Wed Sep 23 5:05pm ET
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) is helped off the field after being injured during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens (4) looks to pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Jimmy Garoppolo missed practiced with a sprained ankle and is unlikely to return this week, setting the stage for backup Nick Mullens to possibly make his first start at quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers in nearly 21 months.
Garoppolo was one of several 49ers who went down with injuries in last week's 31-13 win over the New York Jets. He still holds out hope to return this week but coach Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday he'd be surprised if that happened and expects Mullens to start.
''I know our players believe in him and he'll be fine,'' Shanahan said from the team's base for the week at The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia.
The 49ers will be missing many key players for Sunday's game against the New York Giants. Defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas were placed on injured reserve after tearing their ACLs last week and will miss the rest of the season.
Running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman also sprained their knees in that game, with Coleman expected to miss about four weeks and Mostert hopefully back sooner than that.
The Niners are already without star cornerback Richard Sherman (calf), No. 1 receiver Deebo Samuel (foot) and starting center Weston Richburg (knee) among others.
''We had a lot of guys miss a lot of time last year and for the most part, even though we'd step back in places, other places stepped it up,'' Shanahan said. ''I thought we really handled injuries very well last year. It was tough when you lose a couple of really good players for the year, like Nick and Solly, but all those other guys, you didn't lose them for the year. We've got to see how long we've got to weather the storm without them, but we can do that.''
The injuries last week happened on the same MetLife turf the Niners will play on this week against the Giants. Players complained about the surface and have expressed anxiety about returning to it this week despite assurances from the league that it is safe.
''If you're playing, you better be confident and full speed,'' Shanahan said. ''People that know what they're talking about, the NFL and NFLPA's having people look at it right now. So, we'll go with that. If they don't find anything, you go out there and play.''
The 49ers did get some good news on the injury front with All-Pro tight end George Kittle returning to practice on a limited basis after missing last week's game with a knee injury and cornerback Jason Verrett being a full participant after sitting out the first two games with an injured hamstring.
The Niners also officially signed defensive lineman Ezekiel Ansah to a one-year deal and promoted defensive lineman Dion Jordan from the practice squad to fill in for the losses of Bosa, Thomas and edge rusher Dee Ford, who is dealing with a back injury and has no timetable for his return.
''I think a lot of talk outside of the building is a lot about what we've lost but not a lot about the depth and the people we have here on this defense in this building,'' linebacker Fred Warner said. ''I think we're all very excited for this week to go against the Giants and go out and prove that we're the defense that we say we are and that we show on tape.''
On offense, it will be up to Mullens and a revamped backfield to make up for the losses. Mullens started the final eight games in 2018, averaging 284.6 yards passing in those games with a 90.8 rating.
Jerick McKinnon should get a heavy load at running back, along with Jeff Wilson Jr. and JaMycal Hasty, who is expected to get called up from the practice squad for the game.
After missing the past two seasons with knee injuries, McKinnon has six carries for 101 yards and a touchdown, along with catches for 20 yards and a score in two games so far this season.
''Jet works like a machine,'' said left tackle Trent Williams, who worked out with McKinnon during the offseason. ''That's why I couldn't imagine him being on the field and not being a breakout player, not being that guy who can carry the load as an every down back. I think he's showing us that, his first time really playing in two years.''
NOTES: Shanahan said he's disappointed about a $100,000 fine from the league for not wearing his mask during the game last week and hopes it doesn't take away from the work the organization has done dealing with the coronavirus. ''I got the message and I will do better.'' ... The Niners signed DL Alex Barrett and RB Austin Walter to the practice squad.
