring, ankle) and RB Josh Jacobs (ankle) did not participate in practice for a second consecutive day Thursday, Dec. 3. CB Damon Arnette (concussion, neck), OG Denzelle Good (ankle), DT Maurice Hurst (ankle, calf), LB Nick Kwiatkoski (ankle), OT Sam Young (knee) and CB Isaiah Johnson (groin) were limited. RB Devontae Booker (back), S Erik Harris (cafl), C Rodney Hudson (knee), FB Alec Ingold (ribs), OG Gabe Jackson (knee), OT Kolton Miller (ankle), DE Carl Nassib (knee) and RB Jalen Richard (chest) practiced in full.
Detroit Lions WR Quintez Cephus (non-injury), WR Kenny Golladay (hip), DL Da'Shawn Hand (groin), CB Jeff Okudah (shoulder) and RB D'Andre Swift (illness) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 3. DE Austin Bryant (thigh), LB Christian Jones (knee) and QB Matthew Stafford (thumb) were limited. WR Danny Amendola (hip), TE Hunter Bryant (concussion) and CB Mike Ford (concussion) practiced in full.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk is set to make his return from the COVID-19/Reserve List in Week 13 against the Buffalo Bills. Aiyuk has tallied at least 75 receiving yards in each of his past three active games. Fellow receiver Deebo Samuel broke out in a big way in Week 12 with 11 catches on 13 targets. This week, Aiyuk and Samuel should split the bulk of the targets from quarterback Nick Mullens. The Bills are extremely vulnerable against the pass, allowing 243.5 passing yards per game, so both Aiyuk and Samuel should produce. Start Aiyuk with confidence as a WR3 this week.
New York Giants running back Wayne Gallman has seen his touches increase in five-straight weeks and has burst into must-start status in fantasy as the lead-back for the G-Men. It's unlikely Gallman will handle more touches than the 27 he had last week, but with starting QB Daniel Jones (hamstring) unlikely to play this week Gallman will still see plenty of work against a middle-of-the-pack run defense in Seattle. Gallman has six touchdowns in his last five games and is the most likely Giant to find pay-dirt this week. Start Gallman as a volume-based RB2 in all formats.
Chicago Bears LB Khalil Mack (back) did not participate in practice for a second consecutive day Thursday, Dec. 3. DT Akiem Hicks (hamstring), OT Charles Leno Jr. (toe) and OL Germain Ifedi (leg) were limited. TE Jimmy Graham (rest), CB Buster Skrine (rest), LB Danny Trevathan (rest), QB Nick Foles (hip), OL Rashaad Coward (knee), S Sherrick McManis (hand), LB Barkevious Mingo (shoulder), DT Brent Urban (ankle, hand), LB James Vaughters (knee) and LB Josh Woods (foot) practiced in full.
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Jack Cichy was claimed off waivers by the New England Patriots Thursday, Dec. 3, according to a source.
Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz (ankle) was limited during practice Thursday, Dec. 3.
Fantasy Spin: Ertz likely will be able to play in the Week 13 game, but it is not known if he will be eased into the offense or have his normal workload. He could be a low-end No. 1 tight end in some leagues but is not a must-start option.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel had his 2020 breakout performance in Week 12, when he caught 11 of his 13 targets for 133 yards. Samuel will likely see his targets go down this week as the team will get Brandon Aiyuk back from a stint on the COVID-19/Reserve List. However, the 49ers have a much better matchup this week against the Buffalo Bills than they did last week against the Los Angeles Rams. The Bills are allowing 243.5 passing yards per game this year. Both Samuel and Aiyuk should be able to do some damage. Start Samuel as a WR3 in all formats this week.