Five Fantasy Takeaways from Week 6
Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown returned after a one game absence, but it looks like he took this game off as well. Brown failed to haul in all of his four targets during the Week 6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Quarterback Josh Allen had a tough time connecting with his receivers in this one. However, both Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley found the end zone. Brown should have WR4 upside against the New York Jets next week.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis was not able to do much damage against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He finished with one reception on his lone target of the game for seven yards in the loss. Quarterback Josh Allen did not have a good game throwing the ball, so that was part of the problem as well. Davis is likely going to get lost in the shuffle with the Bills receivers healthy at the moment. He might have desperation deep league appeal against the awful New York Jets Defense in Week 7.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley has been reliable all season long and that continued against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He hauled in four of his seven targets for 45 yards and one touchdown. The Bills weren't able to get the air attack going well in this game. However, that should change next week against the horrendous New York Jets Defense. Beasley continues to be a reliable PPR option and that should be the case next week as well.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs had a fairly quiet game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He hauled in six of his eight targets for 46 yards and one touchdown in the loss. He led the Bills in all receiving categories, but quarterback Josh Allen finished with a total of 122 passing yards in this game. Diggs salvaged his fantasy value with the touchdown, but he should rebound nicely next week. He'll get a favorable matchup against the New York Jets in Week 7. Fantasy owners should be able to lean on him as a WR1 for that game.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman only received one target on Monday and recorded zero yards against the Buffalo Bills. Hardman is a weekly boom or bust candidate and he had some potential in Week 6 with Sammy Watkins (hamstring) sidelined, but it was Demarcus Robinson who took advantage on Monday. Due to inconsistent performances, Hardman is only WR4/WR5 with upside most weeks. Hardman will look to pick up some stats against the Denver Broncos in a Week 7 matchup.
Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary was the lead back once again, but failed to do much damage on the ground. He rushed 10 times for 32 yards on the ground in the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Singletary also hauled in one of two targets for 13 yards through the air. Rookie Zack Moss did return in this game, but Singletary still managed to get double digit carries. Fantasy owners should be able to lean on Singletary as a low-end RB2 against the New York Jets next week.
Buffalo Bills running back Zack Moss (toe) was able to suit up for the Week 6 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. He missed each of the last three games due to a toe issue, but honestly he could've missed this one too and it wouldn't have changed anything. Moss finished with 10 yards on five carries in the loss to the Chiefs. Devin Singletary remained the lead back and that will probably be the case going forward. Moss should have increased value against the New York Jets next week. He could be worth a stash for that matchup.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen had arguably his worst game of the season against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He completed 14 of 27 passing attempts for 122 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the loss. He also added 42 yards on the ground with eight rushing attempts. Allen started off red-hot to begin the season, but hasn't looked the same over the last two weeks. He should be a top tier QB1 for the Week 7 matchup against the New York Jets.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Darrel Williams rushed six times for 26 yards and a touchdown on Monday against the Buffalo Bills. Williams also snagged one reception for 15 yards. The Chiefs ran the ball 46 times and part of that could be because of the bad forecast throughout the game. Despite the nice night, Williams is likely to be demoted to the third running back on the roster with the recent addition of LeVeon Bell. Williams should be avoided in all formats and should only have value if Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Bell were to get hurt.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes went 20-for-25 for 217 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Week 6 against the Buffalo Bills. He also rushed eight times for 38 yards. It wasnt the most impressive game for the former MVP, but with rainy weather, the Chiefs elected to favor the run in this matchup versus the pass. The former MVP still put together a solid performance overall and will look to keep it going against an underrated Denver Broncos Defense in Week 7. Mahomes remains a QB1 every week.
Kansas City Chiefs rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire put together his most dominant performance of the season on Monday versus the Buffalo Bills. The Chiefs fed their rookie all night long and CEH responded by rushing for 161 yards on 26 carries. The rookie had his longest run of the season for 31 yards and also chipped in with four catches for eight yards. The rookie has looked strong all season and has become a big threat in the Chiefs powerful offense, but the Chiefs recent signing of LeVeon Bell is expected to put a dent in his workload. Even with Bell in the picture, Edwards-Helaire should be considered a high-end RB2 the rest of the year. The rookie will look to keep the momentum going against the Denver Broncos in Week 7.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce made fantasy managers proud on Monday by scoring touchdowns on five receptions for 65 yards. Kelce did have a fumble, but that was his only error for the night. Kelce continues to operate as a top option for quarterback Patrick Mahomes as part of a 1a/1b option alongside wide receiver Tyreek Hill. The tight end is the best at his position and managers have to be happy with their early investment in him. Kelce should be started every week and will be a TE1 versus the Denver Broncos heading into Week 7.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Demarcus Robinson put together his best performance of the season on Monday against the Buffalo Bills. Robinson has fallen victim to being on a Chiefs offense with plenty of options, but with Sammy Watkins (hamstring) out, Robinson took advantage by hauling in five catches for 69 yards. Robinson is the model for a boom or bust player and shouldnt be considered more than a WR4/WR5 with upside as long as Watkins is sidelined. Robinson will face the Broncos in Week 7.
Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant (ankle) and wide receiver K.J. Hamler (hamstring) could both potentially return to play in Sundays contest versus Kansas City after missing last Sundays outing due to respective injuries, per head coach Vic Fangio. Fant is the more fantasy relevant of the two, having established a considerable rapport with Drew Lock last season. Fant has hauled in five receptions in three of his four appearances this year, combining for 219 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Hamlers first two contests saw him receive 12 targets, which bodes well for his fantasy upside should he ultimately suit up. Check back throughout the week for updates on both players, whose return would knock Jerry Jeudys appeal down a notch.
Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku is hoping to have a new home prior to the NFL Trade Deadline on Nov. 3 after once again reportedly asking to be traded. Njoku has been lightly used in the passing game this season by the Browns, hauling in five receptions for 63 yards and one touchdown. Back in 2018, Njoku was a staple of the passing game, amassing 639 receiving yards while starting 14 contests; this season, the presence of Austin Hooper has knocked Njokus fantasy outlook out of consideration. What could spark that intrigue again would be a new situation, with teams such as the Eagles and Patriots presumably having openings heading into the second half of the season.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hills five game touchdown streak ended on Monday against the Buffalo Bills. Hill had a rough night overall and was pretty much non-existent in Week 6. The star receiver rushed one time for five yards and caught all three of targets for a season low 20 yards. Hill was outshined by tight end Travis Kelce and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in this matchup, but managers should just chalk this matchup up as a bad game. Hill remains a WR1 and should be treated that way going into a Week 7 matchup versus the Broncos.
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (shoulder) is trending toward a third consecutive absence Sunday when his team takes on the Bills, as head coach Adam Gase was not optimistic Monday that his signal caller would clear the necessary stages to get him back on the field. It seems likely that New York will stick with veteran Joe Flacco for the game in the event that Darnold is unavailable, even as the Jets were shut out Sunday by Miami. So long as Flacco is under center, New Yorks offense can be targeted by fantasy managers attempting to nab opposing defenses. Even upon his activation, Darnold will be in a rough spot from a fantasy perspective due to the Jets offensive line woes and general downturn in production from skill position players.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receivers Alshon Jeffery (foot) and DeSean Jackson (hamstring) were both listed as limited practice participants Monday ahead of Thursdays contest versus the Giants. Both receivers were out of the equation Sunday against Baltimore, with Jackson already expected to suit up come Thursday. As for Jeffery, he would be making his season debut after working his way back from a Lisfranc injury. Having either back in the mix would be a boon for Carson Wentz, who will be without Zach Ertz (ankle) for the foreseeable future. Travis Fulgham has become a breakout fantasy sensation over the past three weeks, and while his stock would take a dip with Jeffery or Jackson back, any of the three are season-long options against a shaky Giants secondary.
New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton (foot) was a limited participant in Mondays practice after having sustained a foot injury during Sundays contest versus Washington. Slayton hauled in his first touchdown since Week 1 in the game, but came down awkwardly on his foot after the grab. With little time to recover before Thursdays outing against the Eagles, the fact that he was able to practice in any capacity bodes well for his odds of suiting up. Fantasy managers interested in Slayton will want to keep an eye on Sterling Shepards (toe) status as well, as the latter returning to the mix would zap some of Slaytons intrigue, even if he were fully healthy.
San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman (knee) is not expected to return to the field in time for Sundays game against the Patriots, with a likely return set for Week 8 versus Seattle. Colemans role in the offense took an increased interest Monday with the announcement that Raheem Mostert (ankle) would be headed toward injured reserve, paving the way for Coleman to see an uptick in usage upon his return. Across just 18 carries this season, Coleman is averaging 1.7 yards per rush, which will at least leave the door open for Jerick McKinnon to battle him for a share of starting rusher duties. But Coleman compiled six rushing scores last season for the 49ers and figures to have an opportunity to compete for top back duties at some point. As for the game versus the Patriots, McKinnon should be a RB2/Flex option.